“Straight Outta Compton,” the Universal Pictures film chronicling the rise of rap group N.W.A, topped the box office on its debut, helping Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures extend its record-breaking 2015 streak.
The biopic, co-produced by the group’s founders Dr. Dre and Ice Cube, collected $60.2 million in the U.S. and Canada, Rentrak Corp. said Monday in a statement. “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” a James Bond-style movie from Warner Bros., came in third in its first weekend.
Positive reviews and viral marketing by Universal and its partner, Beats by Dre, helped “Straight Outta Compton” break out beyond rap fans. The picture also arrived in the middle of a public debate over the treatment of blacks by police, a focus of the group’s often-profane lyrics. BoxOffice.com raised its forecast for the film to $55 million in the last week from $47 million. Before summer, some had predicted less than $30 million.
After several break out hits this year including “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Jurassic World,” the new win pushed Universal over $2 billion at the domestic box office, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Its tally far exceeds its closest rivals Walt Disney Co. with $1.4 billion and Warner Bros. with $1.2 billion. Universal has nearly doubled the $1.2 billion the studio generated for the full year 2014.
“Straight Outta Compton” paints the short rise and rapid breakup of N.W.A, a highly influential group that popularized gangsta rap, against a backdrop of police brutality and the Los Angeles riots of 1992. O’Shea Jackson Jr. plays his real-life father, Ice Cube, Corey Hawkins plays Dre, and Jason Mitchell plays Eazy-E, who died of AIDS after the band broke up. Neil Brown Jr. and Aldis Hodge play M.C. Ren and D.J. Yella, respectively.