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Box office report: 'Equalizer' dominates with impressive $35 million debut

Lots of high fives at the Sony offices today, as their don’t-mess-with-Denzel-Washington revenge flick The Equalizer walked away with a $35 million opening. “We’re really, really happy, but we were very bullish on the movie,” says Rory Bruer, Sony’s President of Worldwide Distribution. “It’s a film that we all love and it just delivers in a big way. Denzel couldn’t be more terrific in the role – you can’t take your eyes off this guy.” The movie’s success—director Antoine Fuqua’s best opening to date, Washington’s third best—is a testament to audience’s appreciation of Washington in tough lone wolf roles. Reviews were decidedly “eh”, but audiences gave the film a hearty A- CinemaScore.  (Women too like their Washington on the fearsome side; females made up 48 percent of the audiences.) The Equalizer fared well in its IMAX release as well, playing on 352 domestic screens and raking in a global IMAX cume of $5 million.

Washington left the other new releases in the dust. The Boxtrolls collected $17.25 million, thereby narrowly ceding the No. 2 spot to last week’s No. 1 The Maze Runner. (The YA adaptation dropped 46.2 percent from last weekend, pulling in $17.5 million. That brings Maze Runner‘s domestic tally to just over $58 million.) Folks behind The Boxtrolls, the first animated film since July, have reason to cheer. The fantastical film, which benefitted from the voices of Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning, and Ben Kingsley, marked the best debut for animation studio LAIKA (Coraline, Paranorman) and should continue to play well to family-friendly audiences.

Meanwhile audiences craving adult dramedy helped This Is Where I Leave You, the star-studded adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s tragicomic novel, helped keep the movie afloat. In it second week of release the film pulled in $7 million, dropping just 39 percent to hold onto the No. 4 spot.

Rounding out the top five is the earnest-hearted Dolphin Tale 2—starring dolpjins, some innocent-faced children and Morgan Freeman in a snazzy fedora—which squeaked out $4.8 million. Liam Neeson has been on a great roll lately but his latest shoot-em-up A Walk Among the Tombstones dropped out of the top 5, plunging a whopping 67 percent in its second week of release and limping away with $4.2 million. That brings the violent film’s domestic total to $20.9 million.

In limited release, CBS Films gay and labor rights movie PRIDE grossed an admirable $84,791 in six locations. Armed with a solid A CinemaScore, look for word-of-mouth to grow.

Top Five Films of the Weekend:

The Equalizer — $35 million

The Maze Runner — $17.5 million

The Boxtrolls — $17.25 million

This is Where I Leave You — $7 million

Dolphin Tale 2 — $4.8 million

 

Box office update: 'Equalizer' levels competition with nearly $13 million Friday

Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua continue to make an unstoppable duo. The Equalizer, starring a fierce Washington as a former black ops agent drawn back into the game by a troubled prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz) who’s targeted by Russian gangsters, raked in an impressive $12.6 million on Friday. Early bets from Sony low-balled first weekend numbers in the high 20-millions range. Estimates now suggest the movie will pull in closer to $36 million by weekend’s end, buoyed by Washington’s reliable charisma and A- CinemaScore reviews. A sequel is already in the works, which would be the first of Washington’s long and impressive career.

Meanwhile, the weekend’s other wide The Boxtrolls, Focus and Laika’s offering about some fantastical creatures who tenderly raise an orphaned human boy, landed third place with $4.93 million. The stop-motion animated film is looking to pull in a $16 million weekend kitty, which is right in line with studio predictions. It’ll have a shot at grabbing the No. 2 spot if kids turn out as expected on Saturday and Sunday.

In its second week of release, the YA adaptation The Maze Runner pulled in $5.2 million, on track for a $16 million opening. The family drama This is Where I Leave You, an adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s sharp opus of messy grown up siblings gathered together in mourning, takes the fourth spot with $2.2 million and Liam Neeson’s A Walk Among the Tombstones tip toes down to fifth with a modest $1.3 million. Parents looking for some down time keep Dolphin Tale 2 afloat. The wholesome sequel ties at No. 5 with the grisly Walk.

1. The Equalizer  $12.6 million

2. The Maze Runner  $5.2 million

3. The Boxtrolls  $4.9 million

4. This is Where I Leave You  $2.2 million

5. A Walk Among the Tombstones  $1.3 million

5. Dolphin Tale 2 — $1.3 million

Check back here tomorrow morning for a full weekend report.

 

The Pitch: Watch Ben Kingsley explain how 'Boxtrolls' will appeal to NASCAR drivers

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If anyone is wondering why they might enjoy—or at least appreciate—The Boxtrolls, Ben Kingsley is here to help.

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Box office preview: Denzel Washington eyes top spot with 'The Equalizer'

Denzel Washington is gearing up to show his box office might once more as The Equalizer debuts in 3,234 theaters, including IMAX and other premium large format screens, starting with early Thursday-night showings. The R-rated Columbia Pictures action thriller, which re-teams Washington with his Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, will easily win the weekend, beating out last week’s champ The Maze Runner and this week’s other new opener, the family-friendly The Boxtrolls.

