Straight Outta Compton, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. in box office preview | EW.com

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Box office preview: Straight Outta Compton could go straight to the top

(Jaimie Trueblood)

After breaking the box office record for the highest-grossing studio year ever, it looks like Universal Pictures may have another hit on its hands. Straight Outta Compton bows this weekend, and it’s expected to earn $40 million — or more.

The N.W.A. biopic boasts broad appeal, strong presales, and stellar reviews (it currently has a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes), which should help it top this weekend’s box office. While opinions differ on exactly how big Compton will be, the general consensus is that it will debut somewhere around $40 million — a solid start for a film with a reported budget of about $29 million. That’s also more than double the projected opening for this weekend’s other new release: The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which is eyeing a debut in the mid to high-teens.

Here are our predictions for this weekend at the box office:

1. Straight Outta Compton — $40 million

Most early projections have the N.W.A. biopic landing around $40 million, but some are saying it could go as high as $50 million. Universal is being more conservative and predicting a debut between $25 and $30 million, but wherever Compton lands, it’s almost guaranteed to take the number-one spot.

2. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. — $17 million

With a projected debut somewhere in the mid to high-teens, U.N.C.L.E. should take the second spot, but there’s a chance that it could fall to third, if Mission Impossible performs better than expected in its third weekend. With a reported budget of about $75 million, that’s not the strongest start for the spy flick, but the reviews have been decent, and director Guy Richie has had box office success in the past, with Sherlock Holmes and its sequel opening to $62.3 million and $39.6 million respectively.

3. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation — $15.7 million

Fantastic Four fell flat last weekend, which cleared the way for Rogue Nation to spend its second weekend at number one. The latest critically-adored Ethan Hunt adventure has already passed $300 million worldwide, bringing the global total for all five Mission: Impossible films to more than $2.4 billion. Rogue Nation is eyeing a drop of about 45 percent in its third weekend, which should put it just above $15 million.

4. Fantastic Four — $10.3 million

Fantastic Four’s failure was last weekend’s big box office story, and the superhero reboot ended up only debuting to $25.6 million — less than half of what the first Fantastic Four opened to all the way back in 2005. All the negative buzz and poor reviews aren’t expected to help the reboot in its second weekend, and most predictions have Fantastic Four dropping at least 60 percent.

5. The Gift — $6.5 million

Joel Edgerton’s directing debut posted a better-than-expected $11.9 million last weekend, opening in third place. That’s a decisive victory for STX Entertainment’s first theatrical release, especially considering the film’s $5 million budget. Thanks to positive word-of-mouth and excellent reviews (it’s “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes with a 92 percent rating), The Gift should see a drop of only about 45 percent in its second weekend.

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