The faith-based drama “War Room” rose up and smote “Straight Outta Compton” on Friday, and is on its way to the Labor Day weekend title with an estimated $13.6 million at a subdued North American box office.
Director, co-writer, producer and cast member Alex Kendrick’s micro-budgeted paean to the power of prayer will end the three-weekend run at No. 1 of Universal’s N.W.A biopic, which is looking at $11.4 million over the four days after taking in $2.2 million Friday, just behind the $2.3 million taken in by “War Room” for Sony’s Affirm Films.
The F. Gary Gray-directed “Straight Outta Compton” will have taken in $150 million domestically by Sunday and is a big win for Universal, given its $29 million budget.
The weekend’s two wide openers — the Robert Redford comedy “A Walk in the Woods” and “The Transporter Refueled” — were the first wide releases by their distributors and both were looking at around $9 million over the long holiday. That was better news for Broad Green Pictures’ “Walk in the Woods,” which had a $6 million production budget, than “Transporter Refueled,” which cost $30 million and was in far more theaters for Relativity EuropaCorp Distribution.
EuropaCorp’s action reboot, with Ed Skrein taking over as the lead for Jason Statham, took in $2.4 million Friday. The mature-skewing “A Walk in the Woods,” directed by Ken Kwapis and acquired out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, should be at around $11 million by Monday. It opened Wednesday to get a jump on the weekend.
“War Room” kept the faithful following its surprising second-place debut last weekend, and added strong word of mouth — and 391 theaters — after earning a rare “A+” CinemaScore. It had the best per-screen average of the leaders, drawing $1,535 from 1,526 locations, and fell off just 45 percent.
“A Walk in the Woods,” which co-stars Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Kristen Schaal, Mary Steenburgen and Nick Offerman, was next with an $1,120 average from 1,960 theaters, while “Transporter Refueled” wasn’t nearly as efficient and drew just $690 from its 3,494 theaters.
The most impressive average and CinemaScore this week was posted by the Spanish-language “Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos” in its debut for Lionsgate and Televisa’s Pantelion Films. The PG-13-rated animated film, which has grossed more than $6 million in Mexico, took in $910,000 from 395 theaters, or $2,305 per location, and should crack the top ten. It received an “A+” from audiences, too.
The Labor Day weekend ends summer and is typically one of the slowest of the year at the box office. Universal’s billion-dollar blockbusters “Jurassic World” and “Minions” both fell out of the top ten, as did Disney and Marvel’s “Ant Man.”
Things didn’t get any better for Zac Efron‘s electronic dance music tale “We Are Your Friends,” which posted one of the weakest wide openings ever last weekend. It dropped a whopping 76 percent from last Friday and stumbled to $750,000 from 2,323 locations, for a feeble average of $75 per theater for Warner Bros.