'The Equalizer' Impresses with $34.1M Start; 'The Maze Runner' Holds Up Well with $17.4M; 'The Boxtrolls' Debuts in Third with Very Solid $17.3MSeptember 29, 2014 01:07 PM

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.

Weekend Actuals (Domestic) Fri, Sep. 10 - Sun, Sep. 12

Wide (1000+)

1Resident Evil: Afterlife$26,650,264--3,203--$8,320$26,650,2641Sony / Screen Gems
2Takers$5,675,611-48%2,191-15$2,590$47,680,7833Sony / Screen Gems
3The American$5,674,240-57%2,83310$2,003$28,111,3582Focus
5Going the Distance (2010)$3,788,222-45%3,0300$1,250$13,952,3222Warner Bros. / New Line
6The Other Guys$3,347,995-37%2,246-361$1,491$112,442,4086Sony / Columbia
7The Last Exorcism$3,322,853-55%2,731-143$1,217$38,062,3223Lionsgate
8The Expendables$3,223,651-51%3,058-340$1,054$98,466,2645Lionsgate
9Eat Pray Love$2,928,256-39%2,339-324$1,252$74,660,9645Sony / Columbia
10Inception$2,802,390-39%1,583-121$1,770$282,211,9789Warner Bros.
11Nanny McPhee Returns$2,080,315-41%2,364-344$880$26,281,0454Universal
12The Switch (2010)$2,001,103-36%1,595-290$1,255$25,005,8324Miramax
13Despicable Me$1,657,100-44%1,375-225$1,205$243,531,97010Universal
14Vampires Suck$1,480,909-54%1,670-764$887$35,082,8534Fox
15The Twilight Saga: Eclipse$743,46571%1,187791$626$299,633,86411Summit

Limited (100 — 999)

1Lottery Ticket$1,206,043-44%905-405$1,333$22,613,6694Warner Bros.
2Get Low$864,834-28%529-31$1,635$6,912,9377Sony Pictures Classics
3Scott Pilgrim vs. the World$820,140-47%619-188$1,325$30,438,3155Universal
4Toy Story 3$761,996-61%712-808$1,070$409,976,03713Disney
6Piranha 3D$700,750-71%825-964$849$24,337,1684Weinstein Company
7Salt$630,059-50%484-221$1,302$116,451,6218Sony / Columbia
8Flipped$481,438846%442414$1,089$1,264,5156Warner Bros.
9Dinner for Schmucks$480,239-53%536-268$896$71,832,7757Paramount / DreamWorks
10Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore$404,693-13%425-30$952$42,672,8877Warner Bros.
11Grown Ups$380,002-37%339-44$1,121$160,678,10512Sony / Columbia
12Step Up 3D$347,557-56%260-174$1,337$41,796,9946Disney
13Mao's Last Dancer$341,9411%1027$3,352$2,225,0574Samuel Goldwyn
14The Sorcerer's Apprentice$305,830-32%312-45$980$62,164,6119Disney
15The Kids Are All Right$261,057-34%218-21$1,198$20,241,94810Focus
16Ramona and Beezus$183,885-31%275-30$669$25,523,8398Fox
17The Girl Who Played With Fire$182,263-23%148-9$1,232$6,910,66010Music Box
18The Last Airbender$182,102-43%220-37$828$131,396,88811Paramount
19Winter's Bone$135,43515%11020$1,231$5,808,90114Roadside Attractions
20Legendary$126,964--177--$717$126,9641IDP/Samuel Goldwyn
21The Karate Kid (2010)$125,789-49%168-59$749$176,464,96514Sony / Columbia
22Charlie St. Cloud$106,365-31%190-30$560$31,136,9507Universal

Platform (1 — 99)

