Monday AM: Pretty straight forward end of the summer with Sony/Eagle Pictures/TSG/Escape Artist’s Equalizer 3 still on track for a $42M+ four-day opening, second best ever for the holiday after Shang-Chi ($94.6M). No melodrama like last weekend when Sony was stuffing substantial advance previews into Friday and driving Warner Bros. crazy. Boy, that was fun. However, expect other studios to emulate a practice like that again, not that it was extremely novel.
Sony will have another Labor Day opening ranking record for the books next year when they finally debut their Venom-verse title, Kraven the Hunter, which was originally scheduled to debut this year during the first weekend of October.
While there will be business today for movies, it will fall off by around -30% from Sunday’s take for most movies. Sunday was pretty good with most movies seeing single digit percent spikes over Saturday or even results.
There seems to be a little fight for seventh place with MGM’s Bottoms and Warner Bros.’ The Meg 2, both claiming $3.65M.
Despite the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, and actors unable to promote, look for this box office rally to continue into next weekend with The Nun 2 which is eyeing a $30M-plus opening. Warner Bros. typically has had a big horror film in the post Labor Day space the last being 2019’s It Chapter Two which debuted to $91M. They had James Wan’s Malignant in 2021, but the pic got lost at the box office as it was day-and-date in theaters and on HBO Max, opening to a paltry $5.4M and ending its run at $13.3M. Previews for Nun 2 start at 4PM on Thursday. 2018’s The Nun at $53.8M clocked the fourth highest domestic B.O. opening for September, but the best ever in New Line’s The Conjuring universe. The first Nun back in 2018 pulled in 49% women per CinemaScore, and the Hispanic and Latino demo posted some of the best draws in the history of The Conjuring franchise at 35% turnout versus Conjuring‘s 17%, the sequel’s 28%, Annabelle’s 22% and its sequel’s 26%.
Michael Chaves, who helmed The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and The Curse of La Llorona, takes over the sequel from Corin Hardy, who directed the first. Tessa Farmiga returns as Sister Irene, with Storm Reid joining as a young nun, as they square off with the demon mother superior. Also back is Jonas Bloquet as Maurice, who left The Nun with a hex on his neck.
1.) Equalizer 3 (Sony) Fri $13.1M Sat $11.1M Sun $10.5M Mon $7.65M 3-day $34.6M, 4-day $42.25M/Wk 1
2.) Barbie (WB) 3,586 (-150) theaters, Fri $2.5M (-38 %) Sat $3.8M Sun $3.9M Mon $2.9M $3-day $10.2M (-32%) 4-day $13.1M/Total $612M/Wk 7
3.) Blue Beetle 3,316 (-555) theaters, Fri $1.55M (-42%), Sat $2.7M Sun $2.8M Mon $2.1M 3-day $7.1M (-41%), 4-day $9.2M/Total $58.5M/Wk 3
4.) Gran Turismo (Sony) 3,856 theaters, Fri $1.56M (-82%) Sat $2.4M Sun $2.57M Mon $1.99M 3-day $6.57M 4-day $8.56M, total $30.6M/Total Wk 2
5.) Oppenheimer (Uni) 2,543 (-329) theaters Fri $1.3M (-42%) Sat $2M Sun $2.29M Mon $1.83M 3-day $5.67M (-31%) 4-day $7.5M/Total $310.5M/Wk 7
6.) Teenage Mutanta Ninja Turtles…(Par) 2,955 (-190) theaters Fri $1.04M (-32%) Sat $1.8M Sun $1.79M Mon $1.42M 3-day $4.65M (-36%), 4-day $6.07M, Total $107.77M/Wk 5
7.) Bottoms (MGM) 715 (+705) theaters, Fri $1.3M (+452%) Sat $875K Sun $873K Mon $611K, 3-day $3M (+552%) 4-day $3.659M, Total $4.3M/Wk 2
8.) The Meg 2: The Trench (WB) 2,371 (-561) theaters Fri $600K (-44%) Sat $1.1M Sun $1.1M Mon $830K 3-day $2.82M (-41%) 4-day $3.65M/Total $79.1M/ Wk 5
9.) Strays (Uni) 2,486 (-746) theaters, Fri $620K (-47%) Sat $950K Sun $980K Mon $690K 3-day $2.55M (-48%), 4-day $3.24M Total $21.4M/ Wk 3
10.) Talk to Me (A24) 1,075 (-246) theaters Fri $449K (-26%) Sat $674K Sun $640K Mon $473K 3-day $1.76M (-26%) 4-day $2.2M Total $44.5M/Wk 6
Sunday AM Writethru: Sony/Escape Artists’ The Equalizer 3 will hit $42M over four-days, easily the second-best opening of Labor Day weekend ever following 2021’s Shang-Chi, which did $94.6M. 3-day is $34.5M (or 2.6M patrons, per EntTelligence), which is the third-best domestic opening for filmmaker Antoine Fuqua after Equalizer 2 ($36M) and The Magnificent Seven ($35M), and the second-best start for the franchise. Friday was $13.1M, including Thursday previews, which is jacking up forecasts for the weekend. Equalizer 3 is cofinanced by TSG and Eagle Pictures.
As Comscore predicted, the summer box office has clicked past $4 billion — a normal threshold in any summer, but the first post-pandemic. Thank you, Barbenheimer. Read our summer wrap here.
The other thing to applaud with this threequel is that, quite often, these guy-with-a-gun-movies become diluted at the box office. Read: Gerard Butler and Liam Neeson fare, with distributors getting by on low P&As and acquisition costs. 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 2x Oscar-winner adores playing.
