Straight Outta Compton, Universal's biopic about groundbreaking hip-hop group N.W.A, showed real muscle at the Friday (Aug. 14) box office, opening to an estimated $24.2 million in 2,754 North American theaters. Easily claiming the top spot for the day, the drama, the latest in a string of 2016 hits from Universal, is now on track to blow past tracking estimates as it heads toward a weekend haul in the high $50-million range.
The movie, which began its successful launch at Thursday night screenings that racked up $4.96 million, was greeted with an enthusiastic A CinemaScore from moviegoers. Its opening will propel Universal's total domestic gross for the year above the $2 billion mark, which the studio will have achieved in record time.
By contrast, Warner Bros. period spy tale The Man From U.N.C.L.E. didn't strike much of a nostalgic chord among moviegoers. It took in $4.7 million on Friday, and is now eyeing an opening weekend of about $13-million plus, which should put it in third place behind holdover Mission Impossible -- Rogue Nation. In its third weekend, the Tom Cruise action vehicle from Paramount took in nearly $5 million on Friday as it sets its sights on a weekend of around $17 million.
Directed by F. Gary Gray, the Universal and Legendary film stars O'Shea Jackson Jr. as his real-life father, Ice Cube, Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E, Aldis Hodge as MC Ren and Neil Brown Jr. as DJ Yella. The film, opening in 2,751 theaters this weekend, is produced by former N.W.A members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre (among others).
Due to a strong marketing campaign and positive reviews, most box-office experts have been predicting Straight Outta Compton could climb as high as $40 million to $50 million in its debut.
This weekend's other new offering, Man From U.N.C.L.E., is opening in 3,450 theaters. Directed by Guy Ritchie, the film stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as a CIA agent and a KGB operative who work on a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organization. The film has been tracking to open in the high teens for Warner Bros. and Davis Entertainment.
Rounding out the top five on Friday, Fox's superhero tale Fantastic Four, in fourth place, attracted just $2.4 million as it entered its second weekend, when it should gross around $8 million. Also in its sophomore session, STX's thriller The Gift, in fifth place, pulled in just under $2 million and should collect around $6 million for the weekend.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.