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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by KWA

Friday Estimates 2015-08-15 at 7.58.57 AM

Ice Cube’s biggest opening.

Friday alone makes this F. Gary Gray’s biggest opening.

Biggest musical biopic opening ever… again, just on the Friday gross alone (passing Walk The Line‘s $22.3m 3-day).

Opening day is almost $5 million more than 8 Mile.

I am not remotely surprised that this film opened big. But anytime a film opens on top of a category, it’s a big deal. And politically correct or not, one of the things this film is connected to is race. It may be bigger than race, as rap became and still is… but race must be addressed.

This will be a bigger opening than any from Denzel or any non-animated or lead opening from Eddie Murphy or Samuel L. Jackson. Two or three Will Smith films and Rush Hour 2 are the only “black lead” movies I can find that are likely to have had a bigger launch.

This is a bigger opening than any Vin Diesel film prior to the fifth Fast & Furious movie (and the three since). Probably the same as regards The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), whose biggest non-FF-5-6-7 is this summer’s San Andreas domestic opening at $55 million.

With this kind of opening, $100 million domestic is inevitable and there is a good chance of passing $150 million.

(For the sake of this next bit, and sanity, I am going to leave off Marvel, Star Wars, Star Trek, Avatar, Fast & Furious, Matrix, Mission: Impossible, Scary Movie, Batman, Transformers, and animated films…)

Will Smith has had twelve $100 million-plus domestic movies as the lead. Eddie Murphy has had nine. Morgan Freeman has also had nine (as lead or a major, marketing-critical supporting character). Samuel L. Jackson has had eight. Denzel and The Rock have each had five. Queen Latifah has had four. Chris Tucker, Danny Glover, Martin Lawrence have each had three. Ice Cube, Vin Diesel, Idris Elba, Cuba Gooding Jr have all had one. (I’m sure someone has have been left out on this quickly-gathered list… please send amendments.)

Straight Outta Compton will pass the gross of more than half of these films domestically. It is a major event.

Not a major event, at least not in a good way, is The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a movie Guy Ritchie got to make because WB owed him for two Sherlock hits, looking for a third, and as a platform to try to sell Henry Cavill, the Superman with whom they are, uh, embedded.

How bad is this number? It will be a reach to get UNC to a 3-day gross that matches the single opening day of the weaker-grossing of the two Sherlock movies ($14.6m).

This looks to be the seventh Warner Bros movie to open to less than $15 million this summer. SEVENTH. Out of nine wide releases.

Warner Bros, in some quarters, thinks I am mean to their studio. But I would never expect this result from what has been one of the best marketing teams in the industry. They wildly overloaded their summer and the result has been a bloodbath. Not everything will lose money, but it’s pretty ugly. Even their biggest hit, Mad Max, is almost universally seen as underperforming.

I am waiting on the Brooks Barnes article explaining why this is all part of the big plan and everything is okay. And indeed, everything may be okay. This is a cyclical business. But MAN… this summer hurts to look at for them.

Fantastic Four got body-slammed going into its second weekend.

Foreign – or lack thereof – is still a story to watch in the next couple months on Ant-Man.

Ricki & The Flash‘s slow expansion claim is a flop, adding 25% more screens and still losing 41% from opening Friday. This will be Meryl Streep’s lowest grosser since Lions For Lambs in 2007. It deserved better… but they never found the marketing hook for this one… too many perspectives in ads… and almost never the one the film was really about.

Trainwreck is the happy holdover this week, as it continues its march past $100m domestic… probably at the end of next weekend.

On the indie scene, Mistress America opened well on four for Searchlight, with $7600 per screen for Friday only. Nothing else looks to crack the $10k per screen barrier in limited this weekend. Given the screen count, it is a much stronger start for Gerwig/Baumbach than either Greenberg or Frances Ha.

29 Responses to “Friday Estimates by KWA”

  1. palmtree says:

    Friday’s Straight Outta Compton take is already half of Mojo’s entire weekend estimate.

  2. eldrick says:

    im surprised that straight outta compton is doing that well. never saw this happening. shows how much i know about boxoffice. a film about a group that had its hey dey in the late 80’s? thats crazy. i mean, just apply that criteria to another group and it wont make sense. maybe a film about Nirvana but i’m still not 100% sure.

