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NORTH AMERICA: Weekend Actuals: 'The Equalizer' Impresses with $34.1M Start; 'The Maze Runner' Holds Up Well with $17.4M; 'The Boxtrolls' Debuts in Third with Very Solid $17.3M on September 29, 2014

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By Daniel Garris

Sony's The Equalizer debuted in first place this weekend with a strong start of $34.14 million. The action thriller starring Denzel Washington debuted towards the higher end of pre-release expectations, which were lofty, especially for the month of September. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, The Equalizer delivered the fourth largest opening weekend ever for the month of September (behind only 2012's Hotel Transylvania, 2013's Insidious Chapter 2 and 2002's Sweet Home Alabama). The film's debut represented the third largest opening weekend performance ever for Washington (behind only 2007's American Gangster and 2012's Safe House). The Equalizer opened 4 percent stronger than the $32.79 million start of 2010's The Book of Eli and 15 percent below the $40.17 million start of Safe House.

The Equalizer opened with $12.49 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.5 million from Thursday night shows), increased 8 percent on Saturday to gross $13.49 million and declined 40 percent on Sunday to take in $8.15 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.73 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed slightly towards male moviegoers (52 percent) and towards moviegoers 30 years and older (65 percent). The Equalizer received an A- rating on CinemaScore, which is an encouraging sign for the film going forward.

The Maze Runner placed in second with $17.44 million. The young adult adaptation from Fox held up relatively well this weekend, as it was down 46 percent from last weekend's strong start. The Maze Runner has grossed $57.96 million in ten days and continues to display strong early holding power for a young adult adaptation. Thanks in part to a significantly stronger second weekend hold, The Maze Runner is now running 32 percent ahead of the $44.01 million ten-day take of last year's Ender's Game and is already on the verge of reaching the $61.74 million final domestic gross of Ender's Game.

The Boxtrolls was off to a very solid third place start this weekend with $17.28 million. The latest 3D stop motion animated film from Focus and Laika debuted a bit above pre-release expectations. Compared to previous films from Focus and Laika, The Boxtrolls opened 23 percent ahead of the $14.09 million start of 2012's ParaNorman and a slim 3 percent ahead of the $16.85 million start of 2009's Coraline. ParaNorman and Coraline both displayed terrific holding power and going forward The Boxtrolls will hope to accomplish the same.

The Boxtrolls opened with $4.93 million on Friday, increased a strong 51 percent on Saturday to gross $7.46 million and declined 34.5 percent on Sunday to gross $4.89 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.51 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewered towards female moviegoers (57 percent). The Boxtrolls received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore.

Warner's This Is Where I Leave You placed in fourth with $6.89 million. The modestly budgeted comedy starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey held up well this weekend, as it was down 40 percent from last weekend's so-so start. This Is Where I Leave You has grossed $22.44 million in ten days. That places the film 13.5 percent behind the $25.94 million ten-day start of 2011's The Change-Up (which fell 53 percent in its second weekend to gross $6.31 million).

Fellow Warner Bros. release Dolphin Tale 2 rounded out the weekend's top five with $4.79 million. The family film sequel was down 46 percent from last weekend, as the film appears to have taken a bit of a hit from The Boxtrolls arriving in the marketplace. Dolphin Tale 2 has grossed $33.62 million in 17 days. The film is currently running 31 percent behind the $49.04 million 17-day take of 2011's Dolphin Tale and is displaying significantly softer holding power.

No Good Deed followed in sixth with $4.51 million. Sony's low-budget thriller starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson was down 54 percent. No Good Deed continues to be very front-loaded, but has still grossed a healthy $46.53 million in 17 days.

Universal's A Walk Among the Tombstones was down five spots and a massive 67 percent from last weekend with a seventh place take of $4.19 million. Lackluster word of mouth and the new direct competition from The Equalizer both had a clear negative effect on the Liam Neeson led action thriller this weekend. A Walk Among the Tombstones is now running below expectations with a ten-day start of $20.83 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy was down just 28 percent to place in eighth with $3.77 million. In the process, the blockbuster sci-fi superhero film from Disney and Marvel surpassed the $318.41 million final unadjusted gross of 2008's Iron Man. Guardians of the Galaxy has grossed a massive $319.17 million through 59 days of release.

Facebook Watch - 'Dracula Untold' has big week on September 29, 2014

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By Alex Edghill

Changing things up this week somewhat as I am going to be looking at Facebook likes changes for the past week (this column), then I will have a trailer column tomorrow which looks at the past week in trailers and how Facebook and Twitter crowds reacted to them, the regular forecast column will be Thursdays while Friday will be a deep dive into Twitter numbers for the past week.

