'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 Tue, Apr. 9 2013

Wide (1000+)

#TitleTue, Apr. 9 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Evil Dead$1,854,3069%3,025--$613$29,334,1401Sony / TriStar
2G.I. Joe: Retaliation$1,584,99128%3,73415$424$89,259,3592Paramount
3Jurassic Park 3D$1,316,22522%2,771--$475$21,017,0601Universal
4The Croods$1,137,62117%3,879-186$293$127,458,6293Fox / DreamWorks Animation
5Olympus Has Fallen$978,82332%3,059-47$320$72,955,7653FilmDistrict
6Tyler Perry's Temptation$712,2549%2,0470$348$39,835,8942Lionsgate
7Oz: The Great and Powerful$539,87322%2,905-419$186$213,590,4105Disney
8The Host (2013)$428,01234%3,2020$134$20,371,7522Open Road
9The Call$345,47840%2,002-437$173$46,073,6234Sony / TriStar
11Spring Breakers$165,51838%1,072-307$154$12,902,5374A24

Limited (100 — 999)

#TitleTue, Apr. 9 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1Identity Thief$68,85519%721-361$95$131,358,8709Universal
2Silver Linings Playbook$55,39832%524-228$106$129,822,50721Weinstein Company
3Jack the Giant Slayer$50,07841%502-578$100$62,555,3046Warner Bros. / New Line
4The Incredible Burt Wonderstone$49,53532%535-1040$93$21,894,5634Warner Bros. / New Line
5Quartet$42,93437%252-50$170$17,274,77213Weinstein Company
6Life of Pi$37,82540%269-71$141$123,985,37820Fox
7Safe Haven$30,41049%360-190$84$70,378,7188Relativity Media
821 And Over$23,87953%180-164$133$25,318,7256Relativity Media
9Warm Bodies$23,7137%287125$83$65,629,85310Lionsgate / Summit
10Snitch (2013)$21,03130%304-442$69$41,821,5687Lionsgate / Summit
11Escape From Planet Earth$18,58933%432-545$43$54,473,0308Weinstein Company
12Django Unchained$17,91452%183-50$98$162,578,84715Weinstein Company
13A Good Day to Die Hard$17,59540%22516$78$66,825,7818Fox
14Emperor$16,52237%120-18$138$3,138,4325Roadside Attractions
15Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters$12,33114%180-22$69$55,462,70111Paramount
16Argo$9,07733%172-88$53$135,913,70226Warner Bros.
17Dead Man Down$7,18530%14671$49$10,841,4085FilmDistrict
18Parental Guidance$5,70827%110-30$52$77,055,64715Fox

Platform (1 — 99)

#TitleTue, Apr. 9 2013LocationsAvg.TotalWks.Dist.
1The Place Beyond the Pines$74,84319%3026$2,495$1,227,3782Focus
2The Sapphires$25,29726%6048$422$489,3263Weinstein Company
3To the Arctic 3D$13,255158%520$255$12,045,32451Warner Bros. / IMAX
4Girl Rising$10,340-48%489$215$619,8335Gathr Films
5Trance$10,236-9%4--$2,559$152,6591Fox Searchlight
6Side Effects (2013)$9,85546%80-22$123$31,408,0889Open Road
7From Up on Poppy Hill$9,8047%4116$239$491,4814GKIDS
8Stoker$9,10846%89-105$102$1,643,7356Fox Searchlight
9The Impossible$7,56321%80-6$95$18,920,88116Lionsgate / Summit
10Starbuck$5,1889%3114$167$3,615,5723eOne Films US
11Free Angela and All Political Prisoners$4,366-37%16--$273$80,5671CodeBlack Films
12Settai$3,53157%33--$107$58,1721UTV Motion Pictures
13Rise of The Guardians$3,30813%89-45$37$103,406,92020Paramount / DreamWorks
14The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey$3,0474%77-68$40$302,938,60417Warner Bros. / New Line
15Born to Be Wild 3D$2,86133%300$95$22,430,541105Warner Bros. / IMAX
16Himmatwala$2,82781%61-38$46$266,9552UTV Motion Pictures
17Beautiful Creatures (2013)$1,9289%55-60$35$19,448,9178Warner Bros.
18Camp (2013)$1,639-5%82$205$131,9257Freestyle Releasing
19Dark Skies$1,138-3%28-73$41$17,180,4767Weinstein / Dimension
20Bless Me, Ultima$1,0711%6-5$179$1,561,6887Arenas Entertainment
21The Playroom$58147%12--$48$4,8761Freestyle Releasing
22Down the Shore$386-9%2--$193$5,6161Anchor Bay Films
23Kai Po Che$10815%2-3$54$1,120,0787UTV Motion Pictures