  3. Doug R says:

    Uncle doing worse than MI5? Guess the trailers had the desired effect.

  4. EtGuild2 says:

    COMPTON is amazing. And by that I mean Dr. Dre’s first new album in 16 years, not the decent but trope-tastic musical biopic.

  5. Dr Wally Rises says:

    Whoever decided to move MIRN up from Christmas to Summer is either very lucky or a certified genius. Instead of running smack bang into Star Wars, it’s competition after opening weekend is two of the biggest studio losers of the year. It looks like being the highest grossing of the series at this point and probably ensures several more instalments for as long as Cruise can continue to deny the march of time.

  6. Bulldog68 says:

    It’s going to be very difficult for MI:RN to maintain it’s lead over MI:GP, as that had the Christmas/Year End period to essentially make every day a weekend day. I actually don’t think this gets to $200m domestically, but may top out just above MI1 which did $180m.

  7. Kevin says:

    Saw TURBO KID for the second time today and loved it even more! Awesome Quebec-made, 80s-style sci-fi/horror/action film. It’s coming out in the rest of Canada and in the US on August 28th, don’t miss it!

  8. Christian says:

    eldrick: if you think Nirvana had its “hey day” in the late 1980s, you have a bad memory (I sympathize, as I usually suffer from the same, although I have a knack for music trivia) or just didn’t bother to check the timeline. It’s as easy as googling, ya know? As for your point about which bands from the late 1980s might pull a crowd for a biopic today, that’s an interesting question. Who else was equally controversial at the time? U2 wasn’t controversial. Madonna was still going strong; she might qualify. But if we need hip-hop artists, it would have to be Public Enemy. The reaction to, and acclaim for, “It Takes a Nation of Millions …” would make for a good film, bringing in controversy over the Nation of Islam, the Million Man March (although “Get on the Bus” wasn’t exactly box-office gold, was it?). The movie could follow Chuck D and Flavor Flav into their later careers, and perhaps comment on reality TV. Heck, I’d go see that movie.

  9. Kevin says:

    1990s, but a 2Pac biopic is kind of a given now, right? And they should get Marcc Rose to play him again!

    A Snoop Doggy Dogg flick might be interesting too.

  10. brack says:

    Metallica might make for an interesting biopic, if we are talking about 80s bands/groups.

  11. js partisan says:

    I saw Straight Outta of Compton happening a lot more, than that Dinosaur movie! It’s a movie that’s about one of the best rap groups ever, and that group contained Dre and Ice Cube. It’s not like those two stopped being popular. If only Eazy were still with us, because he would be incredibly fascinating.

    That aside, it would be nice if Public Enemy just got a documentary. Seriously.

  12. Arisp says:

    The only reason Compton will make this kind of money is bc of the race issue – however one may want to interpret that. Would love to know the exit demographics of this film – I would bet 75% were children if not even born when NWA was a thing.

    And to clarify – movie about the Black Panthers, or any other racially charged subject, wouldn’t even come close to this box office. It’s literally about the FUCK DA POLICE theme that this film will be making any money.

  13. movieman says:

    “Man” deserved to flop.
    It’s the first Guy Ritchie movie since “Swept Away” that doesn’t remotely feel like a “Guy Ritchie Movie.”
    Vikander and Hammer are both fine, but Cavill is a flat-out disaster. Dude has
    the charisma of a rock. There’s absolutely zero chemistry between Cavill and Hammer which is a recipe for disaster.
    Don’t look for any sequels.
    (Although some clown might try rebooting it in 5 years, lol.)

  14. Pete B says:

    Not sure what UNCLE film you watched, but I thought it was alot of fun. Sorry that the box office is so low as that’s a franchise I would have followed.

    And I’d argue that Hammer is the one lacking in the charisma dept and not Cavill. He’s a damn handsome man too. (Found it humorous that he briefly sported the Superman hair curl.)

  15. movieman says:

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree, Pete.
    And I was genuinely looking forward to “Man,” too. I’ve liked most of Ritchie’s films,and thought this looked like a lot of fun. But for me it self-destructed (“MI” pun intended) within a half hour thanks to the hollow shell disguised as a human being that is Henry Cavill.
    Where’s Brandon Routh when you need him, lol?

