Labor Day Box Office: The Equalizer 3 shoots up $42 million over the long weekend

The third chapter in Denzel Washington’s lucrative franchise opened with a solid $34.5 million, second highest ever for Labor Day Weekend.

MONDAY UPDATE: It looks like Denzel Washington can now lay claim to having the 2nd biggest Labor Day box office debut, with The Equalizer 3 shooting up an estimated $42 million over the long weekend. Not bad at all if you consider that Denzel hasn’t been able to market the film due to the strike. It’s the best opening a movie’s posted since Barbenheimer, and seems likely to be the biggest until, coincidently, Denzel’s son John David Washington, opens his own potential blockbuster, The Creator, later this month.


Denzel Washington returned to theaters this weekend with his first ever threequel, The Equalizer 3, which saw an opening weekend of $34.5 million and a 4-day expected to hit $42 million, slightly above where we predicted it on Thursday. That number securely makes it the second highest grossing Labor Day release of all time behind Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which was able to secure $75.3 million for its opening weekend before nabbing $94.6 over its first four days. 

That number falls in line with the previous two entries in the big screen Equalizer franchise, as the first movie, 2014’s The Equalizer, pulled in $34.1 million in its debut while 2018’s The Equalizer 2 was able to secure $36 million in its debut. Going forward, Equalizer 3 should have strong legs as it has pulled in solid reviews (including an 8/10 from our own Chris Bumbray) and great exit polls including an A cinemascore and a 93% audience score. 

Coming in second place is Barbie which will add another $10.6 million and a running total of $609.5 million. What’s even more impressive is that the Greta Gerwig/ Noah Baumbach scripted film has not fallen out of the top two in nearly two months. The film has amassed an impressive $1.3 billion worldwide off a nearly $140 million budget making it Warner Bros. highest grossing film ever. According to several sources, Barbie is slated to hit Video On Demand this coming Tuesday (September 5), however I wonder if the studio will stick to that rumored date as it is still making a killing in theaters. 

Third place belongs to Blue Beetle with a third week take of $7.2 million. Despite being another lackluster entry in the DCEU, if there is a silver lining its that its week to week drops have not been as bad as Shazam: Fury of the God’s or The Flash’s, of course those films had far superior international numbers (Shazam pulled in $76.2 million international while Flash accumulated $160.4 million against Beetle’s $35.8).

gran turismo review

Coming in fourth place is Gran Turismo which sadly saw a 62% decline with a $6.5 million second weekend. I am honestly a bit sad this movie did not catch on with general audiences as I found it to be a very entertaining big screen adventure. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel of racing movies, but it told a true story (so true in fact that the person it is based on, Jann Mardenborough, served as his own stunt driver in the movie) that was honestly pretty inspirational with its theme of never giving up on your dreams. I’m also bummed this movie isn’t doing better because I am a fan of filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, his District 9 was an absolutely amazing film and I thoroughly enjoyed his follow up Elysium and I even thought Chappie was a fairly solid little movie. So it is sad that his first so called mainstream movie is performing so badly. The good news is that it features a relatively small budget of $60 million, so perhaps once video on demand and streaming revenue is tabulated the movie can turn a profit.

Fifth place goes to a film for which I can not stop singing its praises: Oppenheimer continues its stellar run with another $5.5 million and a running total of $308.5 million (with over $800 million in worldwide grosses). What more can we possibly say about this movie? It is a pure masterpiece. Every aspect of the film is perfect. We need to get these strikes resolved soon because it would be a shame to see award season cancelled or delayed because I think we all want to see Robert Downey Jr up on those stages as he collects award after award for his performance in this film (as well as Nolan and Murphy who will likely also pick up plenty of hardware during award season.) 

christopher nolan, imax, oppenheimer

The remainder of the top ten are your holdovers with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem officially passing the $100 million mark at the domestic box office with another $4.7 million. Bottoms saw a solid expansion to 715 theaters this week where it managed $3 million, which represents a healthy +552% from last weeks already solid debut. Meg 2: The Trench has continued to have decent week to week drops with another $2.9 million added to its $78.4 million, of course that number is still a ways away from the original’s $145.5 million domestic take. Luckily, like the first movie, Meg 2 has seen solid numbers at the international box office and can actually be considered a decent little moneymaker. Spot nine goes to the naughty dogs of Strays which saw an additional $2.5 million added to its $20.7 million domestic total while spot ten belongs to the excellent A24 horror film Talk To Me with an additional $1.7 million added to its $44.1 million domestic total, roughly $40 million more than its production budget.

Did you make it to theaters this weekend? If so let us know what you saw in the comments and don’t forget to check out our weekly poll where we ask: What is your Favorite Denzel Washington Film?

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