Everybody can be straight outta somewhere, and that's fine with Universal Pictures.
An online marketing campaign for the rap music film Straight Outta Compton opening in the United States this weekend is fuelling what's likely to be another hit for the studio.
"It's poised to really defy expectations for what a music biopic can do," said Phil Contrino of Boxoffice.com.
He said he would probably raise his US$43 million ($64.9 million) forecast for weekend sales, making Compton the biggest debut ever in the genre.
The film, about the 1980s rap group N.W.A, is getting an online push from co-founder Dr. Dre, the studio, and Beats by Dre, the headphone maker he sold to Apple in a US$3 billion deal.
The social media tool created by Beats, called a meme generator, drew 4 million fans, attracting moviegoers who aren't even fans of N.W.A's music.
The meme generator went live on August 5. Users fill in the blank on the "Straight Outta ... " and attach a photo to share on Facebook or Twitter. The campaign also included a live YouTube interview put on by Universal Pictures on Wednesday, with the stars of the film and co-producers Dre and Ice Cube, another N.W.A founding member.
Some of the actors wore Apple watches. Beats is producing Straight Outta Compton headphones.
Musical biopics, even about the biggest artists, seldom lead the box office. Why Straight Outta Compton will be an exception has a lot to do with Dre and Cube, who were instrumental in bringing the film to the big screen. They are credited as producers and were involved in casting the actors that played them.
Dre, still among the world's most influential musicians, released a surprise album last week, his first in 16 years. Compton: A Soundtrack, is available only on Apple Music and iTunes for two weeks.
In the YouTube event, Dre said he was inspired by working on the film.