September 27, 2014

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: “The Equalizer” Takes Care of Business


This weekend, Denzel Washington is proving himself yet again one of the last truly reliable movie stars.  Just a week after Liam Neeson flopped with A Walk Among the Tombstones, preliminary numbers at Deadline have THE EQUALIZER (Columbia/Sony) at $12.5-13M on Friday (including $1.5M from Thursday night)–roughly the same amount ($12.7M) Tombstones made in its entire opening weekend.  Washington hasn’t opened an action movie to under $20M in over a decade, and Equalizer should be his biggest start since Safe House in 2012, which had a $13.6M Friday and $40.2M weekend on the way to a total of $126.4M in the US and $208.1M worldwide.  With a moderate $55M production budget, Equalizer should turn a tidy profit even with marketing costs included in the mix.

THE BOXTROLLS (Laika/Focus/Universal) had a Friday slightly under $5M, roughly the same as the $4.5-4.6M opening day for Laika’s previous stop-motion animated films, 2009’s  Coraline and 2012’s Paranorman.  They had $16.8M/14.1M opening weekends, $74.3/56M domestic totals, and earned $124.6M/107.1M worldwide.  The appeal of their films is nothing if not consistent.

Last weekend’s #1 THE MAZE RUNNER (20th) fell 55% from last Friday to $5M, a drop that should moderate over the course of the weekend to 50% to $16M, as the movie heads to around $90M in the US, good enough to justify the sequel that’s been green-lit.  THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU (Warners) declined 46% Friday-to-Friday to $2.1M, and may drop around 40% for the weekend to $7M.  A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES (Universal) was crushed by the arrival of Equalizer, down 73% from last Friday to $1.3M and perhaps $4.5M for the weekend.  NO GOOD DEED (Screen Gems/Sony) and A DOLPHIN TALE 2 (Alcon/Warners) should each have $4-5M weekends.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (Marvel/Disney) is still hanging in the Top 10, with $1M on Friday and a likely $3.5-4M weekend that will bring its US total close to $320M.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."