Box Office Predictions: Denzel to blow away competition in The Equalizer 3

Denzel Washington stars in his first ever threequel with The Equalizer 3 which is tracking to debut around $30 million.

This Labor Day weekend sees the release of just one new wide entry to theaters with the trilogy capper The Equalizer 3 starring Denzel Washington. The franchise, loosely based off the TV series of the same name that aired on CBS from 1985-1989, launched on September 26, 2014 where it opened with $34.1 million on its way to a $101.5 million domestic finish ($192.3 million worldwide). The sequel, 2018’s The Equalizer 2, would release in a prime summer slot of July 20 and open in first place with $36 million on its way to a $102 million domestic finish ($190.4 million worldwide). Those numbers are bolstered by the fact that director Antoine Fuqua keeps his budgets down with each film costing between $55- $75 million. Tracking for the film has it opening in the $30 million range and since that is about where the other two opened, that is what I will stick with for its 3-day take. 

The film is currently seeing some decent reviews including an 8/10 from our own Chris Bumbray who enjoyed this third outing so much he hoped they would reconsider making this the final chapter in the lucrative franchise. Another factor that may help propel The Equalizer 3 to financial glory is its runtime. At 103 minutes it is the shortest film in the series by almost 20 minutes (Equalizer had a runtime of 132 minutes while Equalizer 2 carried a 121 minute run time). The film will also take over most of the PLF (Premium Large Format) screens this weekend from Gran Turismo and let us not forget that people enjoy a good piece of revenge cinema as just a few months ago we saw the excellent John Wick Chapter 4 pull in $187.1 million domestic with a $426.5 million worldwide gross. Equalizer 3 won’t hit those types of numbers, but it does show that when a series continues to put out quality, audiences will show up, and by most accounts Equalizer 3 is quality. 

Speaking of Gran Turismo, many expect the based on a true story car racing tale to have a significant drop in its second weekend from its already lackluster opening. The thing is: the film carries a stellar 98% audience score with an A cinemascore, meaning word of mouth for this one should be strong. Having seen the film just last night (in IMAX) I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and think it deserved to do far better than it did in its opening weekend. The movie blended the visual style of the game with the real life story that inspired the film perfectly. Even though it carries a PG13 rating, I found this to be a pretty solid family film (although there is one F bomb for those who may not like such things.) But the story of a kid with a dream who is given the chance to achieve that dream is a tale as old as time, and in the hands of a skilled filmmaker like Neill Blomkamp and excellent performances by Archie Madekwe, Dijon Hounsou, Orlando Bloom and especially David Harbour (and even Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, aka Ginger Spice, puts in a solid performance as the lead character Jann’s mother. It was so good I didn’t even realize it was her until reading Chris Bumbray’s 8/10 review!) make the film a must see in theaters where you will get the full experience of the amazing race car sound design and mixing. 

Gran Turismo actually did decent business during the week, of course that business wasn’t as good as Barbie which finished in first place on Monday and Tuesday. So it is likely that Barbie will continue her amazing run with a second place finish and around $13 million in receipts. The Margot Robbie/ Ryan Gosling led film became Warner Bros highest grossing film of all time this week, taking down Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, as it passed that films $1.342 worldwide gross. I wonder if Warner Bros is rethinking their plan to release the film to digital platforms on September 5 as it seems there is still a lot of gas in the tank for this one at the box office. 

Barbie, Margot Robbie, wrong lesson

Fourth place should go to the DC film Blue Beetle with around $6-$7 million in receipts as the film struggles to hit the $100 million domestic mark, a mark I don’t believe it will achieve when all is said and done. At the end of the day, the movie just wasn’t very good and audiences are telling the studio as much by not going to see it. Even though James Gunn said that Blue Beetle will feature in his new DCU, I think he needs to cut ties with all previous characters and start fresh with his new Superman. There is already enough confusion among audiences in terms of the DCEU and the DCU, to where a new 100% fresh start with 2025’s Superman: Legacy is needed to get audiences back on one singular track going forward. 

Rounding out the top five should be Oppenheimer with an additional $6-$7 million. What is amazing for this Christopher Nolan directed film is that even after it lost its big theater chain IMAX screens (the film has seen its run extended in its 70mm IMAX screens) it has maintained its momentum with small week to week drops meaning that it wasn’t just the larger than life screen spectacle that people have responded to, it is the film itself. As we enter the fall movie season where more and more awards contenders are released, you can expect Oppenheimer to continue to have a presence as Universal will certainly not want to lose momentum as this movie has a genuine shot at breaking (or at least tying) the record for most Academy Award nominations (which currently sits at 14 for Titanic, All About Eve and La La Land). 

matt damon, cillian murphy

Out of the top five but worth noting is the expansion of the film Bottoms. The R rated sex comedy opened last week on just ten screens where it pulled in a stellar $461,052, which equates to a $46,105 per screen average. The film is getting an expansion this week and depending on word of mouth could potentially hit the top ten.

Do you plan on hitting up theaters this weekend? If so, let us know in the comments what you plan on seeing and don’t forget to check back on Saturday when we have a brief update on where the box office numbers are heading.


  1. The Equalizer 3$30 Million
  2. Barbie $13 Million
  3. Gran Turismo $9 Million
  4. Blue Beetle $6.5 Million
  5. Oppenheimer $6 million

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