Straight Outta Compton: $60.2 mil opening weekend, huge Academy screening

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  • Tye-Grr
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    #191601

    Just saw ‘Straight Outta Compton’ with a packed house of very enthusiastic viewers, and it was FANTASTIC…for the first 2 acts. The 3rd act, while still good, drags on a bit too long and starts to lose some focus. If they had tightened up the plot and not focused on them solo for so long, it would’ve been one of the best films of the year. As it stands, I still highly recommend it. It’s a great theater going experience, and every single cast member was terrific.

    Casting Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr. was genius- he was PERFECT. Newcomers Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E and Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre were equally outstanding, Paul Giamatti does very strong supporting work as their manager Jerry Heller, and a special shoutout to Keith Stanfield’s spot-on cameo as Snoop Dogg. There are certain sections where the whole audience (myself and my brother included) were singing/rapping along enthusiastically, none more so than the “Fuck Tha Police” section- it was electric. I know that kind of thing can be annoying, and it usually is for me, but in this case it really made this experience feel special.

    F. Gary Gray directs the film with energy to spare, particularly the blistering (and sometimes blisteringly funny) first act where we see these friends come together as N.W.A. and discover for the first time how powerful their words are to their community. One of my favorite theater going experiences of the year.

    EDIT TO ADD: Special mention must be made of Matthew Libatique’s beautiful cinematography, particularly during the concert scenes. He films everything BEAUTIFULLY, making even the grittiest scenes gorgeous. 

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    Tyler The Awesome Guy
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    #191603

    Not sure if I’m gonna see it but I think it’s cool that Ice Cube’s own son played Ice Cube. Smart bit of casting.

    Also, not sure how this film is going to play. I’ve heard decent reviews from it from critics, but one of the original members, MC Ren, had some not nice things to say about it on Twitter. But apparently it’s produced by Cube and Dr. Dre, so it should be accurate to the story of their rise to fame.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191604

    Not sure if I’m gonna see it but I think it’s cool that Ice Cube’s own son played Ice Cube. Smart bit of casting.

    Also, not sure how this film is going to play. I’ve heard decent reviews from it from critics, but one of the original members, MC Ren, had some not nice things to say about it on Twitter. But apparently it’s produced by Cube and Dr. Dre, so it should be accurate to the story of their rise to fame.

    They definitely gloss over some things. It didn’t bother me, but it did bother some people.

    The film is looking to do between $40-$50 mil this weekend.   

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    Bird
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    #191605

    I know Straight Outta Compton is probably not the Academy’s cup of tea, but I still think it may be heading towards a couple of nominations. It’s got to many things going for it.

    -Mostly positive reviews  
    -Its about to make an insane amount of money for a musical biopic (probably heading near $60 million just for the weekend)
    -It comes from Universal, who can do no wrong this year
    -The Academy knows (hopefully) that they fucked up last year when it came to its representation of minority actors and filmmakers in its nominations and will try to right that wrong this year.

    I can see the academy giving the film anywhere from 0-6 nominations. As far as potential nominations in order of likelyhood:

    • Soundmixing- music oriented films have an easier time making it into this category
    • Picture- I can see this falling into a similar situation as Selma, where picture may be an easier get than other nominations
    • Supporting actor- Jason Mitchell or Paul Giamatti- To me, Jason Mitchell had the best performance in the film as Eazy-E (followed closely behind by Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre). He also has the mosic Oscar-y scene in the film. The problem is that he’s a virtual unknown. Paul Giamatti gives a good performance as the manager Jerry and he’s the only big name actor in the cast, which is why I write him as a possibility. 
    • Director- F. Gary Gray showed some confident directing skills and would be very deserving of a nomination. The acadmy may also be seeking to make up for the absence of Ava DuVernay
    • Cinematography- Some great, non obvious, camera work that might be overlooked.
    • Editing- This is a tricky one. The last third of the film drags a bit, but the first two thirds flows so smoothly, which rarely happens with me when it comes to music biopics. 

    Thoughts?

