Box Office: 'Compton' No. 1; Zac Efron's 'We Are Your Friends' Craters With $1.8M
'Friends' suffers the worst opening of all time for a Hollywood studio title going out in 2,000 or more theaters; Christian drama 'War Room' rejoices in opening to $11 million from only 1,135 theaters to place No. 2.
The dog days of August saw Universal's box-office champ Straight Outta Compton remain No. 1 for the third straight weekend with $13.2 million from 3,142 theaters, while Christian drama War Room did far better than expected in earning $11 million from a small footprint of 1,135 locations to come in second.
Elsewhere, Zac Efron's electronic dance music drama We Are Your Friends forged few friendships, debuting to a dismal $1.8 million from 2,333 locations, the worst opening of all time for a new major studio offering opening in 2,000 or more theaters, not accounting for inflation.
If there's any solace, it is that Warner Bros. paid a modest $2 million to distribute the film in North America on behalf of Working Title Films and StudioCanal (still, it's the latest in a string of summer titles from the studio to disappoint). We Are Your Friends, directed by Max Joseph (Catfish: The TV Series), placed No. 13 or No. 14.
We Are Your Friends stars Efron as a young DJ trying to break into the EDM scene and become a music producer. Wes Bentley and Emily Ratajkowski also star in the film, which earned middling reviews and a C+ CinemaScore from audiences. Tracking had suggested We Are Your Friends would open to at least $8 million.
"This was a passion project for Zac Efron, and we believe in him," said Warners exec VP for domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein. "Yes, the result was disappointing, but this was a small film."
The only titles opening in 2,000 to 2,500 theaters that did less than We Are Your Friends were two films from independent distributors, Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure ($443,901) and Delgo ($511,920), and the rerelease of Saw on its 10th anniversary in 2014 ($650,051).
Straight Outta Compton finished Sunday with a domestic total of $134.1 million in the latest victory for Universal, which is enjoying the biggest year in history of any Hollywood studio at the global box office. Overseas, Compton opened to No. 1 in the U.K. and Germany with $3.9 million and $2.2 million, respectively. All told, the biopic of gangsta rap group N.W.A earned $6.5 million from eight markets for a worldwide cume of $140.9 million.
However, it was Terminator: Genisys that won the weekend overseas thanks to a late run in China, where it grossed $23.4 million for an eight-day cume of $82.8 million. The film has jumped the $300 million mark internationally for a foreign total of $320.1 million and global cume of $409.5 million.
Paramount's Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation also jumped the $300 million mark overseas, earning $15.3 million from 64 markets for a foreign cume of $309 million and a global total of $479.9 million. Paramount partnered with Skydance on both Mission: Impossible and Terminator: Genisys.
In North America, War Room proved a needed win for Sony. It's also the top debut for a faith-based title since Heaven Is for Real ($22.5 million) in April 2014. Sony released the movie via its faith-based TriStar/Affirm label.
War Room, nabbing an A+ CinemaScore and costing a mere $3 million to make, is the fifth collaboration from brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, the directing and producing team behind such Christian films as Fireproof and Courageous. The film, featuring an African-American cast, tells the story of a struggling family who searches for a solution through prayer. T.C. Stallings, Elizabeth Becka and Noel Baker star.
"We've had a lot of success with the Kendrick brothers, and this is their biggest opening yet," Rory Bruer, Sony's worldwide distribution president, said. "They are visionaries in this genre."
Among the weekend's other new entires, The Weinstein Co.'s political action-thriller No Escape, earning a B+ CinemaScore, grossed $8.3 million from 3,355 locations, tying with Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation for the No. 3 spot.
No Escape, starring Owen Wilson, Lake Bell and Pierce Brosnan, posted a five-day debut of $10.3 million after opening Wednesday to get a jump on the competition. The film appealed to an older adults, with 80 percent of ticket buyers over the age of 25, including 40 percent over the age of 45.
"We are positioned well for Labor Day weekend and beyond," said TWC distribution chief Erik Lomis, whose company paid $5 million for the movie.
Focus Features' Sinister 2, tumbling 56 percent in its second weekend to $4.7 million for a total $18.5 million, rounded out the top five.The Man from U.N.C.L.E. followed with $4.4 million in its third outing for a muted domestic total of $34.1 million.
Hitman: Agent 47 fell 54 percent in its second frame, grossing $3.9 million for a disappointing 10-day total of $15.3 million for Fox.
Hoping to catch up with Titanic in North America, Jurassic World rolled out again in 350 Imax locations over the weekend, taking in $3.1 million. That puts the blockbuster's domestic total at roughly $643.1 million, still short of the $658.7 million earned by Titanic, the No. 2 film of all time behind Avatar ($760.5 million).
Jurassic World essentially found itself in a three-way tie with Disney and Marvel Studios' Ant-Man and STX's The Gift, both of which also took in roughly $3.1 million (the actual order will be determined Monday when final numbers are tallied). Through Sunday, Ant-Man has earned $169.2 million domestically and $369 million globally. The Gift has has now earned $36 million domestically, a strong showing.
The specialty box office saw the debut of Craig Zobel's film adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's dystopian novel Z for Zachariah, starring Chiwetel Eijofor, Chris Pine and Margot Robbie. Roadside Attractions opted for a day-and-date release in 31 theaters and on VOD, reporting theatrical grosses of roughly $56,000 (the movie is No. 6 on iTunes).