'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, Jul. 18 - Sun, Jul. 20

Wide (1000+)

1Dawn of The Planet of The Apes$36,254,310-50%3,9692$9,134$139,207,1542Fox
2The Purge: Anarchy$29,816,675--2,806--$10,626$29,816,6751Universal
3Planes: Fire and Rescue$17,509,407--3,826--$4,576$17,509,4071Disney
4Sex Tape$14,608,152--3,062--$4,771$14,608,1521Sony / Columbia
5Transformers: Age of Extinction$9,845,720-40%3,224-689$3,054$227,002,6084Paramount
6Tammy$7,402,208-41%3,402-63$2,176$71,050,3043Warner Bros. / New Line
722 Jump Street$4,703,353-28%2,229-582$2,110$180,512,4646Sony / Columbia
8How to Train Your Dragon 2$3,904,709-36%2,169-716$1,800$160,776,6046Fox / DreamWorks Animation
9Earth to Echo$3,267,824-40%2,450-780$1,334$31,987,1383Relativity Media
11Begin Again$2,639,584-6%1,302363$2,027$9,365,2504Weinstein Company
12America (2014)$1,677,356-30%1,030-75$1,629$11,421,0524Lionsgate
13Deliver Us from Evil (2014)$1,537,715-68%1,491-1558$1,031$29,221,4653Sony / Screen Gems
14Jersey Boys$1,201,490-52%1,003-965$1,198$44,435,2105Warner Bros.

Limited (100 — 999)

1Chef$1,110,317-12%552-149$2,011$25,922,00211Open Road
2Edge of Tomorrow$1,103,226-39%602-501$1,833$96,617,8767Warner Bros.
3Think Like a Man Too$1,070,856-55%628-603$1,705$63,935,1835Sony / Screen Gems
4Persecuted$851,391--736--$1,157$851,3911Millennium Entertainment
5The Fault in Our Stars$816,412-46%557-445$1,466$121,599,4907Fox
6X-Men: Days of Future Past$710,704-31%387-268$1,836$230,485,3669Fox
7Godzilla (2014)$515,187109%32623$1,580$199,019,97910Warner Bros.
9Rio 2$302,953-23%256-29$1,183$130,238,94115Fox
10Blended$275,771-20%285-50$968$45,212,8219Warner Bros.
11Neighbors (2014)$252,975-29%230-37$1,100$149,093,03011Universal
12The Amazing Spider-Man 2$237,749-31%218-57$1,091$202,084,84312Sony / Columbia
13Captain America: The Winter Soldier$181,371-15%191-24$950$258,591,35216Disney
14Million Dollar Arm$169,823-9%175-49$970$35,955,57210Disney
15Life Itself$128,909-9%10034$1,289$538,6553Magnolia Pictures
16Heaven is for Real$128,225-15%149-24$861$91,080,55714Sony / TriStar
17Third Person$111,217-53%154-73$722$785,3515Sony Pictures Classics
18The LEGO Movie$42,286-46%202-148$209$257,484,82724Warner Bros.

Platform (1 — 99)

