Industry projections of a third consecutive week at the top of the box-office heap for the N.W.A biopic "Straight Outta Compton" may turn out to be premature.
In the early going for this weekend, "War Room," is marginally ahead of Universal's look at the influential Los Angeles hip-hop group. "War Room" had an estimated take on Friday of $3.87 million, compared with $3.83 million for "Straight Outta Compton," according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.
"War Room" comes from Sony's Affirm Films division, which specializes in movies with religious themes. Early reviews among mainstream media outlets have been considerably less than glowing for the film. The Times' review called it "a mighty long-winded and wincingly overwrought domestic drama."
Filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick ("Courageous," "Fireproof" and "Facing the Giants") "can never be accused of sugar-coating all the blatant proselytizing" in the story of a woman (played by Priscilla Shirer) who takes the advice of an older mentor (Karen Abercrombie) and turns a closet in her home into a "war room" in which she attempts to get her spiritual life in order to save her troubled marriage.
Writing for the Boston Globe, Tom Russo said, "It's only in the late going that the marital drama turns somewhat more authentic, helping to restore a bit of the audience's, well, faith."
Meanwhile, "Straight Outta Compton" is headed for another strong weekend that will boost total revenue, which already has exceeded $120 million.
If it can edge past "War Room" to remain at No. 1 over the rest of the weekend, it would join another Universal film, "Jurassic World," as the only two films this year to log three weeks as weekend box office champs.
Rounding out the top five of BoxOfficeMojo's estimates from Friday are the Weinstein Company's No Escape" (estimated at $2.44 million), Paramount's "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation" ($2.18 million) and Focus Features' "Sinister 2" ($1.4 million).