2Hubble 3D$180,588-35%60-63$3,010$15,385,26326Warner Bros. / IMAX
3Cairo Time$155,692-10%6712$2,324$1,106,2256IFC
4We Are Family$115,754-61%780$1,484$526,6302UTV Communications
5Animal Kingdom$110,171-1%615$1,806$718,8735Sony Pictures Classics
6I'm Still Here$96,658--19--$5,087$96,6581Magnolia
7What If...$85,086-20%8213$1,038$439,5264Five & Two Pictures
8The Tillman Story$83,970-38%251$3,359$422,2754Weinstein Company
9I Am Love$56,129-12%40-9$1,403$4,770,29113Magnolia
10Knight and Day$54,489-60%93-49$586$76,307,71612Fox
13Fool for Love (2010)$49,313--8--$6,164$49,3131Variance Films
14Mesrine: Killer Instinct$49,228-46%29-5$1,698$413,9583Music Box
15The Romantics$45,527--2--$22,764$45,5271Four of a Kind
16Lebanon$39,45126%214$1,879$249,20648Sony Pictures Classics
17Mesrine: Public Enemy #1$39,041-48%28-3$1,394$166,4922Music Box
18The Concert$38,991-13%19-1$2,052$503,1878Weinstein Company
19Under the Sea 3D$29,550-54%15-1$1,970$24,159,66783Warner Bros. / IMAX
20Restrepo$29,542-1%374$798$1,220,90112National Geographic
21A Woman, a Gun, and a Noodle Shop$28,5014%138$2,192$70,5772Sony Pictures Classics
22La Soga$28,230224%72$4,033$193,65557-57 Releasing
23Mademoiselle Chambon$27,226986%116$2,475$342,80416Lorber
24Soul Kitchen$25,829-41%172$1,519$160,5444IFC
25Bran Nue Dae$23,527--16--$1,470$23,5271Freestyle Releasing
26The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest$23,307-39%191$1,227$457,7976National Geographic
27Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time$23,217-57%45-48$516$90,736,65116Disney
28Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky$17,57113%262$676$1,649,05814Sony Pictures Classics
29The A-Team$17,173-71%31-23$554$77,213,48914Fox
30Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould$17,034--3--$5,678$17,0341Lorber
31Cyrus$15,6355%260$601$7,399,81113Fox Searchlight
32The Extra Man$14,444-39%17-11$850$399,4147Magnolia
33Exit Through the Gift Shop$14,00923%61$2,335$3,238,65122Producers Distribution Agency
34The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)$13,790-23%284$493$10,038,09226Music Box
35Last Train Home$13,748-33%21$6,874$43,8152Zeitgeist Films
36Ahead of Time$12,790--1--$12,790$12,7901Vitagraph
37My Dog Tulip$12,64810%10$12,648$37,4862New Yorker Films
38Micmacs$11,186-5%16-6$699$1,228,32816Sony Classics
39Hideaway (2009)$11,124--4--$2,781$11,1241Strand
40Breathless (2010 re-issue)$10,792--4--$2,698$296,91616Rialto
42The Sicilian Girl$9,2481072%31$3,083$33,5606Music Box
43The Trial$8,957--1--$8,957$8,9571Whitlow Films
44Life During Wartime$8,62536%168$539$268,6398IFC
45Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child$7,353-45%5-2$1,471$206,3498Arthouse Films
47The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)$7,2314%186$402$6,359,83122Sony Pictures Classics
48A Film Unfinished$7,168-50%3-2$2,389$135,9374Oscilloscope
49Logan$7,137--1--$7,137$7,1371Real Bean
50Countdown to Zero$6,813574%61$1,136$261,4158Magnolia
51Wild Grass (Les Herbes Folles)$6,67031%2011$334$370,90612Sony Pictures Classics
52Winnebago Man$6,34136%92$705$147,02710Kino International
53Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him)?$6,078--1--$6,078$6,0781Lorber
55Lovely, Still$4,584--2--$2,292$18,0481Monterey Media
56The Disappearance of Alice Creed$4,380-51%4-2$1,095$153,9546Anchor Bay
57Solitary Man$4,349-57%9-15$483$4,347,74517Anchor Bay
58Change of Plans$4,104-56%20$2,052$44,2313IFC
59Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work$3,748-51%10-6$375$2,927,97214IFC
60Neshoba: The Price of Freedom$3,3343689%10$3,334$15,8445First Run Features
61Mother and Child$2,468153%64$411$1,103,09119Sony Pictures Classics
62Princess Kaiulani$2,35024%30$783$880,69118Roadside Attractions
63Spoken Word$2,267-11%20$1,134$30,0038Variance
64White Wedding (2009)$2,249-62%2-2$1,125$10,9082Dada Films
65Everyone Else$2,090568%21$1,045$95,91765Cinema Guild
66Please Give$2,051-3%4-9$513$4,024,53620Sony Pictures Classics
67Metropolis (1927) (2010 re-issue)$1,748-46%2-1$874$367,67619Kino International
68The Little Traitor$1,45414%10$1,454$376,27740Westchester Films
69The Milk of Sorrow$1,438-52%1-1$1,438$8,5183Olive Films
70Best Worst Movie$1,359--1--$1,359$103,19421Area23a
72Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure$1,141-20%10$1,141$23,296,284154National Geographic
73Dogtooth (Kynodontas)$1,134-60%20$567$55,89212Kino International
74Army of Crime$913-71%1-1$913$27,7414Lorber
75Circle$651--1--$651$8,0603Indican Pictures
76Le Amiche (2010 re-issue)$627--1--$627$47,35013The Film Desk
77Around a Small Mountain$608--2--$304$26,11910Cinema Guild
78Sweetgrass$135--1--$135$203,98951Cinema Guild