Anyways, back to Facebook! This past week Dracula Untold led all upcoming films that we track with an increase of 172,802 likes, pushing it to 2.38 million overall. This is just eye-opening really, and when you consider that The Conjuring had just 200k likes at this point before its release, while The Purge had just over 400k likes. The numbers here keep piling up and 2 million likes before release for non-sequel is entering into the absurd (in a good way!), even if it does have a character as popular as Dracula as its main protagonist.

Another horror entry came in at number two on the weekend and really has been making waves - Annabelle. It rose 159,219 likes over the past week to 1.44 million overall. The film is a spin-off/prequel from The Conjuring, but unlike most other horror sequels it hasn't reused the Facebook page of the original, rather it started from scratch. For instance The Purge 2 managed to get to 2 million likes before its release, but it reused the same Facebook page as the original which gave it a huge boost. I expect big things in October from both this and Dracula Untold, especially since the horror genre has been so underwhelming on the year as a whole. Openings north of $30 million for both could be a very real possibility.

Left Behind has also been tearing up Facebook in recent weeks and it was the third film to see a 100k+ like increase on the week, bringing its total to 1.27 million likes. Based on the popular novels, the film is a reboot of the film franchise starring Nicolas Cage and as such it has been getting a lot of attention from both its Christian core demographic as well as others who are perhaps unfamiliar with the source material but drawn by Cage. By comparison, Heaven Is For Real had ~800k likes around this time before its release. The Facebook crew behind the film have done a great job at engaging their audience and it would appear as though the year will have at least one more Christian breakout film.

Ouija also had a solid increase on the week of 70k likes, and while its overall number of 661,126 might be a long ways off of the two aforementioned horrors it still is a very solid number that demands attention, especially since it is the only original Horror in the month.

Finally, Beyond The Lights had the biggest percentage increase on the week of a shade over 50%, rising from 115k likes to 176k likes over the 7 day stretch. This could be a nice sleeper hit in November as this increase hints at. Twitter has also been bullish surrounding new items and media releases, all of which points to a surprise come opening weekend.

Facebook Top 15 Movies by Like Increase for the Week Ending Sunday September 28th

Rank Release Movie Likes Previous Change % Change
1 10/10/14 Dracula Untold 2,382,997 2,210,195 172,802 7.82%
2 10/03/14 Annabelle 1,441,989 1,282,770 159,219 12.41%
3 10/03/14 Left Behind (2014) 1,269,526 1,149,456 120,070 10.45%
4 06/26/15 Ted 2 20,212,524 20,136,756 75,768 0.38%
5 11/21/14 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 20,272,616 20,199,573 73,043 0.36%
6 10/24/14 Ouija 661,126 591,870 69,256 11.70%
7 11/14/14 Dumb and Dumber To 3,503,659 3,436,868 66,791 1.94%
8 11/14/14 Beyond the Lights 176,125 115,238 60,887 52.84%
9 04/03/15 Fast & Furious 7 51,379,085 51,331,764 47,321 0.09%
10 11/07/14 Interstellar 165,249 129,028 36,221 28.07%
11 05/01/15 Avengers: Age of Ultron 12,045,083 12,009,029 36,054 0.30%
12 03/25/16 Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice 3,414,380 3,380,022 34,358 1.02%
13 10/17/14 The Best of Me 375,358 347,446 27,912 8.03%
14 11/26/14 Penguins of Madagascar 3,038,887 3,012,823 26,064 0.87%
15 10/10/14 The Judge 205,010 179,295 25,715 14.34%

Please check the methodology page for information about our Twitter project or here for historic data.

GLOBAL: 'The Maze Runner' Leads Overseas Box Office with $27.5M from 62 Markets on September 28, 2014

mazerunner3.jpgThe Maze Runner caught $27.5 million from 62 markets. The film has grossed a total of $91 million outside of North America and $149 million worldwide.

Lucy collected $11.1 million overseas this weekend, bringing its haul outside of North America up to $269.1 million. The film has grossed a total of $394.6 milion globally.

The Boxtrolls posted a $5.1 million performance from 16 territories, bringing its overseas cume up to $17.7 million. The animated film has grossed $34.9 million worldwide.

