Weekend Box Office: Denzel Out-Neesons Neeson For $35 Million

The Equalizer was one of those aging-hardass-kills-bad-guys type movies that could go either way at the box office – sleeper hit or sleeper sleeper – and it ended up being the former. The Equalizer grossed an estimated $35 million domestically, splitting the difference between Taken’s $24 million opening and Taken 2‘s $49.5 million. Taking advantage of the lull before awards season hits, it’s Denzel’s best opening since Safe House ($40 million in 2012), and the third best of his career, behind American Gangster ($43m) and Safe House. If you would’ve asked me what the second biggest opening of Denzel’s career, I never would’ve said Safe House. If you had told me Safe House I would’ve punched you right in the mouth because I’m crazy like that.

The Equalizer played 52% male and 65% over 30 years old while earning $3.3 million in IMAX alone. […] Sony (Sony Entertainment Corp.) was so high on the film that they were already planning on a sequel.

Denzel has never made a sequel before or joined an ongoing franchise, so it will be interesting to see if he changes his tune when Sony pulls up to his house with a dump truck full of blow and Slovakian hookers. Not surprisingly, The Equalizer (B+ cinemascore, 59% on RottenTomatoes) sucked all the money out of Neeson’s A Walk Among The Tombstones (B+ Cinemascore, 67% on RT) which fell almost 67%  in its second weekend. By comparison, This Is Where I Leave You only fell 39%. It just goes to show, that “milquetoast pseudo-intellectual” audience is timeless.

Elsewhere, The Boxtrolls, from the little animation studio everyone loves to root for, Laika, earned a solid $17.25 million, putting it ahead of past Laika offerings Coraline ($16.8 million) and ParaNorman ($14m), while earning a B+ cinemascore and 72% on RottenTomatoes. That’s down a bit from Coraline’s 90% and ParaNorman’s (which *I* didn’t like very much, truth be told) 87%. So, uh… that’s cool, I guess.

Surprisingly, Kevin Smith’s Tusk dropped as hard as A Walk Among the Tombstones, going from $886K in its first weekend to $267K, just $617 per theater. Cumulatively, it has earned $1.4 million on an estimated $3 million budget. I have mixed feelings about this, as I want to root for Smith’s homegrown production strategy, while acknowledging that the movie itself was one of the more tedious things I’ve sat through. Though if this disappointing gross puts the kibosh on Yoga Hosers and the rest of the lazy Canada joke trilogy, I’mma have to say that’s probably a good thing.

Awards season unofficially begins this week, with the release of David Fincher’s Gone Girl. Though if movies that have a chance of being good aren’t your thing, there’s also a scary doll movie (Annabelle) and Nic Cage covering Kirk Cameron in Left Behind. I haven’t gotten a screening invite for Left Behind. Crazy, right? I can’t imagine they’d want to hide a gem like that from critics.

[via BoxOfficeMojo, Forbes]