‘Equalizer 3’ Heading To Second Best Opening Ever At Labor Day Box Office With $42M+ – Deadline

Saturday AM: Refresh for chart and more analysis Sony/Escape Artists’ The Equalizer 3 is heading to an amazing $42M-$43.5M in four days, easily the second-best opening of Labor Day weekend ever after 2021’s Shang-Chi which did $94.6M. 3-day is $35.5M-$36.5M, which on the high-end would not only be a franchise debut best, but also the best domestic opening for filmmaker Antoine Fuqua, inching out the $36M opening of Equalizer 2. Friday was $13.1M, including Thursday previews, which is jacking up forecasts for the weekend.

The other thing to applaud with this threequel is that quite often these guy-with-a-gun-movies become watered down at the box office, read Gerard Butler and Liam Neeson fare, with distributors getting by on low P&As. Sony and Escape Artists have finely developed this Denzel Washington series with great care and kept the powder dry; and the ticket sales are showing that. The series is Washington’s only film franchise on his resume. It’s not about shoot ’em ups in an Equalizer movie, rather the intensity of the character Robert McCall, who the Oscar winner adores playing.

In regards to getting the box office to this level sans actors promotions during the SAG-AFTRA strike, is a glass half full. On one hand it’s an excellent start with the movie opening right in the wheelhouse of other Equalizer films on a 3-day basis. We always knew sequels and genre titles would be able to open at the box office during a SAG-AFTRA strike. But on the other hand, one wonders how much bigger the box office would be here for Equalizer 3 if a strike wasn’t in effect.

The threequel gets its second A after Equalizer 2 (first movie got an A-) with Comscore/Screen Engine PostTrak exits seeing a 90% positive and a 72% recommend. Mostly guys showed up at 55%, which is no surprise, while the 18-34 year olds repped 31%. However, older moviegoers are definitely out of the house to watch this movie with 49% over 45 and the largest demo being 55+ at 26%. Diversity demos were 33% Caucasian, 31% Black, 20% Latino and Hispanic and 15% Asian/other. PLF and Imax are pulling in 38% of the weekend ticket sales so far. As of EOD Friday, the AMC Southlake Pavillion in Atlanta is Equalizer 3‘s top grossing venue with north of $41K.

Bottoms: L-R Ayo Edebiri, Rachel Sennott, Zamani Wilder, Summer Joy Campbell, Havana Rose Liu, Kaia Gerber, Virginia Tucker

United Artists Releasing / Courtesy Everett Collection

MGM’s expansion of Bottoms from ten locations to 715 should not be ignored. This teen LGBTQ+ high school comedy, though on track for a $3.1M 3-day and $3.7M 4-day, is poised to potentially do more after a $1.2M Friday. Great numbers in NYC, LA, San Francisco, DC, Chicago, Austin and Dallas.

Newcomer Kushi (in Telugu) is showing strong numbers in Austin, Dallas, DC, Seattle, NYC, San Francisco and Atlanta for an estimated $1.4M 4-day weekend at 336 locations in 109 markets. Yesterday was $363K. 3-day looks like $1.16M.

The 4-day box office for all movies looks to land around $115.8M, which is up 63% over last year’s Labor Day weekend when there wasn’t any product, but off -17% from 2021 when Shang-Chi began bringing moviegoers back.


Friday afternoon: Sony/Escape Artists’ The Equalizer 3 is doing what it’s supposed to be doing this weekend with an eye at $11.5M today, for a low-$30Ms 3-day and high-$30Ms 4-day.

The pic, which cost a reported $70M with co-financing for TSG and Eagle Pictures, is booked at 3,965 theaters.

Warner Bros would be delighted to know that Sony including is recently found ticket money from the pandemic romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Gallery in Equalizer 3‘s first Friday, but that is absolutely not the case. The Denzel Washington threequel’s first Friday only includes $3.8M from Thursday early shows last night. That’s just slightly more than what the extensive advance sneaks (less Thursday) did for Gran Turismo, which won’t be in second place for the Culver City lot but rather fourth with a second weekend take of $6.5M, -63%, and four-day of $8M. That gets the Neill Blomkamp-directed take on the Sony PlayStation movie to $30.2M by Monday.

