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Weekend Box Office: Equalizer Easily Guns Down Competition in Impressive Fashion

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By Chris Kavan - 09/28/14 at 11:26 PM CT

There was some question as to which movie was going to come out on top this weekend. But following a strong Friday, the question was quickly answered. While the weekend was pretty much on par with the way things went last year in terms of total grosses, all things told, it still points toward a healthy September at a time were traditionally movies struggle. Perhaps this means we're going to end the year on a high note after a disappointing summer. So far this fall, things are looking pretty good.


It turns out that the re-teaming of Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua worked out even better than most would have imagined. The Equalizer brought in an impressive $35 million to easily open in first place over the weekend. That is the fourth-highest September opening on record, and, for Washington, his third-best opening of his career. Washington has proven to be a box-office beast. Well-known and well-liked, this is his 12th-straight film to open above $20 million. Even more impressive is that 10 out of those 12 movies are rated R. Audiences continued to support the cause, as Equalizer was awarded a fantastic "A-" Cinemascore, so word-of-mouth should be good. The audience was pretty much evenly split between men and women and drew a mostly older (65% over 30) crowd. Given the warm response, Equalizer should continue to play well and a total of over $100 is expected before it drops out of theaters.


Last weeks champ dropped to second place with $17.5 million. That represents a 46% drop, which may seem like a lot but for YA titles is actually a pretty good hold. Divergent, in comparison, had a 53% drop in its second weekend. The Maze Runner now stands at $58 million. With global totals approaching $100 million, Maze Runner should also be able to hit that target domestically and the new franchise looks to be on the right track.


While it may not have fallen just behind Maze Runner for the weekend. Boxtrolls still have plenty to celebrate. The stop-motion animated film from Laika Animation brought in $17.25 million. That total represents a new best for the studio, topping previous films Coraline ($16.8 million) and ParaNorman ($14.1 million). In fact, it's the best opening for a stop-motion animated film since Time Burton's Corpse Bride all the way back in 2005. The marketing for the film started a long time ago - so awareness has been building and audiences thought it was a decent film, awarding it a "B+" Cinemascore. The audience was mostly female driven (57%) and with continued support, the film should enjoy about an $80 million windfall.


The ensemble comedy had one of the best holds out of any film in the top 10. Easing just over 39%, This is Where I Leave You took in just over $7 million giving it a new total of $22.55 million. That's nice for a film with just a $19.8 million budget (even with an impressive cast list). Even if the returns aren't as quite as high as it would like, it's already in the black and everything from here is just more icing on the cake.


The other family-friendly title in theaters held on to its fifth-place spot, dipping 45.5% in its third weekend out. Dolphin Tale 2 took in $4.8 million and now stands at $33.66 million and another week out from equaling to its $36 million budget. It's not a perfect situation, but at least it's eventually going to wind up on the positive side of its budget.

Outside the top five: Guardians of the Galaxy brought in $3.8 million (8th place) raising its total to $319.2 million. In the process, Guardians topped the original Iron Man ($318.4 million) to become the third-highest grossing film (domestically) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

On the more indie front, The Skeleton Twins (starring SNL alums Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader) expanded from 49 to 385 theaters and, in the process, jumped 192% from 19th to 11th place, taking in $1.26 million. The film stands at $2.35 million to date.

Next week's big titles include David Fincher's latest film with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike (and already getting some early rave reviews) Gone Girl. We also have the horror film followup to The Conjuring (that's actually a prequel of sorts) the scary possessed doll, Annabelle. Also, Nicholas Cage is here to save the day (or at least survive the Rapture) in the so-bad-it's-bound-to-be-good (at least for a laugh), Left Behind. It should be an interesting weekend.


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