In regards to getting the pic’s opening B.O. to this level sans actors’ promotions during the SAG-AFTRA strike, that’s a glass half-full situation. On one hand, it’s an excellent start, with the threequel 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 there wasn’t a strike.
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, watching 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, shelling out an average of $16.37 to see the Fuqua pic vs. $13.28, which was the average ticket price for all formats on the title. 54% of the audience came to see the movie after 5 PM, per EntTelligence.
As of EOD Saturday, the AMC Southlake Pavillion in Atlanta is Equalizer 3‘s top-grossing venue, with north of $76K.
Imaxes were apparently split between Equalizer 3 and Oppenheimer. The Washington movie did a 4-day opening of $3.4M at 360 Imax auditoriums, while Oppeneheimer made $900K, for a running total of $85.5M for that film.
MGM’s expansion of Bottoms from ten locations to 715 theaters should not be ignored. The teen LGBTQ+ high school comedy posted a $3M 3-day and $3.58M 4-day. Great numbers in NYC, LA, San Francisco, DC, Chicago, Austin, and Dallas. Look out for this one.
Audience exits for the pic outside NYC and LA continue to be above norms, at 91% positive and 86% recommend, with a big young audience here; 80% are between 18-34. 55% are female, 42% male, and 3% non-binary. Diversity demos are 67% White, 29% Latino and Hispanic, 2% Black, and 2% Asian/other.
Social buzz is big at 106K convos, the most volume for a theatrical comedy since 2020, trailing only the social phenomenon that is Barbie. Female (58%) moviegoers lead buzz, LGBTQ+, GEN Z, African American, AAPI, Hispanic. College audiences comprise this younger-skewing and diverse coalition of moviegoers.
Newcomer Kushi (in Telugu) is showing strong numbers in Austin, Dallas, DC, Seattle, NYC, San Francisco, and Atlanta, for an estimated $1.28M 4-day weekend at 336 locations in 109 markets. Friday was $363K and yesterday was $352K. 3-day is bound for $1.04M.
The 4-day box office for all movies looks to land around $115.9M, which is up 63% over last year’s Labor Day weekend of $71.1M per Box Office Mojo, when there wasn’t any product. However, this year’s holiday B.O. is off -17% from 2021, when Shang-Chi began bringing moviegoers back, all pics then grossing $139M.
1.) Equalizer 3 (Sony) Fri $13.1M Sat $11.1M Sun $10.2M Mon $7.5M 3-day $34.5M, 4-day $42M/Wk 1
2.) Barbie (WB) 3,586 (-150) theaters, Fri $2.5M (-38 %) Sat $3.85M Sun $4.2M Mon $2.4M $3-day $10.6M (-30%) 4-day $13M/Total $611.8M/Wk 7
At $1.38 billion, the pic is the biggest movie worldwide YTD and as you know, the biggest for Warner Bros. ever. Beamed Warner Bros. Motion Picture Co-Chairs Mike De Luca and Pam Abdy this AM, “The box office records broken on Barbie have blown us all away. Greta, Margot, and the entire team now reaching the biggest movie of the year is a huge achievement, and a reminder to us all of the power of great storytelling to bring audiences of every age together. Barbie has been an absolute joy to be a part of and we congratulate everyone who helped to see it become the most watched film of 2023.”
3.) Blue Beetle 3,316 (-555) theaters, Fri $1.55M (-42%), Sat $2.7M Sun $3M Mon $1.7M 3-day $7.27M (-40%), 4-day $9M/Total $58.3M/Wk 3
4.) Gran Turismo (Sony) 3,856 theaters, Fri $1.56M (-82%) Sat $2.4M Sun $2.5M Mon $1.97M 3-day $6.55M 4-day $8.5M, total $30.6M/Total Wk 2
5.) Oppenheimer (Uni) 2,543 (-329) theaters Fri $1.3M (-42%) Sat $2M Sun $2.1M Mon $1.7M 3-day $5.5M (-33%) 4-day $7.2M/Total $310.2M/Wk 7
6.) Teenage Mutanta Ninja Turtles…(Par) 2,955 (-190) theaters Fri $1.04M (-32%) Sat $1.8M Sun $1.9M Mon $1.5M 3-day $4.77M (-34%), 4-day $6.3M, Total $107.99M/Wk 5
7.) The Meg 2: The Trench (WB) 2,371 (-561) theaters Fri $600K (-44%) Sat $1.1M Sun $1.2M Mon $1M 3-day $2.94M (-39%) 4-day $4M/Total $79.4M/ Wk 5
8.) Bottoms (MGM) 715 (+705) theaters, Fri $1.27M (+452%) Sat $875K Sun $832K Mon $582K, 3-day $3M (+552%) 4-day $3.58M, Total $4.3M/Wk 2
9.) Strays (Uni) 2,486 (-746) theaters, Fri $620K (-47%) Sat $950K Sun $950K Mon $660K 3-day $2.52M (-49%), 4-day $3.18M Total $21.3M/ Wk 3
10.) Talk to Me (A24) 1,075 (-246) theaters Fri $449K (-26%) Sat $674K Sun $640K Mon $473K 3-day $1.76M (-26%) 4-day $2.2M Total $44.5M/Wk 6
The Australian horror pic becomes the highest grossing genre pic stateside for A24, besting Hereditary‘s $44M. Overall, it’s A24’s fourth highest grossing movie at the domestic B.O. after Everything Everywhere All at Once ($77M), Uncut Gems ($50M) and Lady Bird ($49M).
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.