1Boyhood$1,170,217202%3429$34,418$1,785,3842IFC Films
2Wish I Was Here$484,401--68--$7,124$484,4011Focus
3Obvious Child$172,584-21%96-38$1,798$2,635,4737A24
4Island of Lemurs: Madagascar$162,5827%410$3,965$4,621,71016Warner Bros. / IMAX
5Ida (2014)$125,530-15%80-8$1,569$3,341,59412Music Box Films
6The Grand Seduction$125,2473%90-2$1,392$2,936,9558eOne Films US
7Belle$111,464-19%92-15$1,212$10,449,14812Fox Searchlight
8Journey to the South Pacific$77,21830%180$4,290$3,833,35834IMAX / MacGillivray Freeman
9Hubble 3D$59,94514%141$4,282$45,188,815227Warner Bros. / IMAX
10The Grand Budapest Hotel$52,376-24%46-17$1,139$58,943,02020Fox Searchlight
11Words and Pictures$41,648-12%33-7$1,262$2,058,7289Roadside Attractions
12The Other Woman (2014)$35,874-45%60-36$598$83,821,08913Fox
13Land Ho!$34,9052%73$4,986$84,7202Sony Pictures Classics
14A Hard Day's Night (2014 re-issue)$34,499-47%29-27$1,190$515,0053Janus Films
15Le Chef$31,8523%153$2,123$219,8025Cohen Media Group
16There’s No Place Like Utopia$30,710--1--$30,710$30,7101Rocky Mountain Pictures
17I Origins$27,652--4--$6,913$27,6521Fox Searchlight
18Mood Indigo$26,511--2--$13,256$26,5111Drafthouse Films
19Yves Saint Laurent$25,572-25%11-3$2,325$210,3184Weinstein Company
20Mr. Peabody & Sherman$23,302-43%63-15$370$111,291,01020Fox / DreamWorks Animation
21A Summer's Tale (2014 re-issue)$21,87058%93$2,430$107,1955Big World Pictures
22Jerusalem 3D$19,994-2%11-3$1,818$4,724,52544National Geographic
23A Five Star Life$15,996--1--$15,996$15,9961Music Box Films
24Only Lovers Left Alive$13,675-21%11-1$1,243$1,814,14015Sony Pictures Classics
25Video Games: The Movie$12,759--25--$510$12,7591Variance Films
26Under the Sea 3D$12,43123%115$1,130$34,158,726284Warner Bros. / IMAX
27Code Black$12,136-38%70$1,734$99,1115Long Shot Factory
28Siddharth$10,942537%54$2,188$25,4834Zeitgeist Films
29Closed Curtain$9,89198%43$2,473$21,4542Variance Films
30The Rover$9,577-6%11-1$871$1,061,2076A24
31A Coffee in Berlin$9,529-38%8-2$1,191$129,6226Music Box Films
32Under the Skin (2014)$8,884-10%90$987$2,581,11216A24
34The Breakup Guru$7,573-47%3-3$2,524$201,2144China Lion Film
36Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger$6,788-29%7-2$970$67,2034Magnolia Pictures
37God's Not Dead$6,433-45%11-14$585$60,737,88218Freestyle / Pure Flix
38Fed Up$5,8720%12-8$489$1,515,79811RADiUS-TWC
39A Long Way Down$5,006251%54$1,001$7,4352Magnolia Pictures
40The Lunchbox$4,7663%6-4$794$4,193,34421Sony Pictures Classics
41Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon$3,18668%104$319$206,1197RADiUS-TWC
42The Last Sentence$3,100-48%3-3$1,033$45,4175Music Box Films
43The Double (2014)$2,952-30%4-3$738$185,74111Magnolia Pictures
44We Are the Best!$2,890-1%8-2$361$165,0648Magnolia Pictures
45The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz$2,849112%1-1$2,849$48,9114FilmBuff / Participant
4650 to 1$2,261-72%4-3$565$806,94318Ten Furlongs
47To the Arctic 3D$2,18396%31$728$14,153,532118Warner Bros. / IMAX
48Redwood Highway$2,134-16%31$711$123,31115Monterey Media
49The Empty Hours$1,96644%21$983$4,6092Strand Releasing
50Borgman$1,88926%50$378$55,3797Drafthouse Films
51Je T'aime Je T'aime (2014 re-issue)$1,513373%10$1,513$62,86523Film Desk / Bleeding Light Film
52Citizen Koch$1,403-77%3-6$468$147,4337Variance Films
53Bicycling with Molière$1,244137%21$622$58,77213Strand Releasing
54Night Moves$1,024-54%3-3$341$250,4218Cinedigm
55Jodorowsky's Dune$98960%42$247$645,34518Sony Pictures Classics
56Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return$875-28%8-2$109$8,458,99411Clarius Entertainment
57Godzilla: The Japanese Original$819--1--$819$146,41814Rialto Pictures
58As It Is in Heaven (2014)$531--1--$531$3,5262Embark Visuals
59The Hornet's Nest$318-39%1-1$318$311,04611Freestyle Releasing
60Filth$277-31%1-1$277$34,3218Magnolia / Magnet
61For No Good Reason$251-59%1-2$251$64,88413Sony Pictures Classics
62Ai Weiwei The Fake Case$228-59%31$76$44,61110International Film Circuit
63Deep Sea 3D$222-47%20$111$46,070,691438Warner Bros. / IMAX
64The Pleasures of Being Out of Step$182--1--$182$10,60710First Run Features
65Born to Be Wild 3D$18174%62$30$23,447,616172Warner Bros. / IMAX