‘Straight Outta Compton’ Smashes Box Office Expectations. The Strength of Street Knowledge Endures.
Prior to the release of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, industry experts were suggesting the film would pull in an opening weekend box office of around $20 to $40 million, a rather handsome sum for a film about a rap group that, in its heyday, had censors all over the country nervous. Twenty years later, N.W.A.’s story has proven to be a massive hit for moviegoers, and the film has raked in approximately $56 million dollars, a figure that is spectacularly close to Ant-Man‘s $57.2-million opening last month.
According to the Washington Post, “Compton’s opening three-day gross is ahead of 2005’s Fantastic Four ($56.06-million domestic), The Incredible Hulk ($55.4-million) and X-Men: First Class ($55.1-million),” suggesting that the usual summer blockbusters about superheroes may be facing a new arch nemesis when it comes to box-office draws, and for Heads the news that a movie about Hip-Hop seems to be doing the dethroning is exciting news. Forbes has bestowed upon Compton the auspicious accolade of “the biggest opening ever for a musical biopic, with more than double what the previous record-holder” (Walk the Line), proving what many already feel to be true – that Hip-Hop’s appeal and influence surpasses those of other genres, at least among the current generations of cinephiles.
While the final numbers continue being crunched, and droves of fans head to theaters to relive the story of a handful of friends from Compton who took the music industry by storm, one thing is certain: arguments may exist about N.W.A.’s legacy, but there is no denying that a story born of Hip-Hop is proliferating American popular culture in a very powerful way.