Many theaters were packed overnight when the new hip-hop movie "Straight Outta Compton" opened. Fandango said more than 70 percent of the tickets it sold for this weekend were for the film.
Some theater owners are worried about security at screenings, which sparked a backlash from fans, who say they're being stereotyped.
The biopic covers the rise of the iconic group N.W.A. in a time before rap was a pop culture mainstay, reports CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers. More than a quarter-century later, the story deals with issues that may be as relevant as ever.
Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella and MC Ren were five guys from inner city Los Angeles who in 1988 charted a new course for hip-hop with a single, groundbreaking album.
That album was "Straight Outta Compton."
"F*** the police straight from the underground. A young N***** got it bad cause I'm brown," their song "F*** Tha Police" said.
The inflammatory lyrics of that song provided an unflinching look at urban, black America, airing out deep-seated frustration with police tactics.
"We looking to do music, kind of chronicle what we grew up going through and what we seen in our lives, and what happened to us in our lives," Ice Cube said in a Universal Pictures interview.
"The timing of this film, you know, it's sadly relevant," LA Times writer Lorraine Ali, who was on set during the filming, said.
She said "Straight Outta Compton" hits at issues right out of today's headlines.
"I mean, we're talking about police brutality, unarmed black men getting killed by police across the country," Ali said.
"They talked about the things that others were scared to talk about and shed light on things that people needed to know," actor O'Shea Jackson Jr., who portrays his real-life father Ice Cube in the film, said in a Universal interview.
Even today, some see N.W.A.'s message as a potential threat. The LAPD is downplaying security concerns at area theaters, but isn't taking any chances.
"In the interest of safety and because we aren't in the optimism business, we're always gonna deploy more officers in events like this," LAPD Commander Andy Smith said.
Universal told CBS News it "partnered with [theaters] who have requested support for their locations," but the studio wouldn't say what kind of "support." Sources indicate it could mean reimbursement for security.
"I think the security around it is a bit of a double-standard. I mean, we're not talking about this for other films," Ali said. "Isn't this the very sort of thing they were rapping about, like, this is what you expect from young black men, so we better beef up security."
Despite reports that some theaters did request security given the film's gang references, there have been no reported incidents at Thursday's advance screenings.