Michael Cavna, THE WASHINGTON POST
(The Washington Post) — In some ways, it’s like 1988 all over again. Because in culturally resonant times, N.W.A. has again exceeded all commercial expectations.
Three decades ago, the gangsta rappers shocked the world by going double-platinum. This time around, some box-office prognosticators were sizing up the new film “Straight Outta Compton” on a scale fit for other top musical biopics. Turns out, for comparison’s sake, they should have been eyeing superheroes.
Pundits had projected “Compton” for an opening in the neighborhood of $40-million. Instead, the N.W.A. biopic moved into the ‘hood of “Ant-Man.”
“Compton” grossed a whopping $56.1-million in its domestic debut, according to studio estimates Sunday, not only dwarfing the rest of this weekend’s competition (including the bow of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”), but also nearly equalling the $57.2-million opening last month for Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” (And that gap could yet close with Monday’s final numbers.)
Which means N.W.A. could yet again be a game-changer, as studios wonder what films can rival tentpoles like animated and superhero franchises.