Sony’s R-rated TV reboot, ‘The Equaliser’, enjoyed a bumper $12.6m opening Friday at the North American box office from 3,236 theatres (inc $1.45m from Thursday night previews). The action thriller reunites the ‘Training Day’ director/actor collaboration of Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington and could finish as high as $36m after receiving an ‘A-‘ CinemaScore from first night audiences. This is higher than Sony’s overcautious estimates and the market’s more realistic pre-release tracking, justifying the studio’s earlier decision to make a sequel. Critics liked it less than punters – currently 59% on RT – but is unlikely to make an impact.
The weekend’s other wide opener, ‘The Boxtrolls’, also exceeded expectations with a solid $4.8m Friday from 3,464 theatres ahead of the family audiences arriving on Saturday and Sunday. It’s the latest stop-motion animation from Laika after ‘Coraline’ and ‘ParaNorman’ and looks set to take $17m over the three days, around $4m above market forecasts. A ‘B+’ CinemaScore and solid reviews – 71% on RT – should support a decent run.
Last weekend’s No.1, ‘The Maze Runner’ had a strong $5m Friday hold from a market high 3,638 theatres, putting it on pace for a similar three-day total as ‘The Boxtrolls’. This would represent a modest 48% week-on-week fall.
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