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Brothers Aldis and Edwin Hodge talk about their up and coming …

Box office busting Straight Outta Compton star Aldis Hodge (MC Ren), and his brother Edwin Hodge from Chicago Fire, pitch in for a celebrity charity volleyball game in Long Beach, CA.

Posted by Mobile First Entertainment on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sorry I missed this awesome article.

 

Icons now, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Ren, MC Yella and Eazy-E began their storied lives just trying to survive and prosper in the meanest ‘hood in L.A.

 

“I was watching TV in a New York hotel room when I saw Ice Cube on Queen Latifah [the talk show], and she asked what he was doing next,” recounts Oscar-nominated cinematographer (and lifelong rap/hip-hop fan) Matthew Libatique, ASC. “When Cube said a film called Straight Outta Compton, I literally jumped up and grabbed the phone. For the first time in my career, I called my agent and said I really want that project.”

Straight Outta Compton

Fortunately for Libatique, he and Compton director, F. Gary Gray, shared the same agency. They met on Oscar day, 2014, to discuss the film. As Libatique picks up the story: “I remember walking into Gary’s office and seeing this wall of images – one image per scene in chronology with the script. I had come to that meeting with some general ideas about camera movement, but nothing textural that related to color or mood.

 

“These images, which were basically snapshots by friends or people who were around N.W.A. at that time and happened to have a camera, were completely naturalistic. They put you right there in that time and place, in the recording studios, the concert tours, the photo and video shoots, right on the streets.”

 

Libatique says the office images felt like a good starting point, “because to me this movie was an origin story about superheroes,” he adds. “I remember telling Gary [in that first meeting] how I read a lot of comic books as a kid, and my favorites were always the origin stories – the ones that showed how Batman or Superman or the Green Lantern became who they are. That’s what Straight Outta Compton is – an origin story about people who ultimately become larger than life in the eyes of pop culture.”

Straight Outta Compton

 

The superhero metaphor (from the man who shot Ironman and Ironman 2) is well placed. The Los Angeles where the transformative gangsta rap group known as N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) came of age was as treacherous and crime-ridden as any in the history of that city. Rival Crips and Bloods gangs ruled the streets with crack-cocaine empires, while a militarized LAPD waged indiscriminate war on criminals and civilians alike. Black teenagers (especially those with phone pagers) were ever-moving targets.

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Straight Outta Compton, the artful N.W.A biopic, has topped the box office two weekends in a row, earning a staggering $111.5 million. Eight facts that moviegoers probably don’t know about the hip-hop hit.

 

1. It has Lupita Nyong’o’s seal of approval.

 

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o has mad pride for Corey Hawkins (as a young Dr. Dre), whom she calls “irresistible.” (They met while shooting her 2014 thriller Non-Stop.) His background is impressive: Hawkins is a Juilliard School graduate who starred on Broadway in Romeo and Juliet, playing Tybalt.

 

 

2. This crew has history.

 

There’s a reason director F. Gary Gray nailed the tone of N.W.A’s story: He has known this crew for years. Early on, Gray helmed music videos for Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, including It Was A Good Day, “which is the four-minute version of Friday to me,” Ice Cube said in a YouTube roundtable recently. (1995’s Friday was Gray’s feature debut.) “It’s the same thing that Spike (Lee) does in New York. He makes our neighborhoods look beautiful. … It’s more about the humanity than just all the hood (stuff) they can show.”

 

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“Straight Outta Compton” dominated a trio of underwhelming new releases this weekend, providing a little proof of life in an otherwise moribund box office.

 

The rap drama topped charts for the second weekend in a row, picking up $26.8 million from 3,025 locations and propelling its domestic haul to $111.5 million. That’s a tidy return on the $29 million that Universal and Legendary spent making the film about the early days of N.W.A.

 

“Straight Outta Compton” hasn’t been without controversy. The film has been slammed for glossing over its members’ treatment of women and the blowback forced Dr. Dre to apologize for his actions. The negative headlines do not appear to be taking a toll on its ticket sales.

 

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Straight Outta Compton is having a killer opening weekend, pulling in a projected $56.1 million and scoring rave reviews from the majority of film critics and fans. And after a screening for Academy Award voters the N.W.A. biopic is now being seen as one of the first potential Oscar contenders of the year.

 

According to THR, Universal has become “bullish” about the film’s award show prospects. Attendance was higher than usual at Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, which screens most major releases. Those in attendance gave a round of applause to Compton’s pre-credit scene, with the warm reception continuing after the film ended.

 

“It succeeds as a studio picture while transcending what that usually is,” an Academy member told THR. “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.”

 

While it’s still very early, Compton could become the surprise Oscar contender for 2016. But it’d be far from the first time N.W.A. shocked the world.

 

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On Friday, August 14, Straight Outta Compton cast members Jason Mitchell, Neil Brown, Jr., Aldis Hodge, O’Shea Jackson, Jr., and Corey Hawkins made surprise appearances at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills and Cinemark 18 Theaters in Los Angeles. Excited guests took photos with the cast as well as received signed posters prior to viewing the film. Check out snaps from the cast and their lucky fans below.

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Photo courtesy of Allied Moxy/Chardae Jenkins

 

 

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It’s the battle of the initials at the weekend box office, with N.W.A biopic “Straight Outta Compton” outperforming “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” “Compton” pulled in $24 million in Friday receipts, putting it on track for a $57 million opening weekend, according to studio estimates.

 

After grossing close to $5 million from 2,264 screens in Thursday night previews, the Universal/Legendary effort expanded to 2,755 screens on Friday. Directed by F. Gary Gray, the biopic stars O’Shea Jackson as Ice Cube (his father), Corey Hawkins as Dr. Dre and Jason Mitchell as Eazy-E. Cube and Dre serve as producers, in addition to Eazy-E’s widow Tomica Woods-Wright, Matt Alvarez and Scott Bernstein.

 

Universal had pegged “Compton” for an opening between $25 million and $29 million, about half the haul it’s now expected to generate. Made on a budget of $29 million, the hip-hoppin’ pic contributes to Universal’s huge year; the studio surpassed the all-time record for worldwide grosses in a year earlier this month, making $5.53 billion off of big openers including “Jurassic World,” “Furious 7,” “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Minions.”

 

Also playing this weekend is slick Cold War actioner “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” which posted a comparatively modest $4.8 million on Friday night at 3,638 locations, tracking for a weekend total of $13 million.

 

Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Alicia Vikander star in Guy Ritchie’s reimagining of the 1960s espionage TV series. The pic is expected to find a female audience, with “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” and “Compton” occupying much of male audiences. Warner Bros.’ “U.N.C.L.E.” was made on a $75 million budget.

 

Tom Cruise is reasserting his box office prowess with the fifth chapter of “Mission: Impossible,” which posted $4.9 million on Friday, beating “U.N.C.L.E.” by a hair and tracking to outdo “U.N.C.L.E.’s” opening weekend with a $17 million haul. The Paramount/Skydance release crossed $300 million at the worldwide box office earlier this week.

 

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