Box Office: Campaign for Compton

compton_picThe primary cost of F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton (via Forbes)

No big surprises at the weekend box office, as F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton’s massive $56.1 million bow took the top spot at the weekend box office with ease.

The unflinching Compton tells the story of N.W.A. while also addressing police brutality, specifically that against people of color in the late ’80s and early ’90s, which remains an issue today, and makes the N.W.A. members out to be actual people rather than saints as some biopics, music or not, tend to do with their subjects.

Selections from the N.W.A. catalog do the heavy lifting, but the leading trio of Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, O’Shea Jackson Jr. as, well, Ice Cube (or O’Shea Jackson Sr.), and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E brings credibility to the depictions of studio sessions, explosive on-stage performances, and the unjust treatment the group faced from those who were meant to protect them. Bonus points for Keith Stanfield’s perfect bit part as Snoop Dogg.

Scott Mendelson of Forbes notes that Universal will launch an awards campaign for the acclaimed Compton. UPDATE: Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter accounts for rapturous response at a motion-picture academy screening of the film.

Mitchell’s Eazy-E may be the film’s best bet for now; maybe Paul Giamatti gets attention for more or less reprising his Love and Mercy role. Its best shot would be in original song, but Dr. Dre’s “Talking to My Diary” appears too far into Compton’s credits to be eligible.

Variety notes that Compton marks yet another box-office victory for Universal, listing juggernauts like Jurassic World, Furious 7, Fifty Shades of Grey, Pitch Perfect 2, and Minions. Other awards potentials in Universal’s pipeline are Angelina Jolie’s By the Sea, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest, Brian Helgeland’s Legend, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit.

aliciavikander_uncleFuture Oscar nominee Alicia Vikander

The weekend’s other wide opening, Guy Ritchie’s The Man from U.N.C.L.E., disappointed with around $13.5 million – in third, behind Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’s third weekend. With a reported production cost of $75 million, the Cold War actioner failed to woo younger audiences thanks to mixed reviews and, well, the whole Cold War thing, probably.

Still, a costume-design nod for Joanna Johnston’s threads is possible; she landed a nod in 2012 for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Rising star Alicia Vikander may end up with an Oscar bid (or two, depending on how she plays her cards) this year, but crying U.N.C.L.E. won’t help with that, necessarily. At least she features prominently in a film that hit nationwide in its first weekend?

mistressamerica_picGreta Gerwig and Lola Kirke in Noah Baumbach’s Mistress America (via Collider)

Several Sundance smashes make waves in limited release. Noah Baumbach’s Mistress America stole $94,000 from four locations, while Marielle Heller’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl scribbles down $112,000 from 22 spots in its second weekend. If Mistress America takes off in the next few weeks, Baumbach may land a second original-screenplay bid – and Greta Gerwig her first. Similarly, Diary needs to make a noticeable impact soon.

Another Sundance player, James Ponsoldt’s The End of the Tour, grabs $399,000 from 133 spots. The A24-distributed drama stands at $938,000 as of its third weekend; it should cross the $1 million mark in the next few days. Good ink for Jason Segel lands him in the supporting-actor conversation… for now. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m thinking the expansion of Tour needs to be aggressive in the coming weeks for it to stick around.

Check out the (estimated) weekend top 10 below.

  1. NEW!!! Straight Outta Compton: $56.1 million
  2. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation: $17.3 million
  3. NEW!!! The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: $13.54 million
  4. Fantastic Four: $8 million
  5. The Gift: $6.5 million
  6. Ant-Man: $5.52 million
  7. Vacation: $5.33 million
  8. Minions: $5.2 million
  9. Ricki and the Flash: $4.57 million
  10. Trainwreck: $3.8 million
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