  16. Jack says:

    MAD MAX isn’t the biggest hit of WB; SAN ANDREAS is, and MAD MAX won’t outgross it…

    U.N.C.L.E. is underperforming , but it probably won’t loss more money than MAD MAX (which was hugely over-budget).

    By the way, MAD MAX didn’t play well at the AMPAS screening, so the film probably won’t get any major Oscar nomination.

  17. chris says:

    Hammer has been progressively blander and stiffer in “JFK,” “Lone Ranger” and now “U.N.C.L.E.” Enough chances for him.

  18. EtGuild2 says:

    Little known fact: Armond White’s middle name is Jack.

    Also, kind of baffled by the snark about ANT-MAN’s “lack” of foreign, given that it’s bound to have a higher foreign take both in raw dollars and percentage than other Marvel Studios “originals” aside from GUARDIANS.

  19. Amblinman says:

    I am Jack’s seething hatred for Fury Road.

  20. LYT says:

    LexG-ish comment – really about time a band that was big in the ’90s got a movie. If you judged by what movies got awards, you’d think music never evolved beyond Bob Dylan.

  21. Pete B. says:


    Brandon Routh’s finest moments as an actor happened in Scott Pilgrim. Unfortunately hardly anyone saw them.

  22. Doug R says:

    Montage of Heck is already out there:

  23. Bulldog68 says:

    Anyone else thinks it’s kinda weird that the only time Jack is on the blog to comment is to say something negative about Mad Max, or is it just me? WTF.

  24. CGI says:

    IMDB shows nothing on Cavill’s plate beyond BvS and the Justice League movies. Is his career going to have the same arc that Gerard Butler’s did?

  25. dinovelvet says:

    Kind of odd that Henry Cavill (or his management) didn’t get an immediate follow-up role out there in 2014. Now its been 2 years and 2 months since Man of steel opened, and that kind of long gap is deadly when you’ve got 50 similar generic handsome almost-stars all competing for attention. Wasn’t he up for 50 shades?

  26. kurt says:

    Compton’s success could be seen as rap history’s own successful adaptation of franchise, just like comic book. The value of stories well told, in the way especially Dr. Dre’s life and careers have had 9 lives if not more. It is a ready-made saga of hip hop superheros, each flawed in his own way. Add their endorsement, mico-managing of the production and promotion, experienced hand of FGGray, it all ignited with kinship with their music (replay value of which build ties as strong as a star lead in 2-hour movie), personae and various ongoing projects. Few of the black superstars cited here, have trailers that match Dr Dre and his key music collaborations in Youtube hits. The tropes aren’t worn if freshened up by the richness of their saga and personalities.

    And the top-earning musical biopics, tend to be stories that benefit from archival material not inherently visual. Why watch The Doors, Woodstock, Stones or Beatles, when the original concert footage were thrills that can’t be duplicated?

  27. kurt says:

    Also, taste-makers could start framing the powerful force that is the endurance and adaptability of rap & hip hop. We now have the successful transition of Hamilton musical to Broadway and Compton’s dominance.

  28. Eric says:

    I work in the field of predictive analytics and saw the head of Legendary Pictures’ analytics slated to speak at an upcoming conference. Knowing that Legendary was partnered with Warner Brothers for years (and with much worldwide success), I was wondering how they would spin the success of their ability to predict audiences when their partner has had such a bad year. So I checked out their filmography:
    Legendary Filmography

    Apparently, in 2014 Legendary shifted their primary partnership from WB to Universal—and now Universal is having a buffo year. Does Legendary bring their studio partners more than just dollars—but also marketing analytics resources (I’m sure they’re promoting that narrative)? I don’t know—and wouldn’t seriously suggest such a thing based on such scant evidence. Just wondering out loud.

  29. Hcat says:

    I don’t think legendary has anything to do with their successes this year. These franchises have been built long ago and only happened to happily converge this year. And while Furious could have been seen becorehand I don’t think anyone predicted the massive success of World (or the lackluster Ted 2).

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