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Product context

• It’s a biopic which follows the story of the hip hop band N.W.A
• Based in 1980 America
• Directed by F. Gary Gray
• Produced by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Universal Pictures
• Ice Cube and Dr Dre, members of the band, were co-producers of the
• It was a huge commercial and critical success
• It became the highest grossing biopic of all time
Historical context
• The film shows events which are set mainly in mid-1980’s California,
• Due to the political and social issues surrounding California at the
time, the film shows the impact of the racial tension and the issues
surrounding the LA riots in 1992.
• The possible glorification of N.W.A as influencers of social change
could have been influenced by these events.
Cultural context
• N.W.A were important when it came to social change as supporters of
free speech and as producers of protest songs.
• They were also highly successful black men from isolated areas of
American urban communities.
• N.W.A were heavily criticised for their heavily anti-feministic lyrics
and of a lifestyle that both objectifies and marginalises women.
Economic and political context
• Two members of the original band N.W.A, Ice Cube and Dr Dre, co-produced the
film which could have caused some people to believe that they are possibly
showing a glorified side to the bands issues/politics and their own influence
within social change. Some people may have accused the members of
downplaying the more problematic areas of their work, such as what N.W.A
stands for (N******* With Attitude) and one of their most famous songs, ‘F***
tha Police’. There’s also the issue that implies that Dr Dre and Ice Cube were used
as a way for the companies involved to gain economic success.
• The pre-sold hip hop fan base of N.W.A, those that have an appeal toward ‘real-
life’ stories and the music within it, might have been able to offset any economic
risk towards the films production and guarantee an audience for the film.
• 2 albums were released at the same time as the film, the soundtrack of the film
which featured music from N.W.A and an album by Dr Dre contributed to the
success of the film.
Soundtrack and album
• The soundtrack was released after the film was released.
• Due to the films trailer coming out before ‘Furious 7’ it meant that people
where interested in ‘Straight Outta Compton’. Those that were around
during N.W.A.’s time, they would known who the band was and also those
who are into rap/gangster rap style music may have had an idea of who
they were. The bands album ‘Straight Outta Compton’ was released in
1988 and through seeing the trailer and hearing about the film, the album
could’ve become popular again.
• In November 2015, a couple of months after the films release date, the
album ‘Straight Outta Compton’ was certified triple platinum which was
probably heavily impacted by the film being produced. Overall the album
has sold over 3 million copies.
Media ownership
• The film was produced by Legendary Pictures who have also produced films
such as The Hangover trilogy, The Dark Knight, Pacific Rim and Godzilla
• They entered into partnership with Universal Pictures, who was the films
distributer, in 2014
• Universal Pictures is known for films such as The Wolf of Wall street, The
Incredible Hulk and Jurassic Park, which will influence those that have seen
the trailer and know their films to watch ‘Straight Outta Compton’
• The film was produced and distributed by a major vertically integrated film
studio that is also part of a media conglomerate
• The co-producers of the film were original members of the band, Ice Cube
and Dr Dre
• Fans of N.W.A may be attracted to scenes shown in the trailer of their band being
formed and main events that occurred during the formation of the band and
events which they had to go through.
• Fans of rap/gangster rap would be interested and possibly know about N.W.A and
so this film would seem appealing to them.
• Fans of biopic films would be interested in how the companies involved in
production had represented key events and the band itself.
• Fans of the films studios/producers would have an expectation for the films
produced by them and would go and see it and also interested in if it lives up to
the expectations of the production studios.
• Wider audiences could be interested in the social tension, cultural change or
personal drama shown.
• Others may have been more interested in the genre of music and find it appealing
to them, linking slightly to fans of rap/gangster rap.
Regulatory framework
• The BBFC (British Board of Film Certification) rated it 18, however
local councils have the power to overrule their decision and they
rated it 15.
• Straight Outta Compton’s theatrical release was given a 15 certificate,
but the directors cut was an 18.
• Overall, this film was given different certificates in different countries
around the world, based on what they deem as appropriate.
