Robert McCall may have claimed his biggest scalp yet on the weekend, with The Equalizer 3 shooting past Barbie to reach top spot at the Australian box office.
Distributed by Sony Pictures, the final chapter in the franchise bowed to $3.4 million from 418 screens for an impressive average of $8,024 per session, getting the better of the Warner Bros. juggernaut, which moved to second for the first time since being released seven weeks ago, making a further $1.6 million to gross $81.8 million overall.
Antoine Fuqua’s crime thriller follows McCall, played by Denzel Washington, as he goes from the comfort of his new home in southern Italy to becoming his friends’ protector and taking on the mafia.
The film’s opening outstripped that of its predecessor, which took in just shy of $3 million when it was released in 2018, along with 2014’s The Equalizer, which debuted at $2.3 million.
Globally, the title has taken in more than US$60 million, including a solid US$34.5 million stateside.
It was one of four new entries in the top ten at the Australian box office, with data from Numero indicating that the top 20 films grossed just over $11 million, down 21 per cent from the previous weekend.
Universal’s Oppenheimer was the only film to hold its position from last week, drawing $1.1 million from its seventh outing to move up to $38.2 million overall and remain in third.
Icon’s Sound of Freedom was quieter in its sophomore frame with $878,674 – a 64 per cent decrease from its debut – to reach $3.3 million.
Chinese crime thriller No More Bets, about a programmer and a model who find themselves trapped in a foreign country as prisoners of a scam mill,proved to be a wildcard for distributor Magnum in its first weekend, managing $720,912 from just 48 screens to nearly double the screen average of the weekend’s top film with $15,019 per session.
It was also more than seven times the average of Disney’s The Haunted Mansion, a remake of the 2003 Eddie Murphy starrer, which bowed to $655,485 from 332 screens.
Majestic Cinemas’ Kieran Dell said The Haunted Mansion‘s performance was satisfactory given its release outside of the school holidays, noting there was “enough of an opening to give it some legs” through the upcoming break.
Overall, Dell said the new entries had contributed to “not too bad a weekend for late August”.
“The Equalizer had a good opening and was solid, only just pipping Sound of Freedom in week two, which I think has done better regionally than metro,” he said.
Cinema Nova CEO Kristian Connelly said while the Father’s Day trade tended to “favour more masculine features”, his venue still enjoyed strong trade for holdover titles like Barbie, Asteroid City, and Oppenheimer, all three of which he said “dipped marginally”.
Further down the list, WB’s Meg 2: The Trench dropped two positions to seventh with $420,260 from its seventh weekend to reach $8.8 million, while Forum Distribution’s Punjabi period drama Mastaney took in another $341,890, a 72 per cent decrease from its debut last week, to move passed $1.5 million overall.
Studiocanal’s Korean romance drama Past Lives, which follows the reunion of two deeply connected friends two decades after they are split apart when one of them moves away, opened to $325,866 from 110 screens for an average of $2,962 per session. Rounding out the top ten was Sony’s Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story with $287,130 from its fourth outing.
The racing drama was singled out by Wallis Cinema programming services manager David Simpson, who was “pleased it was keeping up given the quality of the title”.
There was a more mixed assessment of Mushroom Pictures documentary Ego: The Michael Gudinski Story, about the life of the late Mushroom Records founder, which bowed to $206,134 from 182 screens for an average of $1,133 per session.
Connelly said the film was fifth best at his venue, having benefitted from a Q&A event with the filmmakers on opening night.
For Dell, the title’s opening was “quite soft”, noting that it was “a shame” but that it also had “mainly an older audience target”.