Guardians of the Galaxy took in $4 million from 33 territories, crossing the global lifetime cume of Thor: The Dark World with a $644.2 million global haul and a $325.1 million overseas cume. Top markets for the film include the UK ($46.3M), Russia ($37.4M), and Australia ($23.5M).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collected $3.9 million from 40 territories. The film has grossed a total of $154.9 million oversesas and $342 million worldwide.

Into the Storm grossed $3.4 million over the weekend from 31 markets. The film has grossed a total of $105.6 million overseas and $152.1 million worldwide.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes finished the weekend a step away from the $500 million mark overseas after adding $3.3 million from 11 markets. The film finished its latest frame with an overseas cume of $488.2 million. Apes has grossed $695.7 million worldwide.

Hercules carried another $2.6 million from 22 territories. The film has grossed a total of $151 million overseas and $223.3 million globally.

If I Stay grossed $1.9 million from 44 territories, taking its overseas cume up to $23.2 million. The film has grossed $72.3 million worldwide.

As Above, So Below grossed $1.7 million from 42 territories, reaching a $15 million overseas cume. The film has grossed a total of $36 million globally.

Let's be Cops added $1 million from 21 markets. The comedy has grossed a total of $26.8 million overseas and $106.4 million worldwide.

NORTH AMERICA: Studio Estimates: 'The Equalizer' Impresses with $35.0M Start; 'The Maze Runner' Holds Up Well with $17.5M; 'The Boxtrolls' Debuts in Third with Solid $17.25M on September 27, 2014

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Sunday Update
By Daniel Garris

Sony's The Equalizer debuted in first place this weekend with a strong estimated start of $35.0 million. The action thriller starring Denzel Washington debuted on the higher end of pre-release expectations, which were lofty, especially for the month of September. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, The Equalizer delivered the fourth largest opening weekend ever for the month of September (behind only 2012's Hotel Transylvania, 2013's Insidious Chapter 2 and 2002's Sweet Home Alabama). The film's debut represented the third largest opening weekend performance ever for Washington (behind only 2007's American Gangster and 2012's Safe House). The Equalizer opened 7 percent stronger than the $32.79 million start of 2010's The Book of Eli and 13 percent below the $40.17 million start of Safe House.

The Equalizer opened with $12.6 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.5 million from Thursday night shows), increased 8 percent on Saturday to gross $13.6 million and is estimated to decline 35 percent on Sunday to take in $8.8 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.78 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewed slightly towards male moviegoers (52 percent) and towards moviegoers 30 years and older (65 percent). The Equalizer received an A- rating on CinemaScore, which is an encouraging sign for the film going forward.

The Maze Runner placed in second with an estimated $17.5 million. The young adult adaptation from Fox held up relatively well this weekend, as it was down 46 percent from last weekend's strong start. The Maze Runner has grossed $58.02 million in ten days and continues to display strong early holding power for a young adult adaptation. Thanks in part to a significantly stronger second weekend hold, The Maze Runner is now running 32 percent ahead of the $44.01 million ten-day take of last year's Ender's Game and is already on the verge of reaching the $61.74 million final domestic gross of Ender's Game.

The Boxtrolls was off to a very solid third place start this weekend with an estimated $17.25 million. The latest 3D stop motion animated film from Focus and Laika debuted a bit above pre-release expectations. Compared to previous films from Focus and Laika, The Boxtrolls opened 22 percent ahead of the $14.09 million start of 2012's ParaNorman and a slim 2 percent ahead of the $16.85 million start of 2009's Coraline. ParaNorman and Coraline both displayed terrific holding power and going forward The Boxtrolls will hope to accomplish the same.

The Boxtrolls opened with $4.93 million on Friday, increased a strong 51 percent on Saturday to gross $7.47 million and is estimated to decline 35 percent on Sunday to gross $4.85 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 3.50 to 1. The audience breakdown for the film skewered towards female moviegoers (57 percent). The Boxtrolls received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore.

Warner's This Is Where I Leave You placed in fourth with an estimated $7.01 million. The modestly budgeted comedy starring Jason Bateman and Tina Fey held up well this weekend, as it was down 39 percent from last weekend's so-so start. This Is Where I Leave You has grossed $22.56 million in ten days. That places the film 13 percent behind the $25.94 million ten-day start of 2011's The Change-Up (which fell 53 percent in its second weekend to gross $6.31 million).

Fellow Warner Bros. release Dolphin Tale 2 rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $4.84 million. The family film sequel was down 45 percent from last weekend, as the film appears to have taken a bit of a hit from The Boxtrolls arriving in the marketplace. Dolphin Tale 2 has grossed $33.67 million in 17 days. The film is currently running 31 percent behind the $49.04 million 17-day take of 2011's Dolphin Tale and is displaying significantly softer holding power.

