The third film in the "Equalizer" franchise, starring Denzel Washington, topped the domestic box office over the Labor Day weekend, earning an estimated $34.5 million. Sony expects the film's total to rise to $42 million by the end of the holiday weekend. This release comes at a challenging time for Hollywood, as actors are currently on strike for fair contracts with major entertainment companies. Additionally, movie theaters are preparing for a potentially depleted fall season due to the strike.
Despite these challenges, "Equalizer 3" has been able to succeed due to its status as a recognizable franchise. The lack of promotional support from Washington, who was unable to participate due to the strike, did not hinder the film's box office potential. The movie was released in over 3,900 locations in North America, including IMAX and premium large format screens. The film received generally positive reviews from both critics and audiences.
In terms of other films at the box office, "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer" continue to perform well after seven weeks in theaters. Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" has become the biggest movie of 2023, earning over $1.36 billion globally and surpassing "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" has grossed over $850 million globally, making it the third highest-grossing film of the year and Nolan's third highest-grossing film overall.
Overall, the summer movie season has been successful, surpassing $4 billion in ticket sales for the first time since the pandemic began. This is particularly significant as the industry is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and is facing uncertainty due to the ongoing strikes. Last summer, the box office only reached $3.4 billion. This year's successes, including "Barbie" and "Oppenheimer," have contributed to the industry's recovery and demonstrate the impact that a hit or miss film can have on the overall box office performance.