Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
September 30, 2014
Kim Hollis: The Equalizer, the '80s TV show adaptation featuring Denzel Washington, earned $34.1 million this weekend. What do you think of this result?
Jason Barney: I think Denzel Washington equals money in the bank at this point. I am not going to say I was shocked by the strength of the opening, but this is on the high side of most of the numbers I looked at. Based on his track record and the month, anything in the high $20 million range would have been great, but opening to $35 million is very, very strong. The RottenTomatoes ratings are a little lower than I would have thought, but word-of-mouth appears great and in the long run, this film is going to make a significant amount of money. It will have surpassed the budget by the end of weekend two, then it can eat into marketing costs.
For Sony, this is a much needed win, as the only legit hit they had this year was 22 Jump Street. Their year has NOT been very good, considering they were nervous enough about the reception to Amazing Spider-Man 2 where they are toying with the release date of the third film. They have obviously had other projects, but Sex Tape was a big disappointment. Early in the year Pompeii was a HUGE miss. The Equalizer rights the ship a little bit.
Edwin Davies: Denzel Washington's so consistent at this point that this isn't that much of a surprise, though the fact that it opened considerably higher than his usual average (especially since it's an R-rated thriller based on a property that most people don't remember, if they knew about it at all) makes it pretty remarkable. It also means that when assessing what makes some of his films break out more than others, it becomes a case of working out which of the variables ultimately bolstered the constant that is Denzel Washington and his $20 million opening streak.
I think the reunion of Denzel and Antoine Fuqua, who directed him to thrilling effect in Training Day, and the easily sold premise probably played a big role in helping this break out, as did Chloe Grace Moretz's presence in a role that established a kind of superficial similarity to his role as a protective figure in Man on Fire. Denzel has such a long, distinguished and popular body of work at this point that referencing his more popular ones, even implicitly, probably helps draw out different audiences. There seem to be a lot of little elements at play that combined to one of his biggest opening weekends, even though individually a lot of those things might not seem that important to such a strong success.
Felix Quinonez: It's a great opening weekend but not much of a surprise. As far as box office goes, I think Denzel is as dependable as it comes. But the fact that it exceeded most expectations cements his status as a middleweight box office champ.