Weekend Report -'Compton' Wins 'War Room' Rumble

by Keith Simanton

August 30, 2015

Despite what President Merkin Muffley said in Dr. Strangelove it appears you CAN fight in the War Room. Straight Outta Compton did just that and, with $13.2M in domestic box office, emerged victorious over War Room to claim the #1 position on the charts for the third weekend in a row. War Room, which beat Compton in theaters on Friday, made $11M with a robust $9,692 per screen average.

The top of the heap was still a pretty low heap, however, as the top 12 made $68.8M, off 22% from last year's $88.2M, which was a weak weekend itself. That $68.8M also gives this frame the dubious distinction of being the lowest grossing weekend of the year, 12% lower than March 6 - 8th's $78.3M.

The newcomers that helped achieve that feat included No Escape, the Owen Wilson/Pierce Brosnan military coup flick, which the Weinsteins state came in just a little under their $9M estimate with $8.3M. On 2,470 screens that $3,355 psa is better than the $2,850 that last year's late-August Pierce Brosnan movie offering, The November Man, made in exactly the same frame. No Escape has a "B+" on Cinemascore, much as November Man did, so a final domestic cume around $30M seems reasonable.

We Are Your Friends struggled to make any with a below-expectations $1.8M, according to Warner Bros. Its $771 psa in 2,333 locations and its "C+" Cinemascore suggests that Zac Efron might have to start considering that "High School Musical: The 10 Year Reunion" script that's sitting in that stack somewhere.

It was War Room, however, that was the story of the weekend. Sony's faith-based film from their Affirm division flew so far under the radar that it didn't even get a Cinemascore. But it nearly stole Compton's title and, at the same time, became the biggest hit for the Kendrick brothers, director Alex Kendrick and his writer/producer brother, Stephen. Their modestly-budgeted flicks have a great return on investment. War Room has a reported budget of $3.5M while their 2011 police officer film, Courageous, had a $2M budget, going on to a domestic cume of $34.5. Their 2008 fireman flick, Fireproof, had a $33.5M domestic cume on a budget of $500K.

Compton's $13.2M led the holdovers even with a 50% drop from last weekend. In 3,142 venues the biopic made $4,201 per screen and has a domestic cume of $134.1M.

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation just beat No Escape, making $8.3M in 3,095 locations for a $2,666 psa and a domestic cume topping $170.3M.

Sinister 2 dropped 56%, fairly standard for horror fare, for a $4.65M weekend. On 2,799 screens that translates to a weak $1,661 psa. The film has a domestic cume of $18.1M.

The hitmen continue to miss as Lionsgate reports that American Ultra dropped 49% in its second outing for a $2.8M weekend and a $10.6 cume. Those are pretty disappointing results for a film budgeted at $28M.

The other professional assassin flick, Hitman 47, with a budget at a reported $35M, was in a little better shape. It dropped 51% in its second weekend, making $3.9M for a $15.1M cume.

In limited release news Sony Pictures Classics' Grandma continues to pull strong per screen averages in its second week. The Lily Tomlin starrer added 15 venues for a total of 19 and pulled in $308K for the weekend, approximately $16,243 per venue. Though its cume of $468K is still small the film is performing well.

A24's The End of the Tour posted $321K to its coffers putting the indie to $2.3M for a domestic cume.

New studio STX gets to report that The Gift made $3.1M for the weekend, adding up to a decent $36M domestic cume. The flick, directed by actor Joel Edgerton, had a reported production budget of $5M. In the language of Moneyball, that's a solid, on-base hit.

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This Weekend in Past Years
2014 - Weekend Report: 'Guardians' Easily Tops Weak Labor Day Releases
2013 - 'One Direction' Rocks, 'Instructions' Surprises Over Labor Day
2012 - 'The Possession' Leads Typically Quiet Labor Day
2011 - 'The Help' Works It Over Labor Day
2010 - 'The American' Out-Draws 'The Mexican'
2009 - 'Final Destination' Clings to Labor Day Lead
2008 - 'Tropic Thunder' Leads Quiet Summer Close
2007 - 'Halloween' Severs Labor Day Record
2006 - 'Illusionist' Impresses on Labor Day Weekend

2005 - 'Transporter 2' Drives to Labor Day Record

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