The filmed story of N.W.A. is straight outta competition at the box office. And thanks to a third consecutive week atop Hollywood's scorecard, "Straight Outta Compton" has earned its place in history as the highest-grossing music biopic ever, USA Today reported. The previous champ, "Walk The Line," about Johnny and June Carter Cash, had grossed $119 million. Through just three weeks, “Straight Outta Compton” has hauled in $134 million, Box Office Mojo reported.
To reach the top this week, the rap group's authorized story outdid a surprisingly strong $11 million opening weekend from the faith-focused Christian film “War Room” and a resurgent Tom Cruise's “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation,” which took in $8.7 million. "Rogue Nation" now boasts a total box office take of more than $170 million.
“Highest-grossing musical biopic of all time” might sound like a dubious distinction -- the lifetime gross for “Compton” doesn’t even put it in the top 10 highest-grossing movies of the summer -- but the film’s success does speak to hip hop's cultural primacy. Thanks to the success of "Compton," two of the three top-grossing biopics are about hip hop artists ("8 Mile," a film loosely based on Eminem's life, is the other).
The film's success also illuminates the iconic heights N.W.A.’s members have reached. The film's release was preceded by an avalanche of think pieces assessing not just the group's place in American cultural history, but the legacies of its surviving members. Dr. Dre, neé Andre Young, has become one of pop music's richest, most powerful figures, and Ice Cube, whose given name is O’Shea Jackson, has become an entertainment mogul in his own right as well.
The film has also benefited from considerable studio support. Though "Compton" cost a modest $29 million to make, Universal Pictures spent heavily to promote the film, starting with campaigns during the NBA playoffs and going on through the film’s release earlier this month. Over the past 30 days, Universal has been the 12th-biggest TV advertiser in the United States, iSpot.TV data showed.