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191607

    All three “leads” are impressive… It’s hard to say if they are supporting or leading; they get equal-ish screentime. I think Jason Mitchell might get the most screentime of the three, and in the third act he is the emotional core. He’s excellent though, and I’d love if he got some buzz. Giamatti is clearly supporting and he’s great as Jerry Heller. As far as what nominations I’d love to see it get considered for, I would say Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography (Matthew Libatique), and Sound Editing. I wouldn’t mind some consideration for the actors and for the screenplay as well.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191608

    The final weekend box office for ‘Straight Outta Compton’ was an astounding $60.2 million. That’s more than blockbusters ‘Ant-Man’ and ‘Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation’. Sooooo happy for all involved!!

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191609

    According to THR, Universal is having very successful Academy screenings for ‘Straight Outta Compton’:

    Full article here, excerpts below: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/oscars-straight-outta-compton-could-815656

    “Oscars: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ — Could It Be a Contender? The film about the rise and fall of the groundbreaking hip-hop group NWA had a big weekend not only at the box-office, but also at the Academy, where its screening for members drew a massive crowd and overwhelmingly favorable response.

    Universal is said to be bullish about the film’s awards prospects and, based on the audience it drew and reception it received at its official Academy screening on Saturday night, it’s hard to disagree.

    Almost all major motion pictures are invited to screen for Oscar voters at the Academy’s 1012-seat Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills, but many play to a largely empty room, especially prior to the fall. ‘Compton’, however, drew a massive crowd, according to several Academy members with whom I spoke. “It was one of the bigger screenings I’ve seen in a long time,” said one, “maybe 80 to 85 percent full.” The week before, he said, a screening drew perhaps 200 people; this one, according to a Universal rep who was monitoring attendance, drew “well over 700.” (One caveat: Prior to the fall, members are invited to bring with them up to three guests, so not everyone in the room was an Academy member — but even so, it was an impressive showing.)

    The film itself seemed to go over very well. A powerful scene that plays before its opening credits was met with applause, an extremely rare response from hard-bitten members in the middle of a movie. According to another member, “I talked to many members afterwards and they were very impressed.” 

    Speaking to those points, Ava DuVernay, the black director of Selma (2014) who was invited to join the Academy in 2013posted a string of Tweets on Sunday morning after catching Compton at a theater in South Central L.A. on Saturday night “with a beautiful, alive invested audience. Invested because many of them, like me, were there”: “Damn, they got it right. Under @FGaryGray’s brilliant direction + @MattyLibatique’s gorgeous cinematography, I was transported back… The music of my youth and how it came to be and why it was what it was. We rapped along, clapped, laughed, cried. For all that has happened. All the stifling of our voices as young black people in that place at that time while a war was going on against us… Terrific acting, solid production design, swoon-worthy cinematography and fab costumes… @FGaryGray gets you as close as you’ll ever get… This film did it for me on multiple levels. It’s fantastic.”

    The bottom line: Straight Outta Compton may well end up serving as something of a barometer for how successful the Academy’s efforts to increase the diversity of its membership actually have been. 





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    SupaDupa Fly
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    #191610

    According to THR, Universal is having very successful Academy screenings for ‘Straight Outta Compton’:

    Per Scott Feinberg-

    Oscars: ‘Straight Outta Compton’ — Could It Be a Contender? (Analysis)
    ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Jaimie Trueblood/Universal Pictures

    The film about the rise and fall of the groundbreaking hip-hop group NWA had a big weekend not only at the box-office, but also at the Academy, where its screening for members drew a massive crowd and overwhelmingly favorable response.

    This weekend, as Straight Outta Compton racks up ticket sales that are projected to amount to $56.1 million, members of the industry are asking: Could the drama, which chronicles the rise and fall of the groundbreaking hip-hop group N.W.A, also become one of the year’s first Oscar contenders?

    Universal is said to be bullish about the film’s awards prospects and, based on the audience it drew and reception it received at its official Academy screening on Saturday night, it’s hard to disagree.

