Straight Outta Compton topped the box office for the third weekend in a row, but the N.W.A. biopic faced some unexpected competition in the form of faith-based family drama War Room, which surprised with an estimated $11 million debut.
Opening in just 1,135 theaters, War Room was expected to gross around $5 million for the weekend; instead, it catapulted to second place behind Straight Outta Compton, which scored $13.2 million during its third straight week at the top of the box office.
Critics largely panned the PG-rated Christian drama, which earned an 18 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but audiences were thrilled with the film: War Room received an A+ grade on CinemaScore, one of the best marks of the year. War Room stars T.C. Stallings and Priscilla Shirer as a couple who turn to prayer to fix their marriage, and it was written by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, the brothers behind other faith-based films like 2011’s Courageous and 2008’s Fireproof (which starred Kirk Cameron as a firefighter with a troubled marriage). Both Courageous and Fireproof went on to gross more than $30 million domestically, but War Room’s $11 million marks the biggest debut ever for the Kendrick brothers.
Distributed by Sony’s TriStar, War Room actually topped the box office on Friday, earning $3.875 million to Compton’s $3.83 million. Still, Straight Outta Compton pulled ahead to win the weekend, bringing its total domestic run to more than $134 million. That makes Compton the highest-grossing musical biopic of all time, passing Walk the Line’s $119.5 million. Internationally, Straight Outta Compton opened at number one in several markets, including Germany and the United Kingdom, giving it a worldwide total to $140.9 million.
Of the new releases, We Are Your Friends was the biggest disappointment: It didn’t even crack the top 10, and scored one of the worst wide-release openings in history. The Zac Efron EDM movie, which earned a C+ grade on CinemaScore, made a paltry $1.8 million – placing it in league with Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure and Delgo among notorious opening flops. Warner Bros., which distributed WAYF, paid only $2 million for the film.
The final new release, No Escape, opened early on Wednesday and made $8.29 million for the weekend, bringing its five-day total to $10.4 million. The Owen Wilson action-thriller essentially tied with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, which made $8.3 million in its fifth weekend. Rogue Nation has now grossed more than $170 million domestically.
Sinister 2 rounded out the top five in its second weekend, falling 56 percent to $4.7 million. Its domestic total is now $18.5 million.
Here are this weekend’s top five at the box office:
• Faith-based drama War Room tops Straight Outta Compton during Friday box office
• Max Joseph shares 10 great songs from We Are Your Friends you can’t find on the soundtrack
• Owen Wilson on Zoolander 2, Gene Hackman, and playing an action hero again in No Escape
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