'Straight Outta Compton' Battles 'War Room' for Labor Day Box Office Crown

Straight Outta Compton movie 2015
Universal Pictures

A still from the 2015 film "Straight Outta Compton."

EuropaCorp's The Transporter Refueled -- hoping to reboot the franchise sans Jason Statham -- may have won the Friday box office in North America with $2.4 million from 3,434 locations, but it could tumble to No. 4 or No. 5 by Labor Day.

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The good news: Transporter Refueled should be a sizeable player overseas, where it has already earned $10 million in its first few days of release (it's debuting in 27 foreign markets this weekend).

Transporter Refueled, earning only a B- CinemaScore, is projected to gross $9 million for the long holiday weekend domestically, putting it behind holdovers Straight Outta Compton, War Room, Mission: Impossible  -- Rogue Nation and possibly newcomer A Walk in the Woods. Christian drama War Room, earning $2.3 million from 1,562 theaters Friday, has a shot at winning the Labor Day crown ahead of champ Compton with as much as $12 million.

This Labor Day weekend's other new nationwide offering, A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, is overperforming, thanks to keen interest from older adults. The film -- one of the first releases from Broad Green Pictures -- began its rollout Wednesday, and is pacing to gross $8 million-$10 million from 1,960 locations for the four-day holiday. Emma Thompson also stars.

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Directed by Ken Kwapis, Walk in the Woods is based on travel writer Bill Bryson's book about hiking the Appalachian Trail with a friend. Broad Green acquired the film out of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and later pacted with AARP for a screening program, in addition to partnering with outdoor retailer REI.

Opening in roughly 3,400 theaters domestically, Transporter Refueled is getting the second-widest release of all time for a Labor Day title after Halloween, which went out in 3,472 locations in 2012.

Ed Skrein replaces Statham as the lead character Frank Martin in the fourth installment. In North America, the actioner is going out through RED, the joint distribution venture between EuropaCorp and Relativity Media (RED is not part of the Relativity bankruptcy proceedings).

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Camille Delamarre directed the film based on a script by Bill Collage, Adam Cooper and EuropaCorp's Luc Besson.

The last film in the Transporter franchise opened to $12.1 million in November 2008, while the second installment took in $20.1 million over Labor Day weekend in 2005. Transporter Refueled, targeting younger males, is getting a wide berth in Imax theaters and premium format locations.

Among films making a more limited play, versus a nationwide rollout, Mexican animated film Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos (A Rooster with Many Eggs) opened to $870,000 Friday from 395 locations for an estimated $4.2 million weekend debut.

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The movie, earning a stellar A+ CinemaScore, is being handled in the U.S. by Lionsgate and Televisa's Pantelion label. In Mexico, it grossed $6 million in its first two weeks of play and is expected to pass up A la Mala to become the year's top-grossing Mexican release to date.

New titles at the specialty box office include Alex Gibney's Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, which Magnolia is debuting day and date in 68 theaters and on VOD. The movie, expected to earn $155,000 in its theatrical debut, opens just as Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs feature biopic Jobs, starring Michael Fassbender, makes its world debut at the Telluride Film Festival.

The final weekend of summer is never a busy time at the box office, but this year could be worse than usual in terms of overall revenue, and down 20 percent or more from 2014. Overall, though, revenue for the season is expected to clear $4.4 billion, one of the best showings of all time and up more than 7 percent over summer 2014. Attendance is also up.

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