    Almost all major motion pictures are invited to screen for Oscar voters at the Academy’s 1012-seat Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills, but many play to a largely empty room, especially prior to the fall. Compton, however, drew a massive crowd, according to several Academy members with whom I spoke. “It was one of the bigger screenings I’ve seen in a long time,” said one, “maybe 80 to 85 percent full.” The week before, he said, a screening drew perhaps 200 people; this one, according to a Universal rep who was monitoring attendance, drew “well over 700.” (One caveat: Prior to the fall, members are invited to bring with them up to three guests, so not everyone in the room was an Academy member — but even so, it was an impressive showing.)



    The film itself seemed to go over very well. A powerful scene that plays before its opening credits was met with applause, an extremely rare response from hard-bitten members in the middle of a movie. (There have been only a few instances of it in recent years: following some of the numbers in Chicago, Anne Hathway’s show-stopper in Les Miserables and the thrilling finale of Argo. And all of those films went on to win major Oscars.) According to another member, “I talked to many members afterwards and they were very impressed.” 

    Compton‘s cause was further boosted by a post-screening Q&A with producers Ice Cube and Scott Bernstein, producer-director F. Gary Gray and actors O’Shea Jackson Jr.Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell, moderated by KPCC’s John Horn, which the filmmaker Julie Dash, an Academy member, Periscoped for people who were unable to be in the room. “They handled the crowd expertly,” said one member. “Ice Cube said to the crowd, ‘I’m not anti-police,’ even though there’s a lot of police brutality portrayed in the film. He said, ‘I support the police.'”

    Every year, at least one film comes out of nowhere to become a major player in the Oscar season. CouldCompton be that film this year? In the words of one Academy member, “It succeeds as a studio picture while transcending what that usually is. It’s a very visceral, poetic, terrific film. It is worthy of some real consideration, particularly I think for acting, directing and even best picture — but, but, it’s very early in the season, and there are a zillion other pictures coming out.”

     

    In my view, there are several other things that the film has going for it. For one, many — perhaps most — Oscar nominees tap into the zeitgeist, directly or indirectly, in some way. I would argue that No Country for Old Men (2007) spoke to the fatalism felt by many Americans (and particularly many left-leaning people like many of those in the Academy) about the state of the nation during the final years of George W. Bush’s presidency, while Slumdog Millionaire (2008) spoke to the optimism and hope that those same people felt around the time of Barack Obama’s election to replace him.

    At the present moment, Americans are on edge about race relations — and specifically relations between black communities and white police officers — across our country, and many seem hungry for a smart look, direct or indirect, at the black experience and race relations today, or at least in recent history. On TV, Fox’s massive hit drama Empire touches on many of these themes, employing as its lead actor and actress the stars of a 2005 film about hip-hop music that did the same, Hustle & Flow — for which, it is worth recalling, Terrence Howard was nominated for the best actor Oscar and the song “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” won the best original song Oscar. Why couldn’t Compton resonate as that film did?

    Also of note: Compton is an L.A. story — a story about a slice of life in and around the largest hub of Academy members anywhere — and recent history has shown how much Oscar voters respond to stories near and/or dear to them. Crash, another film about racial tensions in the L.A.-area, is the most relevant example, but The Artist and Argo also are L.A.-set, and Birdman, while not L.A.-set, was about the strains of the jobs of those who are. It’s hard to ignore the fact that each of those films won the best picture Oscar.



    Speaking to those points, Ava DuVernay, the black director of Selma (2014) who was invited to join the Academy in 2013posted a string of Tweets on Sunday morning after catching Compton at a theater in South Central L.A. on Saturday night “with a beautiful, alive invested audience. Invested because many of them, like me, were there”: “Damn, they got it right. Under @FGaryGray’s brilliant direction + @MattyLibatique’s gorgeous cinematography, I was transported back… The music of my youth and how it came to be and why it was what it was. We rapped along, clapped, laughed, cried. For all that has happened. All the stifling of our voices as young black people in that place at that time while a war was going on against us… Terrific acting, solid production design, swoon-worthy cinematography and fab costumes… @FGaryGray gets you as close as you’ll ever get… This film did it for me on multiple levels. It’s fantastic.”

    Now, in fairness, there are several other things that could potentially work against Compton‘s awards prospects.

