B.O. Roundup, September 26-28: Denzel Washington Equalizes the Box Office

Sunday, 28 September 2014 11:45 Written by  iamrogue
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B.O. Roundup, September 26-28: Denzel Washington Equalizes the Box Office

Not too many actors, even straight-up stars, can be relied upon to create big opening weekends, especially if they're not doing lots of CGI derring-do.

Denzel Washington is the rare thespian who pretty ensures a solid debut, even though the majority of his films are R-rated. 

His latest, The Equalizer, is especially R-rated and hard-as-nails, but his reunion with Training Day director opened huge in North America this weekend.

The Equalizer sits atop the box office heap, having debuted in 3,236 theaters and earned a whopping $35.0 million, according to current estimates.

The film, a theatrical reboot of the eighties CBS series starring Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, marks Washington's tenth-consecutive wide release to open with over $20 million, a rare feat indeed.  This is his biggest opening weekend since Safe House, which also boasted the two-time Oscar winner in badass mode, opened to the tune of over $40 million back in 2012.

It's the biggest debut in director Antoine Fuqua's career, zipping right past the $30.3 million posted by Olympus Has Fallen last year.  Check out IAR's exclusive interview with Fuqua for more on The Equalizer, his Magnificent Seven remake with Washington, and the Equalizer sequel.

Yeah, that's right.  The Equalizer 2.  Part of what makes Washington's consistent box office power remarkable is that he's maintained it without a big action franchise (Robert Downey Jr., in comparison, has both his Marvel adventures and the Sherlock Holmes pictures).  For quite some time, now, though, Sony Pictures has been hoping The Equalizer will be the first time Washington goes in for a sequel, and based on this start, another installment is looking likely.

With grown-ups going to see a star going medieval on the Russian mafia, the younger folks helped last week's top movie, the YA actioner The Maze Runner, stay pretty strong in second place, declining 46% from its debut and hauling in another $17.5 million for a $58 million ten-day total.

Families, meanwhile, powered an altogether odder film to a third place opening this weekend.  The Boxtrolls, a stop-motion bit of whimsy and fun from Laika – the expert animators responsible for Coraline and ParaNorman – opened with an estimated $17.2 million from 3,464 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

That's the biggest opening on the books for Laika.  It's also an unusually robust showing for a stop-motion animated film.  A lack of serious competition for family tickets until Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day opens in two weeks ought to allow The Boxtrolls to stay strong. 

Give IAR's video interview with co-directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable when you have a moment, because stop-motion is fascinating.  And check out our exclusive interviews with Boxtrolls voice actors Ben Kingsley and Elle Fanning while you're at it.

1. The Equalizer............................................................$35.0 million...............New Release

2. The Maze Runner......................................................$17.5 million...............$58.0 million

3. The Boxtrolls.............................................................$17.2 million...............New Release

4. This Is Where I Leave You........................................$7.0 million.................$22.5 million

5. Dolphin Tale 2............................................................$4.8 million.................$33.6 million

6. No Good Deed............................................................$4.6 million.................$46.6 million

7. A Walk Among the Tombstones...............................$4.2 million.................$20.8 million

8. Guardians of the Galaxy...........................................$3.7 million.................$319.1 million

9. Let's Be Cops.............................................................$1.5 million.................$79.6 million

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles..................................$1.4 million.................$187.1 million

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy dropped to eighth place this weekend, but with a domestic haul of $319.1 million, James Gunn's smartass space opera is now the highest-grossing domestic release in Marvel's stable, behind The Avengers and Iron Man 3.  Not bad for a movie starring Andy Dwyer and a talking raccoon.

Anywho, the Friday right around the corner finds some serious box office competition joining the fray.

David Fincher's Gone Girl brings Gillian Flynn's bestseller to the screen with Ben Affleck, while The Conjuring gets a creepy doll prequel thanks to Annabelle, and Nicolas Cage faces the Rapture in Left Behind.  Yes, Nicolas Cage versus the Rapture.


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