Weekend Box Office

Weekend Box Office Results: The Equalizer 3 Takes Holiday Weekend

Plus, Barbie crosses $600 million domestic and eyes the top 10 list, while Oppenheimer looks to become a top-grossing R-rated film.

by | September 5, 2023 | Comments


After adding preview numbers into the mix for their win last week, Sony got the more traditional one this week. Relying on the strength of Denzel Washington and a modestly successful franchise, all things being equal led to a hearty victory over the holiday weekend with the Antoine Fuqua-helmed revision of a television series putting up its best start to date. That said, by reportedly being the costliest of the bunch with its Italian setting, the final film in the series cannot retire too early if it is going to be a true win for the studio.

King of the Crop: The Equalizer 3 Takes Holiday Weekend 

The Equalizer opened to a healthy $34.1 million at the end of September in 2014 and went on to gross $101.5 million domestic and another $90.8 million internationally. Its cost: $55 million. The Equalizer 2 tried the summer route at the end of July 2018. It opened to $36 million and finished with just over $102 million and $88 million internationally. How is that for equal? What wasn’t equal was its cost, which rose to $62 million. Both films were still marginally successful.

Now arrives The Equalizer 3 with a budget reported at $70 million and a four-day holiday haul of $42 million ($34.5 million estimated for the three-day). That is the second-best Labor Day weekend of all time, well behind Shang-Chi’s $94.6 million but decidedly ahead of Rob Zombie’s 2007 Halloween ($30.5 million) — appropriate, as reviews have described Denzel’s Robert McCall as a cross between a justice-seeker and a serial slasher.

Among your previous 11 September films to open between $30-35 million, six of them finished over $100 million, one of them being The Equalizer. What wasn’t one of them was another Denzel/Fuqua team-up on The Magnificent Seven, which finished with only $93 million despite being the highest opener on that list. Two of the others on the $100 million list were both of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films, and a third was Rush Hour from 25 years ago, the highest-grossing film on the list. Denzel has also not been as automatic overseas as he has been in North America, where he has had six $100 million grossers (including The Pelican Brief). Only Déjà Vu and American Gangster added over $100 million to his grosses overseas, and it’s going to take over $200 million for the third entry to get into profit — that’s a number neither of the previous films hit. The Equalizer 3 has made $26.1 million internationally so far.

The Top 10 and Beyond: Barbie Crosses $600 Million and Eyes Domestic Top 10

In second place again is Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which became the 14th film in history to pass $600 million domestically on Friday. It added another $10.6 million over the weekend and $13 million through the holiday, bringing its total to $611.8 million. That officially puts it 13th on the all-time domestic list, passing Incredibles 2 with both The Last Jedi and Marvel’s The Avengers to fall by next week. The film is about $15 million behind Jurassic World’s pace, though it did best that film’s seventh weekend $9 million to $7.1 million. That is the film currently standing between Barbie and the all-time domestic top 10. Worldwide the film is at $1.38 billion, which is 15th all time and just $20 million behind Avengers: Age of Ultron for 14th place.

Warner Bros. also has the three slot this week with DC’s Blue Beetle, hanging in there with a $7.2 million third weekend and $9 million over the holiday. That gives it $58.3 million total. $6.4 million is what Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center had in its third weekend, and Beetle is outpacing it by a bit over $5 million, suggesting a final domestic gross around the $75 million range. That’s more than Shazam! Fury of the Gods and a lot closer to The Flash than anyone expected, not that it’s good news for either as Blue Beetle is only just passing $100 million worldwide.

Compare that to Oppenheimer’s $851 million worldwide through Sunday. Christopher Nolan’s monster R-rated hit is over $300 million domestic and $542 million with international sales. $5.5 million this weekend and $7.2 million for the holiday brings its North American total to $310.2 million. With a better seventh weekend than both Deadpool 2 ($3.57 million) and It ($3.45 million), Oppenheimer hopes to stretch itself over both to become one of the five highest-grossing R-rated films of all time. The Stephen King adaptation is currently outpacing it by about $11 million, but the final estimate of reaching $330 million is not out of the question just yet.

