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'Compton' tops box office for 3rd week; 'War Room' surprises

Published:Sunday | August 30, 2015 | 12:00 AM
N.W.A. members Dr. Dre, left, and Ice Cube, two of the subjects of the biographical drama Straight Outta Compton. N.W.A. members Dr. Dre, left, and Ice Cube, two of the subjects of the upcoming biographical drama "Straight Outta Compton," salute the crowd after speaking at the Universal Pictures presentation during CinemaCon 2015 at Caesars Palace on Thursday, April 23, 2015, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

The Christian drama, War Room, made a surprise bid for the box-office lead; Zac Efron's music drama, We Are Your Friends, bombed spectacularly; and the N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton, keeps chugging along.

Universal's Straight Outta Compton topped the box office for the third-straight week with $13.2 million at North American theatres over the weekend, according to studio estimates yesterday. The film, which has now made $134.1 million in total, has continued to dominate August movie going. It joins Jurassic World as the only movies to lead the box office three consecutive weeks this summer.

The late August weekend held scant competition for Straight Outta Compton, but War Room nearly matched it. The Sony TriStar release took in $11 million by appealing to faith-based audiences, an often powerful but underserved demographic at the multiplex. War Room is about an African-American family who perseveres through prayer.

"We knew that we were going to get a lot of love; we just didn't expect quite this much love," said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony. "This is a genre that we're very much committed to."


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The film, directed by Alex Kendrick, is the highest opening yet for Affirm Films, a production company that has had previous success with low-budget films that pull in Christian audiences through grass-roots marketing.

So the success of War Room wasn't overly surprising. Faith-based films have regularly performed well at the box office, and War Room capitalised on an especially quiet movie weekend.

But thoroughness of the flop of We Are Your Friends was unusual. The Warner Bros release, an electronic dance music drama, wasn't expected to do especially well. But the Efron-led film opened with just $1.8 million on 2,333 screens (more than twice the number for War Room). That makes it one of the lowest weekend openings ever for a film that played so widely.

"August can be a land of opportunity or it can be your worst nightmare," said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office firm Rentrak.

Whereas We Are Your Friends got lost in the shuffle of a traditionally quiet period for the movie business, Dergarabedian said War Room used its late-summer, little-competition release date to its advantage. War Room, Dergarabedian said, further proves the box-office strength of faith-based moviegoers: "They are looking for content. If you build it, they will come."

No Escape, the Thailand thriller starring Owen Wilson and Lake Bell, opened with $8.3 million for the Weinstein Co.

In its fifth weekend, Paramount's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, earned $8.3 million to bring its North American total to $170.4 million.

With another low-key weekend looming over Labor Day, Hollywood's summer is slowing to a crawl. Overall business on the weekend was down 21.4 per cent from last year, according to Rentrak.

Here are estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Rentrak:

1. Straight Outta Compton, $13.2 million.

2. War Room, $11 million.

3. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, $8.3 million.

4. No Escape, $8.3 million.

5. Sinister 2, $4.7 million.

6. Man From U.N.C.L.E., $4.4 million.

7. Hitman: Agent 47, $3.9 million.

8. The Gift, $3.1 million.

9. Jurassic World, $3.1 million.

10. Ant-Man, $3.1 million.

- AP