Here’s how things might play out:

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'The Boxtrolls' brings stop-motion animation back into the light

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While the bulk of modern cinematic animation lives inside computers, with Pixar-style CG characters dominating the box-office, Laika has carved out its own creative space, with advanced stop-motion animated films like Coraline and ParaNorman that are breathtaking to behold. With The Boxtrolls, the old-school technology is as pristine and delightful as ever, and author Alan Snow’s literary characters spring to vivid life. Game of Thrones‘ Isaac Hempstead Wright voices Eggs, an orphan human child who is raised by a band of trash-collecting underground creatures, and Ben Kingsley gives the proper snarl to Archibald Snatcher, who wants to exterminate the boxtrolls once and for all from the town of Cheesebridge.

In addition to a new Boxtrolls featurette, co-directors Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi spoke to EW about the new film, which premieres Sunday at the Venice Film Festival and opens in theaters on Sept. 26, the joys of stop-motion, and the collaborative culture at Laika, where the CEO, Travis Knight, is also one of the chief animators. “We like to think that everbody who works at Laika is essentially a boxtroll,” says Stacchi, “because everybody who works there pretty much lives their lives in darkness and only comes up into the sunlight to collect more mechanical pieces to build their weird machines.” READ FULL STORY

'The Boxtrolls' trailer: There's nothing to fear -- VIDEO

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Get ready for trolls! The big mythical beings get a makeover as sweet and stout creatures in the newly released trailer for the stop-motion, animated adventure film The Boxtrolls.

In the trailer,  viewers can get a glimpse at the underground mechanics and high-flying action of the trolls, as well as the extreme love of cheese by Cheesebridge’s townspeople, all of which is portrayed in a unique, eye-catching animated style. Based on the children’s novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls tells the story of a young orphaned boy, Eggs (Isaac Hemstead Wright), who is raised by underground, cave-dwelling trolls.

The townspeople of Cheesebridge believe the trolls to be monsters who are out to steal its children and fine cheeses, when in reality, the trolls are sweet oddballs — who wear boxes, hence the title — interested in dumpster diving and mechanical junk collecting. When Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley), an evil exterminator, is out to get the trolls in order to enter the high society of Cheesebrige, Eggs and his friend Winnie (Elle Fanning) must come to the defense of his adopted family.

Can’t wait until The Boxtrolls‘ Sept. 26 release date? Check out the trailer, and its adorable trolls, here: READ FULL STORY

Watch the latest 'The Boxtrolls' trailer here! -- VIDEO

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Put together a community of adorably weird underground creatures and a human who needs a family and you get The Boxtrolls, an animated film made by the creators of previous hits like ParaNorman and Coraline.

A new teaser trailer for The Boxtrolls is here and it gives us a look at the adorable quirkiness of the Boxtrolls, doing things like eating bugs and running into poles. This trailer forgoes dialogue in favor of a rendition of “(You’re So Square) Baby I Don’t Care,” a song made famous by Elvis Presley and incredibly appropriate for the box-housed trolls.

The Boxtrolls features the voices of stars like Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Tracy Morgan, and Simon Pegg, and hits theaters September 26. Check out the trailer below: READ FULL STORY

'The Boxtrolls' trailer: 'Families come in all shapes and sizes...even rectangles'

The trailer for The Boxtrolls, based on Alan Snow’s bestselling children’s novel Here Be Monsters!, hit the Internet Tuesday, giving moviegoers a quick preview of what to expect from Focus Features’s third animated feature. (They previously released Coraline and ParaNorman.) In sum: it’s simply adorable — and very well-timed.

The movie — which features the voices of Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley and Jared Harris, among others — is about a group of underground trolls who, with help from an orphan they raised named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Write), must go up against an evil townsperson (Kingsley) who wants to eliminate them.

The film’s trailer, which touts family diversity and even briefly features two pairs of same-sex parents, is in tune with political zeitgeist, coming on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision last week to strike down Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.  READ FULL STORY

Focus Features to release animated pic 'The Boxtrolls' with Tracy Morgan

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On the heels of ParaNorman’s success, Focus Features has just closed a deal to release their third animated feature: The Boxtrolls. The film will be a 3-D stop motion and CG hybrid feature and is currently in production at LAIKA (the studio behind ParaNorman and Coraline) with a high-profile voice cast including Tracy Morgan, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Simon Pegg, and Elle Fanning.

Based on Here Be Monsters!, Alan Snow’s bestselling children’s novel, the film is set in the wealth, status, and cheese-obsessed town of Cheesebridge. The Boxtrolls are a group of trolls who live underground and come out at night to steal precious cheeses from the townspeople. When Archibald Snatcher (Kingsley) decides to eliminate the misunderstood creatures and it’s up to a young human girl (Fanning) to help the town and its underground dwellers find peace.

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