Biopic of iconic rappers blows away projections with $24.2 million Friday and leaves “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” in dust
“Straight Outta Compton” blasted past analysts’ estimates with $24.2 million in its box office debut Friday, and is on its way to a record-breaking $57 million weekend for Universal Pictures.
The weekend race will be a blowout, with “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” a very distant second with roughly $5 million on Friday, and heading for third with a limp $13 million debut, behind reigning champ “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.”
“Straight Outta Compton,” the R-rated biopic about the iconic “gangsta rap” group N.W.A. — Niggaz With Attitude — is on track for one of the biggest August openings ever and will be Universal’s sixth film to hit No. 1 in what has been an incredible year for the studio.
Universal on Friday passed the $2 billion mark at the domestic box office in record time, overtaking the speed record previously held by Warner Bros., which reached $2 billion on Dec. 25, 2009. The studio is also poised to cross the all-time domestic record later this year — also set by Warner Bros. in 2009 ($2.1 billion). Universal last week broke the record for the highest-grossing box office year in Hollywood history when it reached $5.53 billion worldwide.
The Friday opening for “Straight Outta Compton” — which included $4.9 million from Thursday screenings — was the fourth-largest August first day ever, behind only “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s on track for the biggest opening for a rap or hip-hop movie ever, ahead of the $51 million 2002 debut of Eminem’s “8 Mile.”
Moviegoers gave “Straight Outta Compton” an “A” CinemaScore, in line with the high marks critics have given the film, which recounts the rise of the what was known then as “the world’s most dangerous group.” An in-your-face style that challenged authority with profane hits like “F-ck Tha Police” put the group on the front lines of the 1980s cultural wars in America.
F. Gary Gray directed “Straight Outta Compton,” which features O’Shea Jackson Jr. playing his real-life father, Ice Cube, in his first starring role. Newcomers Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell are Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, respectively. It’s at 88 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes.
Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are joined as producers by Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright, Matt Alvarez, Gray and Scott Bernstein. Will Packer serves as executive producer of the film alongside Adam Merims, David Engel, Bill Straus, and Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni.
Warner Bros. had hoped for more from the Guy Ritchie-directed “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” an action film starring “Superman” actor Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer based on the 1970s TV show. Analysts had projected a debut in the high-teen millions. It received a “B” CinemaScore from audiences, in lines with the critics, who had it at 68 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes.
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. —
The father of a girl burned and starved to death will spend the rest of his life in prison.
A judge sentenced Eman Moss to life without parole Friday in the death of his 10-year-old daughter Emani Moss.
Moss pleaded guilty to two counts of felony murder, two counts of cruelty to a child and one count of concealing a death in June.
Emani Moss was found dead in a trash canister outside her Gwinnett County apartment in November 2013. She was burned and emaciated, police said.
Tiffany and Eman Moss supposedly home schooled the child and did not feed her regularly, police said. She weighed only 32 pounds, and was the size of a 3-year-old when she died.
Eman stood for five minutes before a judge, crying and reading a letter he wrote to his deceased daughter Emani.
A daughter he says he tried to feed as she was dying of starvation.
“So again, I apologize deeply for failing you. I’m sorry Emani,” Eman said.
In court Friday, Eman read a poem in court apologizing for his actions:
Dear Emani Moss, my angel face:
My beautiful princess, my first born. My baby girl, my diamond in the sky. Daddy is so, so sorry for my actions. Daddy’s actions caused me to lose a rare gem stone that was you.
I wanted you to know that Daddy made a terrible mistake and he is very sorry from the bottom of my heart.
The thing that brings me so much pain in my heart is I can’t bring you back. I cannot kiss you, I cannot hold you, I cannot tell you I miss you, I cannot tell you I love you. And the worse of all I can’t see you become a beutiful woman because of my bad mistake and my bad decision.
So again, I apologize deeply for failing you. I’m sorry, Emani. Know I have owned my mistakes. Know I have owned my faults that lead me here. I have accepted my part without blaming anyone but myself. I have accepted the grief, the pain, the suffering that I have caused the whole family.
I am so sorry, mom. I am so sorry, dad. I am so sorry, Aunt B. I am so sorry, Aunt JC. I am so sorry, Uncle Ken. I am so sorry, Ryan I am so sorry, Brendan. I am so sorry, Aunt Beverly. I am so sorry for everybody that I have not named. I am so sorry, State of Georgia. I am so sorry, Gwinnett County. and I am so sorry your Honor. And I hope everyone can find in their heart to forgive me.
Friends and family, I want to tell you that even though I have failed as a parent, as a father and as a daddy, I want each and every one of you to know that I am not my past. And that I will not let what I have done to define me. I will chose to never lose hope. I will chose to let the light of God to shine in through and around me. I will chose love as how and what I think about. So love can be the reflection of my behavior.
I realize that until a person changes their thoughts, they can’t change their behavior. So I choose to think differently so I can reflect a better behavior. So I can choose to be a better me. So I can choose to be a better father, son, brother, friend, nephew, cousin, grandson. So my life will have meaning and purpose with love. So like the lyrics of Stevie Wonder’s song, I will keep trying until I reach a higher ground.
So family and friends, and most of all, Emani baby girl, you will always be the love of my life forever. I’m sorry again.
Prosecutors sought the death penalty.
Prosecutors say Eman has agreed to testify against his wife Tiffany in her upcoming death penalty trial, describing the weeks of starving Emani, and some of her last words as he claims he tried to keep her alive.
“We believe she might have been saying to Mr. Moss when he was there trying to feed her ‘daddy daddy daddy,’” said lawyer Christian Lamar.
But after she died, Eman admits he tried to burn her body in a trash can, fearing he would lose the rest of his family if police discovered what happened. Moss admitted his guilt after prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty.
“It’s good to see he recognizes that, but it’s obviously entirely too late for Emani,” Gwinnett Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jones said.
Police said Eman called police and threatened to commit suicide. When officers arrived, he directed them to a trash can where they found the child’s body.
The Department of Children and Families received six complaints regarding Emani spanning from infancy until two months before her death.
His wife, Emani’s stepmother, Tiffany, still faces the death penalty.