'Straight Outta Compton' becomes a summer movie hit

'Compton' is a film version of the history of the hip-hop group N.W.A. and the movie placed first at the box office this weekend. Meanwhille, fellow new release 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.'  struggled in its debut weekend.

Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures/AP
'Straight Outta Compton' stars Corey Hawkins.

The music biopic, “Straight Outta Compton,” which tells the story of the formation of the influential hip-hop group N.W.A., topped the box office this past weekend, while the spy movie, “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” struggled in its first week.

“Compton” stars actors such as O’Shea Jackson Jr. and Corey Hawkins as N.W.A. members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, among others. The movie was mostly well-received by critics and grossed more than $56 million domestically in its debut weekend. That's reportedly the best opening weekend ever for a musical biopic.

“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation,” the newest action movie in the series starring Tom Cruise, came in second at the box office, grossing $17 million. The movie was in its third week and is certainly one of the success stories of the summer, having already reportedly grossed more than half of what its predecessor, 2011’s “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” grossed in its entire run.

Meanwhile, “Man,” which was based off the 1960s TV show of the same name, came in third, grossing more than $13 million. The movie stars Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill as agents during the 1960s. The film did not do well with critics. 

The critically-panned superhero movie, “Fantastic Four,” grossed $8 million, coming in fourth at the domestic box office, and the thriller “The Gift” grossed more than $6 million this past weekend, placing fifth.

What’s behind the success of “Compton”? The group N.W.A. is still revered among music fans, with their debut album, which gave the movie its name, often called one of the best of all time by critics. And moviegoers may have wanted to revisit the group’s lyrics about racial tensions, considering recent events in America.

In addition, the movie could have just represented something different to moviegoers who have seen many superhero movies and action films over the summer season. “Compton” may have appeared to be a refreshing change of pace for moviegoers and strong reviews no doubt encouraged moviegoers to seek it out.

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