Lots of high fives at the Sony offices today, as their don’t-mess-with-Denzel-Washington revenge flick The Equalizer walked away with a $35 million opening. “We’re really, really happy, but we were very bullish on the movie,” says Rory Bruer, Sony’s President of Worldwide Distribution. “It’s a film that we all love and it just delivers in a big way. Denzel couldn’t be more terrific in the role – you can’t take your eyes off this guy.” The movie’s success—director Antoine Fuqua’s best opening to date, Washington’s third best—is a testament to audience’s appreciation of Washington in tough lone wolf roles. Reviews were decidedly “eh”, but audiences gave the film a hearty A- CinemaScore. (Women too like their Washington on the fearsome side; females made up 48 percent of the audiences.) The Equalizer fared well in its IMAX release as well, playing on 352 domestic screens and raking in a global IMAX cume of $5 million.
Washington left the other new releases in the dust. The Boxtrolls collected $17.25 million, thereby narrowly ceding the No. 2 spot to last week’s No. 1 The Maze Runner. (The YA adaptation dropped 46.2 percent from last weekend, pulling in $17.5 million. That brings Maze Runner‘s domestic tally to just over $58 million.) Folks behind The Boxtrolls, the first animated film since July, have reason to cheer. The fantastical film, which benefitted from the voices of Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, and Ben Kingsley, marked the best debut for animation studio LAIKA (Coraline, Paranorman) and should continue to play well to family-friendly audiences.
Meanwhile audiences craving adult dramedy helped This Is Where I Leave You, the star-studded adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s tragicomic novel, helped keep the movie afloat. In it second week of release the film pulled in $7 million, dropping just 39 percent to hold onto the No. 4 spot.
Rounding out the top five is the earnest-hearted Dolphin Tale 2—starring dolpjins, some innocent-faced children and Morgan Freeman in a snazzy fedora—which squeaked out $4.8 million. Liam Neeson has been on a great roll lately but his latest shoot-em-up A Walk Among the Tombstones dropped out of the top 5, plunging a whopping 67 percent in its second week of release and limping away with $4.2 million. That brings the violent film’s domestic total to $20.9 million.
In limited release, CBS Films gay and labor rights movie PRIDE grossed an admirable $84,791 in six locations. Armed with a solid A CinemaScore, look for word-of-mouth to grow.
Top Five Films of the Weekend:
The Equalizer — $35 million
The Maze Runner — $17.5 million
The Boxtrolls — $17.25 million
This is Where I Leave You — $7 million
Dolphin Tale 2 — $4.8 million