Straight Outta Compton has made Hollywood history today (3 November), becoming the highest-grossing film helmed by an African-American director. Since its release in August, the film has accumulated a box-office total of almost $200m (£130m) worldwide, after having the fifth highest opening of August releases and three consecutively impressive weekends when it came to ticket sales alone.
The biopic directed by F Gary Gray tells the story of the career and eventual break-up of hip hop group NWA. The film beat the previous title holder, Scary Movie, which was directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans in 2000. The horror spoof grossed $157m domestically, quite a way behind the $199.9m that makes up Straight Outta Compton's current takings.
On the back of the success of the NWA film, Gray has jumped aboard the Fast And Furious franchise and is ready to direct the next instalment, Furious 8, which is due for release on 14 April 2017. Its predecessor, Furious 7, marked Universal's first film to break the $1bn barrier and with the expectation that the sequel is likely to do just as well, Gray may find himself hitting another milestone in a couple of years.
The fact that Gray's biopic has reached the accolade seems more than appropriate given his steady rise to becoming one of the most successful African-American directors as well as his influence over his peers in the industry. His first picture Friday, starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, was released in 1995 to critical acclaim and was swiftly followed by hits including The Negotiator, The Italian Job, Be Cool and most recently Law Abiding Citizen.
He has also directed many music videos throughout his career, for the likes of Cypress Hill, Ice Cube and R Kelly. And it does not look like Gray wants to slow down any time soon, as just a few months ago, he was reportedly in negotiations to helm Marvel Studios' upcoming movie Black Panther.