    For one, the Academy has rarely recognized films about black people except when they are depicted in subservient roles, as the actor David Oyelowo noted earlier this year. Among other egregious snubs, Oscar voters opted not to nominate for best picture Do the Right Thing (1989), Glory (1989), Boys n the Hood (1991),Malcolm X (1992) and SelmaThe Color Purple (1985) was nominated for 11 Oscars, including best picture, but lost all of them (a record-tying shutout); Sidney Poitier wasn’t even nominated for best actor for In the Heat of the Night (1967), which won the best picture Oscar; and the documentaries Hoop Dreams (1994) and The Interrupters (2011) weren’t nominated for an Oscar.

    In other words, those who suggest that the best picture win of 12 Years a Slave (2013) means that the Academy no longer avoids matters of race aren’t necessarily correct. As one member said to me when this came up during our discussion of Compton, “Just because [my fellow members] liked 12 Years a Slave does not mean they’re all open to this. I loved 12 Years a Slave, but let’s be honest, it’s the Masterpiece Theatre version of that story, and we all know how popular Masterpiece Theatre is and who its audience is.”

    This member added about the people in the voting group, “They’re not all Neanderthals,” but pointed out that while the film’s Academy screening generated strong attendance from those “who are aware, willing and open,” there were still a considerable number of members who weren’t there and who may not make the effort to catch up with the film at a later time. “I hate to say this,” he said, “but when you think about all the members who will not see the film or who will watch it for 20 minutes at home and then say it’s too violent — that may be a problem. Plus, a lot of members who do see it, won’t get it — they just don’t understand the richness, the variety, the rhythm of what movies can be. They still wish all movies were like The Sound of Music.” (Of course, violence and vulgarity didn’t keep the 2006 film The Departed, with its mostly white cast, from winning the best picture Oscar.)


    The bottom line:
     Straight Outta Compton may well end up serving as something of a barometer for how successful the Academy’s efforts to increase the diversity of its membership actually have been. 

    Well. This was a mouthful.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191611

    ^LOL! Sorry, I wanted to put the full article. Maybe I’ll shorten it and just post the link. 

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    SupaDupa Fly
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    #191612

    ^LOL! Sorry, I wanted to put the full article. Maybe I’ll shorten it and just post the link. 

    By mouthful, I just meant that there was a lot of truth written in the article. I don’t disagree with anything written in it. 

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    bruce melo
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    #191613

    I went to this movie with few preconceptions.  I know very little about rap and hadn’t even heard of N.W.A.  So now I have heard of N.W.A., and I really enjoyed the music, especially the impact of the live performances.  This stuff is great…it is so powerfully political…protest music on steroids.
    The audience was 90% white in a three quarter filled Sunday showing.  This represents the population of this small south eastern community in Ontario, Canada.  The response to the film was very positive. 
    As far as I am concerned this is a clear A movie with a wonderful in your face attitude.  The acting, writing, direction, and just about everything else was exceptional/exciting.  If you want to make a difference, you have to put yourself on the line, like these courageous activists.  There had to be a response to the absurd authoritarianism (abuse) by the police, and clearly this music pissed them off…good.
    I need to hear more.
    I left the theatre wishing the movie was longer.
    A highly recommendable A

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    Gucci
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    #191614

    Honey, I really enjoyed this film.  The three leads did an exceptional job.  The third act had a girl feeling rather emotional.  Great job with casting, especially having Ice Cube’s son play him.  They all looked like the people they were portraying.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191615

    Honey, I really enjoyed this film.  The three leads did an exceptional job.  The third act had a girl feeling rather emotional.  Great job with casting, especially having Ice Cube’s son play him.  They all looked like the people they were portraying.

    I agree Gucci, all three leads were exceptional. And the film is surprisingly emotional, especially a scene in the second act involving Dre that really touched me.

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    M
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    #191616

    I love this movie. Favorite movie I have seen theatrically all year.

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    Tye-Grr
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    #191617

    ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is projected to easily take #1 again at the box office this weekend with only a 45-50% drop and earn somewhere around $30 mil, passing the $100 mil mark in the process. 

     

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