No Good Deed followed in sixth with an estimated $4.6 million. Sony's low-budget thriller starring Idris Elba and Taraji P. Henson was down 53 percent. No Good Deed continues to be very front-loaded, but has still grossed a healthy $46.62 million in 17 days.

Universal's A Walk Among the Tombstones was down five spots and a massive 67 percent from last weekend with an estimated seventh place take of $4.23 million. Lackluster word of mouth and the new direct competition from The Equalizer both had a negative effect on the Liam Neeson led action thriller this weekend. A Walk Among the Tombstones is running a bit below expectations with a ten-day start of $20.87 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy was down just 28 percent to place in eighth with an estimated $3.79 million. In the process, the blockbuster sci-fi superhero film from Disney and Marvel surpassed the $318.41 million final unadjusted gross of 2008's Iron Man. Guardians of the Galaxy has grossed a massive $319.19 million through 59 days of release.

Saturday Update
By Shawn Robbins

Sony reports that The Equalizer bagged a strong $12.6 million first day, including Thursday's $1.5 million opening night grosses. That tops the $9.94 million bow of Denzel Washington's previous actioner, last year's 2 Guns ($9.94 million), as well as director Antoine Fuqua's Olympus Has Fallen ($10.06 million). Positive buzz throughout the industry had been building for the film months in advance, leading to Sony's pre-release greenlighting of a sequel. Early word of mouth is very positive with an 81 percent Flixster score, significantly stronger than the film's 58 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating from critics. BoxOffice projects a $38 million opening weekend, while all signs point to a leggy run for the crowd-pleasing thriller.

Focus Features reports that Laika's The Boxtrolls took in $4.9 million on Friday, a great start for the stop-motion-CG hybrid animation in a market that needed another family offering. Laika was previously responsible for the well-received flicks Coraline and ParaNorman, which earned $4.5 million and $4.6 million opening days in 2009 and 2012, respectively. As an additional comparison, Tim Burton's Frankenweenie pulled a $3.3 million opening day two Octobers ago. Critics have awarded the film a positive 71 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, while early audience reception is similarly encouraging with a 76 percent Flixster score. BoxOffice projects a $16.8 million opening frame.

Fox reports that The Maze Runner eased 54 percent from opening day last week to $5.2 million on Friday. Through 8 days of release, the hit young adult adaptation has earned $45.7 million domestically--25 percent ahead of the pace of Ender's Game. BoxOffice projects a healthy $18 million sophomore frame.

A Walk Among the Tombstones was off 73 percent from its first Friday to $1.3 million yesterday. The noirish Liam Neeson thriller was certainly hit by new competition from The Equalizer. With $17.9 million in the bank after 8 days, the film is unfortunately pacing 37 percent behind The Grey. BoxOffice projects a $4.2 million second weekend.

Warner Bros.' This Is Where I Leave You took in $2.2 million to start its second weekend, down 43 percent from its first Friday. The dramedy's total now stands at $17.75 million, 4 percent behind the pace of Trouble with the Curve. BoxOffice projects a $7 million sophomore weekend.

Meanwhile, Guardians of the Galaxy continues its march toward becoming the highest grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe release not named The Avengers or Iron Man 3. The year's biggest blockbuster so far added $1.02 million on Friday, bringing its total domestic earnings to $316.4 million. Guardians continues to run 3 percent ahead of the pace of Iron Man, whose $318.4 million final gross will be surpassed sometime late Saturday or early Sunday. BoxOffice projects a $3.9 million weekend.

Check back tomorrow for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Afternoon Report: Sources tell BoxOffice that The Equalizer is headed for a debut over $35 million. Sony's confidence in the film is now justified. If word of mouth is strong enough, the action flick could end up reaching $40 million. 

The Boxtrolls looks to be on pace for a modest $15 million. 

Friday Morning Update: Sources report that The Equalizer got off to a very healthy start Thursday night, generating $1.5 million from 7pm shows onward.

By comparison, fellow Denzel Washington pic 2 Guns pulled a $1.28 million Thursday as part of its $27.1 million opening weekend in August of last year. Based on last night's performance, solid early buzz for the film, and strong pre-sales on Fandango, The Equalizer is well-positioned to open north of $30 million.

Unfortunately, Thursday night grosses for The Boxtrolls weren't yet available at the time of publishing.

Check back later today for a preliminary Friday report.


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