Grosses

'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, Jan. 25 2012

Wide (1000+)

#TitleWed, Jan. 25 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Underworld Awakening$1,539,354-28%3,078--$500$31,087,6351Sony / Screen Gems
2Red Tails$972,227-25%2,512--$387$22,387,8901Fox
3Contraband$875,350-24%2,8707$305$48,979,7252Universal
4Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close$768,174-23%2,6302624$292$13,193,8775Warner Bros.
5Haywire$629,455-28%2,439--$258$10,662,1061Relativity Media
6Beauty and the Beast 3D$485,868-20%2,6250$185$35,279,5232Disney
7The Iron Lady$429,206-15%1,076274$399$13,890,4794Weinstein Company
8Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol$395,423-17%2,519-827$157$198,670,0656Paramount
9Joyful Noise$384,281-26%2,7350$141$23,056,2912Warner Bros.
10The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)$349,882-12%1,907-767$183$95,631,2915Sony / Columbia
11Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows$331,410-13%2,485-670$133$179,380,4466Warner Bros.
12War Horse$325,038-14%2,525-331$129$73,268,3885Disney / DreamWorks
13The Devil Inside$176,370-14%2,207-344$80$51,865,3603Paramount
14We Bought a Zoo$149,381-14%2,065-844$72$70,077,1045Fox
15The Adventures of Tintin$123,900-28%1,340-733$92$72,786,5655Paramount
16Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked$121,212-10%2,070-779$59$125,132,6626Fox

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleWed, Jan. 25 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Artist$355,2212%662446$537$13,068,2359Weinstein Company
2The Descendants$271,058-6%560-100$484$52,011,75610Fox Searchlight
3Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy$180,987-14%731-155$248$18,876,0927Focus
4Hugo$157,26416%650105$242$56,258,7279Paramount
5My Week with Marilyn$51,262-2%225-175$228$12,203,0599Weinstein Company
6The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1$27,2932%370-338$74$280,342,55410Lionsgate / Summit
7Happy Feet Two$22,445-14%331-34$68$62,672,74510Warner Bros.
8Puss in Boots (2011)$19,301-10%292-24$66$147,785,42213Paramount / DreamWorks
9Young Adult$16,85714%150-237$112$16,120,3517Paramount
10Tower Heist$14,285-7%220-40$65$77,864,17012Universal
11The Sitter$14,033-1%191-258$73$30,063,6647Fox
12The Darkest Hour$13,334-3%301-881$44$21,115,0885Summit
13Immortals$12,716-15%169-18$75$83,312,71611Relativity Media
14New Year's Eve$10,162-14%265-827$38$54,216,9377Warner Bros. / New Line

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleWed, Jan. 25 2012LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Shame$30,848-14%9554$325$3,080,4568Fox Searchlight
2Born to Be Wild 3D$15,41311%450$343$15,707,38842Warner Bros. / IMAX
3Coriolanus$7,304-15%9--$812$84,5821Weinstein Company
4Pariah (2011)$6,942-2%21-3$331$518,3594Focus
5In Time$5,3113%97-9$55$37,470,21813Fox
6Drive (2011)$3,66210%331$111$35,020,53419FilmDistrict
7J. Edgar$3,351-29%46-36$73$37,048,62011Warner Bros.
8In the Land of Blood and Honey$3,04410%14-4$217$206,9355FilmDistrict
9Vettai$1,425-74%21-13$68$157,4322UTV Communications
10Margin Call$1,371156%14-6$98$5,349,71714Roadside Attractions
11Dolphin Tale$1,330-24%63-28$21$72,284,97818Warner Bros.