Like several pics as of late, there’s been no publicity from Equalizer 3 actors due to the SAG-AFTRA strike, so the fact that it can open in the neighborhood of the previous movie is testament to Sony’s marketing. The last time Antoine Fuqua, Washington and Dakota Fanning were together was at CinemaCon back in April. Producers Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Fuqua have been talking up the movie to press as of late.

More testament to Sony marketing: RelishMix says that Equalizer 3’s social media universe at 233.7M across Facebook, X, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok is 9% higher than other action-thriller norms with trailer reposting rate at a high 38:1. “Current stats are over 2x from the 2018 installment,” RelishMix said. “Overall intensity is good by comparison but softened by the absence of cast in the promo cycle and on social.”

RelishMix adds, “Convo on Equalizer 3 runs predominantly positive as the gravitational pull of Denzel Washington is keeping a large faction of die-hard fans enthralled as audiences express their adoration and his partnership with Dakota Fanning — comping and challenging John Wick vs The Equalizer.”

Warner Bros. Barbie is taking second place with $9.1M in weekend 7, -40%, over three days and $12M over four days for a running total of $610.8M at 3,586 locations.

Blue Beetle at 3,316 locations in Weekend 3 is eyeing $6.4M, -47%, over three days and $8.3M over four for a running total of $57.6M.

Universal’s Oppenheimer is booked at 2,537 theaters for what’s a seventh weekend of $4.9M in 5th place, -40%, four-day $6.4M and a running total of $309.4M.

Friday AM Update: Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer 3 will not let this summer go out quietly in what’s expected to be a $30M-$40M 4-day opening weekend; poised to be the second-best ever for the holiday after Shang-Chi ($94.6M). Last night from showtimes that began at 3PM, the Sony threequel clocked $3.8M at 3,241 locations.

While 76% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, Equalizer 3 is 92% with audiences currently. Sony has extra bullets at the box office with Imax and PLFs this weekend for Equalizer 3.

Last night’s previews best those of Equalizer 2 which took in $3.1M at 2,934 theaters from Thursday showtimes that began at 4PM. That repped 23% of the pic’s $13.3M Friday in what was a No. 1 $36M over the July 20-22, 2018 frame, besting Universal’s opening for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again which made $34.9M.

The first Equalizer, released on Sept. 26, 2014, did $1.45M in previews, a $12.4M Friday and a $34.1M opening. That movie ended its stateside run at $101.5M, while Equalizer 2 did $102M. The Equalizer franchise from Escape Artists has minted $382.7M worldwide.

Equalizer 2‘s opening repped Denzel Washington’s third biggest start at the domestic B.O. after American Gangster ($44M) and Safe House ($40M).

Sony’s Gran Turismo wins the week with $22.1M, again boosted by nine days of advance preview figures. The pic at 3,856 theaters made $772K yesterday, -29% from Wednesday.

Warner Bros.’ Barbie won Thursday with $1.3M at 3,736, -13% from Wednesday, for a sixth week of $21.1M and a running total of $598.8M. The pic will click past $600M today in its 43rd day of release.

Universal’s Oppenheimer at 2,872 posted a sixth Thursday of $824K, -14%, for a running total of $303M. Pic’s sixth week is $12M.

Warner Bros/DC’s Blue Beetle booked at 3,871 theaters took in a second Thursday of $685K in fourth place for the day, -13% from Wednesday, for a $15.7M second week, and running total of $49.3M, which is 1% ahead of Shazam: Fury of the Gods at the same point in time.

Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem at 3,145 theaters saw a fourth Thursday of $501K, -19%, a $9.6M week, and running total of $101.7M.

Shiva Nirvana’s Kushi about a young man, raised in an atheist household, who falls in love with the daughter of his father’s arch-rival, a devout Hindu leader, started shows last night grossing $475K.

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