Misix Library

‘Straight Outta Compton’ Shows No Fear

August 20, 2015


8/14/2015 - 8/16/2015

Movie TitleIndex Value
Straight Outta Compton81.67
Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation82.00
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.66.00
Fantastic Four24.67
The Gift82.33
Ricki and the Flash59.67
Misix Movie Quality Index Value64.63

It’s been four days since final numbers came in for Straight Outta Compton’s opening weekend, and the disbelieving shaking of heads continues. Prior to its debut, the movie seemed to have everything NOT going for it as far as potential earnings:

  • An R rating.
  • A plot that didn’t exactly appeal to a broad audience base like, say, Frozen.
  • A generally spotty history for music biopics (the biggest opening weekend to this point was Walk the Line with $22.3 million).

So of course Straight Outta Compton ended up with more than $60.2 million and a just plain ridiculous per screen average of $21,835 that’s the ninth biggest of the year so far. To put that in perspective, here are the eight results in front of it:

  1. Jurassic World (weekend #1) — $48,855.
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron — $44,731.
  3. Furious 7 — $36,760.
  4. Minions — $26,905.
  5. American Sniper — $25,111.
  6. Jurassic World (weekend #2) — $24,840.
  7. Fifty Shades of Grey — $23,360.
  8. Inside Out — $22,919.

Only two of those movies carried R ratings and story lines that weren’t exactly family friendly, and both had significant help to post their big number. American Sniper had just been nominated for best picture, and Fifty Shades of Grey had a nation of sad, lonely, grammatically challenged “readers” prepared to show up at theaters under any circumstances, even for what turned out to be an uncensored Lifetime movie.

Straight Outta Compton also had a couple things going for it:

  1. It’s pretty good. With an index value of 81.67, it’s third on the list of highest-rated box-office leaders this year behind Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (82.67) and Spy (82.00).
  2. Universal did an excellent job marketing the movie. Most of the commercials focused on the “disadvantaged-but-talented individuals pulling themselves up by their bootstraps” angle. But others centered on the frustrations the group — and its neighborhood — experienced when dealing with certain authority figures.

That second point represents somewhat of a departure from major studios’ usual approach to controversy, which is to run like hell. Universal did the opposite and stayed put despite an entire year of headlines regarding the African-American community’s contentious relationship with law enforcement. In that heated environment, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for a studio to shy away from putting its muscle behind a movie about a group whose best-known song is “F*&% tha Police.” Instead, Universal chose to emphasize it and was rewarded with yet another financial success in what has been a monstrously profitable 2015 for the studio (total earnings as of Aug. 20):

  1. Jurassic World — $638,322,290.
  2. Furious 7 — $351,032,910.
  3. Minions — $314,724,685.
  4. Pitch Perfect 2 — $183,785,415.
  5. Fifty Shades of Grey — $166,167,230.
  6. Trainwreck — $99,044,470.
  7. Straight Outta Compton — $74,936,330.


The weekend ahead: If at any time over the next several weeks you’re tempted to look to this space for a recommendation on a good movie about to enter wide release, don’t. Based on the release schedule, your options between now and October range from “meh” to [vomit noise]. This coming weekend has both:

  • MehAmerican Ultra, starring Jesse Eisenberg as a stoner sleeper agent killer man guy and Kristen Stewart as his girlfriend. The big reason to see this movie is Topher Grace from That 70’s Show, who really should have a better career than he does.
  • [Vomit noise]Hitman: Agent 47, starring who gives a shiny neon crap. Remember the first time they did this movie? It was eight years ago, it was called Hitman, it starred Timothy Olyphant (who is great), it made $40 million, and it was bad (37.33 index value). Improbably, this one is on track to score a lower rating and make less money. Well done, 20th Century Fox.

So our recommendation for this weekend is to stay away from anything new. Compton or Mission: Impossible for the big releases, and if you’re the type who actually knows where the arthouse theater is near you, The End of the Tour (85.00) looks like a safe bet.