Production, distribution and circulation
• The first trailer for the film was released on 8th February 2015, with a ‘red band’
card to show the nature of the content and it included an introduction by Ice
Cube and Dr Dre.
• A global trailer was released on 1st April 2015 before the screening of Universal’s
‘Furious 7’, to grasp a wider audience.
• ‘Straight Outta Compton’ was released in Britain on 28th August 2015 and in the
USA on 11th August 2015.
• It was a major commercial success, it had a budget of $50 million and it made
over $200 million.
• It was sponsored by the co producers, Ice Cube and Dre Dre and in the online
marketing, it was sponsored by beats which is owned by Dr Dre.
• There was a poster produced for advertisement.
• TV spots were used to show the public the trailer and appeal to a wider audience.
• The album N.W.A which was produced in 1988 was one of their most famous and
iconic albums.
• On 7th August 2015 beats by Dr Dre launched an app called ‘Straight Outta
Somewhere’ which allowed users to upload their own photograph to the website
and complete the ‘Straight Outta’ logo with a place/location of their choice.
Before the films opening day, over 6 million downloads were generated on social
media. Barack Obama also got involved and made his own ‘Straight Outta
Somewhere’ logo, which could have cause others to gain interest in the app.
• At the time of the film being released baseball gear merchandise was produced.
The merchandise has evolved now to cover various clothes and accessories, such
as hoodies and hats.
• global trailer
Film logo
• It has the same logo as the ‘parental advisory explicit content’ logo.
• Links to their music with the parental advisory notice.
• Also has references to social conventions of rebellion and challenging
authority, which N.W.A did do with both their music and actions.
Opening scene and concert scene
• opening scene
• Universal Pictures logo- news reports possibly real ones from that time. Gives the audience an
understanding of what was happening. “gangs” “drugs” “police”
• Legendary Pictures logo shown so the audience has an expectation for the film which is the same
with Universal Pictures.
• Specific dates shown with location, audience knows where exactly they are.
• Introduced to Eazy E, with a focus on him so the audience knows he’s important and will become
a main character.
• Main themes: secrecy, gangs, drugs, violence, police vs community.
• Police using a battering ram, shows they have a lack of care toward what they are doing.
• Panic, suspense and drama makes it enticing for the audience.
• Finishes with their logo for Straight Outta Compton.
• It all gives the audience an insight to what life was like for them and what they went through at
that time, especially focussing in on drugs, gangs and police.
• concert scene
• Police warn the band and set boundaries for them, they aren’t able to play
‘F*** tha police’ during the concert otherwise they’ll get arrested.
• Police are shown to be positioned in the crowd, watching them.
• They play ‘Straight Outta Compton’.
• Eazy E talks to the audience, tells them what the police told them they
couldn’t do/perform. He says N.W.A won’t listen and can say and do what
they want.
• N.W.A performs ‘F*** tha police’.
• Police fire guns and chase the band offstage- immediate response, lack of
care shown.
• Harsh actions shown towards the members of N.W.A.
• Shows the audience what it was truly like, how the police tried to control
them and the harsh reality of what occurred.
Theoretical perspectives- David Hesmondhalgh
• 360 degree marketing links to the production, distribution and circulation of the film,
with the use of the trailer, website, merchandise, poster, TV spots and album.
• Formatting ‘genre’- The film itself is a biopic and it shows this through the use of context,
key themes and dates and cultural aspects of the time the film is set in and typical
expectations of a biopic film.
• Formatting ‘stars’- In the film, Paul Giamatti who’s a well known actor and has been in
films such as ‘The Trueman show’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ plays Jerry Heller who was
N.W.A’s manager. Ice Cubes son, O’Shea Jackson Jr plays Ice Cube. Those who know of
either of these actors, including Ice Cube would be interested in seeing them in ‘Straight
Outta Compton’.
• Production companies: Legendary Pictures, New line cinema (production studio of
Warner Bros.), cube vision (founded by Ice Cube and Matt Alvarez), crucial films, broken
chair flickz. Due to Universal Pictures being a part of Comcast, they had no need to
compete with other producers/areas of the film because they had everything there for
them. This means that vertical and horizontal integration aren’t applied to this film.

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