So the weekend came and went and there was no violence at any of the Straight Outta Compton screenings. That’s 2,757 theatre screens and zero, zilch, nada incidents!
But, you know what did happen? Record setting sales! The film that depicts the history of rap group NWA brought in over 56 million dollars during it’s opening weekend making it number one at the box office.
And although those numbers are great, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Universal Pictures seemed more concerned with amping up security than setting records. Last week, the studio made headlines saying they would reimburse theatre owners for added security at Straight Outta Compton showings and the LAPD stepped up their presence at certain theaters because, according to spokesman Andy Smith, “Maybe different factions of youngsters from different gangs will show up at the same theater at the same time and that’s always a bad mix.”
Ironically, it wasn’t droves of “gun-toting gangbangers” that filled theaters, actually 52 percent of the audience over the weekend was women. So, why did they need extra security at this movie?
When NWA hit number 1 in 1991, according to Soundscan, it was becuase a majority of their records were purchased by suburban teen boys … not gangsters, not killers, not even black people … but suburban teenage boys, much like Jonah Hill. Check out what he had to say about Ice Cube when he was promoting 22 Jump Street.
Yes, 46 percent of the audience that helped make Straight Outta Compton the highest grossing R rated August opening in history, was African American … but that also means that 54 percent wasn’t.
Some theatre owners ramped up security for Straight Outta Compton, but these same owners failed to increase security at TrainWreck screenings nationwide after a man opened fire in a theatre in Lafayette, La. And will they seek added protection for the upcoming Batman vs Superman release? Remember the horrific shootings in Aurora, Colorado? Those were at a showing of The Dark Night. It all makes you go hmmmmm.
What do you think, was the extra security for Straight Outta Compton justified or was the movie, like so many people, a victim of the way america views Black lives.