‘The Equalizer 3’ Dominates Box Office, While ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ Break New Records

by Andrew Wright
Box Office Performance

The third entry in the “Equalizer” series, spearheaded by Denzel Washington, led the domestic box office this weekend, earning an estimated $34.5 million, according to figures released by the studio on Sunday. Sony anticipates that this sum will climb to $42 million by the conclusion of the Monday holiday.

As Hollywood’s summer movie season draws to a close with Labor Day, ticket sales have exceeded $4 billion for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. This achievement is substantially attributable to the long-running success of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” which continue to set records after seven weeks in theaters. Over the weekend, Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” ascended to become the highest-grossing film of 2023, with a global revenue exceeding $1.36 billion, outperforming “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Concurrently, Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” crossed the $850 million global mark, securing its position as the third highest-grossing movie of the year and Nolan’s third most lucrative film to date.

The debut of “The Equalizer 3” came amidst a turbulent period for the entertainment industry, characterized by an ongoing seven-week strike by actors advocating for fair contractual terms with major studios, and a generally subdued fall season anticipated for cinemas.

The persistent strike by SAG-AFTRA meant that Washington was unavailable to promote the film, directed by his regular collaborator Antoine Fuqua and set on Italy’s Amalfi coast. Ordinarily, the absence of a leading star for promotional activities would be seen as a disadvantage; however, “The Equalizer 3,” due to its established franchise name, appears to be an exception capable of overcoming this hurdle.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore, commented, “One of the most renowned actors in the world ended the summer movie season on a high note. While many studios usually wind down by Labor Day, Sony made a strategic decision to launch ‘The Equalizer 3’ this weekend.”

Opening in more than 3,900 North American locations, including IMAX and premium large format screens, “The Equalizer 3” performed in alignment with its two predecessors, each of which garnered over $190 million globally. Co-financed by TSG and Eagle Pictures, the film was produced with a budget of $70 million and has been well-received by both critics and audiences, scoring 76% on Rotten Tomatoes and an ‘A’ on CinemaScore, along with a five-star PostTrak rating.

Dergarabedian observed, “The Equalizer franchise has demonstrated remarkable consistency.”

Internationally, the film generated an additional $26.1 million, contributing to a global opening weekend of $60.6 million.

In other box office news, “Barbie” amassed an additional $10.6 million in North America, bringing its domestic total to $609.5 million. Warner Bros.’ “Blue Beetle” secured third place with $7.3 million, reaching a three-week domestic total of $56.6 million. Sony’s “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story” ranked fourth, projecting $6.6 million through Sunday—a 62% decline from its opening weekend—and $8.5 million when Monday’s figures are included.

“Oppenheimer” occupied fifth place domestically, with an estimated $5.5 million ($7.4 million including Monday’s estimates) across 2,543 theaters, increasing its domestic total to $310.3 million and its global earnings to $851 million.

The film made its debut in China this past Wednesday, appearing on 35,000 screens and estimated to have earned $30.3 million in its initial five days. Of this, $9.3 million was contributed by 736 IMAX screens.

Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX, stated that the performance of “Oppenheimer” in China “proves the film is far from concluding its international run,” and serves as a “compelling example of our expanding global market share.”

The achievement of a $4 billion summer is a vital sign for an industry still recuperating from the pandemic and facing an uncertain fall season if the strikes by actors and writers persist. Before the pandemic, such revenue was standard for summer seasons and typically represented at least 40% of the annual box office. Last year’s summer season ended at $3.4 billion.

Dergarabedian concluded, “The significance of the summer box office cannot be overstated. It’s a barometer for the industry’s health. Many had doubts that we would reach the $4 billion mark. Yet, here we are at the summer’s end, achieving it. It underlines how even a single hit or flop can substantially impact the industry’s financial standing.”

