'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.

Daily Domestic Gross Wed, Jul. 6 2011

Wide (1000+)

#TitleWed, Jul. 6 2011LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Transformers: Dark of the Moon$10,332,429-23%4,08877$2,528$204,421,2871Paramount / DreamWorks
2Cars 2$3,654,951-4%4,1150$888$130,037,5492Disney
3Bad Teacher$2,292,626-8%3,0490$752$67,503,6402Sony / Columbia
4Larry Crowne$1,353,005-9%2,973--$455$18,938,3001Universal
5Monte Carlo$1,250,324-6%2,473--$506$11,162,8971Fox
6Mr. Popper's Penguins$1,062,2835%2,861-481$371$53,800,0913Fox
7Super 8$1,019,563-8%3,088-336$330$112,196,2504Paramount
8Green Lantern$932,181-13%3,280-234$284$105,625,8103Warner Bros.
10X-Men: First Class$408,007-12%1,602-421$255$140,202,1855Fox
11Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides$324,896-3%1,473-269$221$234,836,9687Disney
12The Hangover Part II$317,049-6%1,568-457$202$249,304,7066Warner Bros.
13Kung Fu Panda 2$290,6561%1,281-1246$227$157,859,4076Paramount / DreamWorks

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleWed, Jul. 6 2011LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Tree of Life$137,5511%22813$603$8,084,6066Fox Searchlight
2Rio (2011)$96,3622%308-36$313$140,765,86712Fox
5Fast Five$52,9050%302-41$175$208,468,30510Universal
6Water for Elephants$34,3945%234-58$147$58,128,66211Fox
7Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer$34,1098%221-670$154$14,032,0014Relativity Media
8Something Borrowed$22,8198%191-40$119$38,740,8659Warner Bros.
9Tyler Perry's Madea's Big Happy Family$20,148-8%14094$144$53,077,83711Lionsgate
11The Lincoln Lawyer$12,066-5%138-51$87$57,831,52316Lionsgate

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleWed, Jul. 6 2011LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Born to Be Wild 3D$70,51820%470$1,500$8,386,55913Warner Bros. / IMAX
2Delhi Belly$51,667-12%89--$581$812,1841UTV Communications
3Hubble 3D$31,9275%330$967$26,392,47268Warner Bros. / IMAX
5A Better Life$8,3394%117$758$221,0032Summit
6Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil$8,168-3%68-46$120$10,079,85210Weinstein Company
7Source Code$6,0333%66-40$91$54,661,01914Summit
8Limitless$4,425-15%55-30$80$79,245,11916Relativity Media
9Submarine$4,4045%20-6$220$356,1915Weinstein Company
11Jane Eyre (2011)$2,999-13%26-25$115$11,219,60317Focus
12Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules$2,9688%31-27$96$52,679,68315Fox
13Everything Must Go$2,07171%19-14$109$2,652,6258Roadside Attractions
14Win Win$1,251-38%18-14$70$10,148,96016Fox Searchlight
15The Conspirator$803-1%0----$11,505,31812Roadside Attractions
16Beautiful Boy$489-2%40$122$70,4445Anchor Bay Films
17The Art of Getting By$478-31%7-122$68$1,427,4313Fox Searchlight
1835 and Ticking$43461%21$217$80,1917Image Entertainment
19The Music Never Stopped$11756%53$23$251,18616Roadside Attractions