Movies Review

Box Office Update: The Equalizer 3 punching its way to second best Labor Day debut

The Equalizer 3 looks to open around $40 million for its 4-day haul, second only to 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ $94.6 million.

equalizer 3, denzel washington

Denzel Washington once again proves his movie star status as his Equalizer 3 is currently looking at a solid $30 million, with around $40 million 4-day take, which falls perfectly in line with our predictions from Thursday. That number will put it squarely in the number two spot for the Labor Day holiday, pulling ahead of Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of Halloween which opened with $30.5 million and behind Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ $94.6 million in 2021.

The thing I didn’t realize going in to this weekend is that this is the first fully theatrical movie Denzel has starred in since the last Equalizer film hit theaters in 2018. He would take time to star in The Iceman Cometh on Broadway for which he would earn rave reviews and a Tony Nomination. In 2021 Washington had three movies released: The Little Things, which is an excellent throwback thriller starring Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto, was plagued by Warner Bros. decision to release their films day and date on their streaming service HBO Max, that led to the film only grabbing a $4.7 million opening and having a worldwide gross of just $30.8 million. On Christmas Day 2021, Washington would have the one two punch of The Tragedy of MacBeth and A Journal For Jordan released. Although MacBeth was a highly entertaining take on the classic Shakespeare play, it saw just a limited theatrical release before going to Apple TV+. Nonetheless, Washington would receive an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor for his performance in the Joel Coen directed film while Jordan would release strictly to theaters but Washington worked solely behind the camera on that one serving as its Producer and Director. 

So it is quite nice to have the legend that is Denzel Washington back on the big screen in something that people are actually going to see. The good news is that Washington will reunite with Ridley Scott for next year’s Gladiator 2, which should be another solid hit for the actor.

Sadly it looks like Gran Turismo is going to take a pretty substantial hit in its second weekend, dropping over 60% for a weekend in the $6-$7 million range and a 4-day take around $8 million. That is a shame because the movie is actually quite good and is one that would be benefitted from the big screen experience as the sound design alone is worth the price of admission. I honestly can not explain why this movie did so poorly as the reviews for the film have been pretty decent (including a solid 8/10 from our own Chris Bumbray) and the audience score was excellent at a 98%. To put that into perspective: Barbie currently carries an audience score of 83%.

Speaking of Barbie, that movie will continue its stellar run in second place with what is looking to be a $9-$10 million 3-day take with around $12 million over the course of the holiday weekend. That will take the Greta Gerwig directed film to well over $600 million domestic. It is only a matter of time before Barbie cracks the top ten domestic earners of all time as it just needs about $50 million more to move Jurassic World from its number ten spot (with $653.4 million). 

Third place will go to Blue Beetle with an estimated $6-$7 million 3-day take and $8-$9 million 4-day. I guess when you consider the film was originally meant to go direct to streaming, the nearly $60 million it has earned isn’t horrible. Of course that decision to go theatrical was made before the film was shot and thus both its budget and marketing costs got a big screen boost with $104 million allocated for the budget alone. 

Rounding out the top five will be Oppenheimer with around $5 million for its 3-day take and between $6-$7 million for its 4-day. Internationally, the Christopher Nolan film was just released in China where it debuted with a strong $5.4 million on its way to a potential $20 million weekend and has garnered a 9.5 audience score, the highest audience score in China of Nolan’s entire filmography. Again, I can not sing the praises of this film enough. From the score that permeates through the entire film adding depth to the dialogue to the outstanding supporting performances from people like David Krumholtz and Alden Ehrenreich to the sure to be Oscar recognized performances from Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr and Emily Blunt and of course the absolute pitch perfect writing and directing of Christopher Nolan. As much as I can’t wait to own the film on 4K disc (with plenty of extra features hopefully and the expanded IMAX scenes in tact.. hint hint Universal’s home video department!) I also want to see the film play as long as possible in theaters where it isn’t just a movie, but a full on experience. 

Have you made it to theaters yet this weekend or is it still on your list of things to do? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check back tomorrow when we have a full rundown on this weekend’s box office numbers.

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