Estimated Weekend Box Office Earnings in U.S. and Canada:

  1. “The Equalizer 3,” $34.5 million.
  2. “Barbie,” $10.6 million.
  3. “Blue Beetle,” $7.3 million.
  4. “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story,” $6.6 million.
  5. “Oppenheimer,” $5.5 million.
  6. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” $4.8 million.
  7. “Bottoms,” $3 million.
  8. “Meg 2: The Trench,” $2.9 million.
  9. “Strays,” $2.5 million.
  10. “Talk to Me,” $1.8 million.

Final domestic revenue figures are expected to be released on Tuesday.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Box Office Performance

What movie led the domestic box office over the weekend?

“The Equalizer 3,” the third installment in the franchise starring Denzel Washington, led the domestic box office over the weekend, garnering an estimated $34.5 million according to studio estimates.

Which films have significantly contributed to the summer box office total exceeding $4 billion?

The films “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” have been pivotal contributors, setting new records and helping the summer box office surpass the $4 billion mark for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

How did “The Equalizer 3” perform compared to its predecessors?

“The Equalizer 3” performed in line with its two predecessors, both of which went on to make over $190 million globally. The movie was released in over 3,900 locations in North America, including IMAX and premium large format screens.

How did the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike affect “The Equalizer 3”?

Due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, Denzel Washington was unavailable for promotional activities. Despite this, the film still performed well, possibly benefiting from the established name of the franchise.

What were the international earnings for “The Equalizer 3”?

Overseas, “The Equalizer 3” made an additional $26.1 million, contributing to a global opening weekend total of $60.6 million.

How did “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” perform globally?

“Barbie” has become the highest-grossing film of 2023 with a global revenue exceeding $1.36 billion. “Oppenheimer” crossed the $850 million mark globally, making it the third highest-grossing movie of the year and Christopher Nolan’s third most lucrative film.

What is the current status of Hollywood’s summer movie season?

Labor Day marks the end of Hollywood’s summer movie season, which for the first time since the pandemic, surpassed $4 billion in ticket sales.

When will the final domestic revenue figures be released?

Final domestic revenue figures are expected to be released on Tuesday.

Which other films made it to the top 10 in the domestic box office?

Other films in the top 10 include “Blue Beetle,” “Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,” “Bottoms,” “Meg 2: The Trench,” “Strays,” and “Talk to Me.”

What challenges is the movie industry currently facing?

The movie industry is facing challenges from ongoing strikes by actors and writers, which could bring uncertainty to the fall season. Despite this, the summer season’s strong performance indicates resilience in the industry.

More about Box Office Performance

  • Box Office Performance of ‘The Equalizer 3’
  • Summer Box Office Hits $4 Billion
  • Ongoing SAG-AFTRA Strike and Its Impact on Hollywood
  • Global Earnings of ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’
  • Final Domestic Revenue Figures for the Weekend
  • Top 10 Movies in the Domestic Box Office
  • Challenges and Uncertainty in the Movie Industry’s Fall Season

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John Smith September 3, 2023 - 5:32 pm

can’t believe Barbie’s made over a billion already! My kids are obsessed, they’ve seen it like three times.

Jane Doe September 3, 2023 - 7:33 pm

Wow, Equalizer 3 still rockin the box office even without Denzel doing the promo stuff. That’s the power of a solid franchise, eh?

Mark Johnson September 3, 2023 - 9:01 pm

Nolan does it again. Oppenheimer is killin’ it, and it’s not even done yet. Gotta love a director who consistently delivers.

Tom Harper September 4, 2023 - 7:27 am

where are the final numbers gonna be posted? Interested to see if Equalizer 3 meets the expectations.

Emily Williams September 4, 2023 - 10:10 am

Looks like Hollywood’s finally bouncing back post-pandemic. $4 billion is no small feat, especially with the actors on strike and all.

Rachel Adams September 4, 2023 - 2:11 pm

Summer’s been a rollercoaster. hits, flops, strikes. Still, 4 billion is something to celebrate, right?

Sarah Lee September 4, 2023 - 5:14 pm

Anyone else surprised by Gran Turismo’s drop? 62% decline seems kinda steep for a film that started strong.


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