It looks like we lapped right past Sony’s Gran Turismo this week, which actually found itself in fourth place after last week’s asterisk-laden victory. One of the disadvantages of fudging those weekend numbers is it makes this week’s fall even greater. A 63% drop to $6.5 million and $8.5 million for the holiday brings its 11-day total to $30.6 million. Taylor Swift’s concert film made more than that in one day of pre-sales, and it doesn’t open until October 13. (Not to rain on Sony’s parade but it also pre-sold as much as The Equalizer 3 sold in its first four days.) Gran Turismo’s $60 million budget is tiny compared to most summer films this year (half as much as Blue Beetle, even) but with only $79 million worldwide right now, it is going to take a lot more fudging of the numbers to get this one out of the red.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem has been holding on with a late surge exceeding our estimates. $4.7 million over the weekend and $6.3 million over the holiday brings its total to almost $108 million. That puts its 33-day total in between The Other Guys and The Bourne Legacy. Its fifth weekend is smack dab between both films too, so its final estimate is up to between $114-119 million. If only its international total was higher than $37 million, Paramount would have a success on their hand, and it doesn’t help that the film hit VOD last Tuesday. On the flipside of the equation is Meg 2: The Trench, which upped its domestic total to just $79 million (after the original did $145 million), but with an international total of over $296 million, the sequel is nearly where it needs to be to put another win in the column for Warner Bros.

MGM/Orion expanded Bottoms from 10 theaters last week into 715 this week and it grossed $3 million over the weekend and $3.5 million over the holiday. Those are similar numbers to Sofia Coppola’s remake of The Beguiled, which made $3.1 million in its second weekend expansion from 4 to 674 theaters. That film never got itself over 1,000 theaters in its run and finished with just over $10 million. Bottoms is up to $4.3 million, and with positive word-of-mouth building, it shall expand into 1,200 theaters next weekend.

In other R-rated comedy news, Universal’s Strays grossed $2.5 million in its third weekend (and $3.1 million through the holiday) to bring its total over $21 million. It appears that no matter how outrageous the concept, audiences could barely be bothered to find the laughs this summer. The kids would rather go to the latest A24 film, as Talk To Me climbs up the studio’s all-time list. With $2.2 million over the holiday, the horror pickup from Sundance passed Ari Aster’s Hereditary as it upped its total to $44.5 million. Another $4.8 million and it will pass Lady Bird for third all time for the studio, and another $5.9 million will put it ahead of Uncut Gems for second behind only Everything Everywhere All At Once.

On the Vine: The Nun II and Greek Wedding 3 to Offer Vastly Different Moviegoing Options

This weekend the Conjuring universe returns with The Nun II. The first film had the second-biggest September opening of all time behind It with $53.8 million. (It ranks fourth now.) Will audiences be ready to have their hands smacked with rulers again? It is, after all, not the only sequel in town. We already have The Equalizer 3 in theaters, and The Nun will have to compete with My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3. The first sequel was nowhere near the word-of-mouth smash that the original was but it did gross nearly $60 million and was a hit. Let’s see how far this one can fly.

Full List of Box Office Results: September 1-4, 2023

  • $34.5 million (3-day); $42.0 million (4-day) – $42.0 million total

  • $10.6 million (3-day); $13.0 million (4-day) – $611.8 million total

  • $7.2 million (3-day); $9 million (4-day) – $58.3 million total

  • $6.5 million (3-day); $8.5 million (4-day) – $30.6 million total

  • $5.5 million (3-day); $7.2 million (4-day) – $310.2 million total

  • $4.7 million (3-day); $6.3 million (4-day) – $107.9 million total

  • $3.1 million (3-day); $3.7 million (4-day) – $4.5 million total

  • $2.9 million (3-day); $4.0 million (4-day) – $79.3 million total

  • $2.5 million (3-day); $3.1 million (4-day) – $21.3 million total

  • $1.7 million (3-day); $2.2 million (4-day) – $44.5 million total

Erik Childress can be heard each week evaluating box office on Business First AM with Angela Miles and his Movie Madness Podcast.

[box office figures via Box Office Mojo]

Thumbnail image by Stefano Montesi/©Sony Pictures Entertainment

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