Weekend Box Office Forecast: THE EQUALIZER 3 Aiming for #2 All-Time Labor Day Debut

Photo by: Stefano Montesi, courtesy Sony Pictures

Summer movie season officially comes to a close as fall kicks off with a welcome injection of business over the Labor Day frame.

Going into this weekend, and with the exception of 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it’s been 16 years since any film earned $30 million or more over the four-day Labor Day holiday period. That was Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake, which bowed to $30.6 million in 2007.

The Equalizer 3

Sony Pictures

September 1, 2023 (WIDE)

3-Day Opening Weekend Range: $28M-$34M
4-Day Opening Weekend Range: $35M-$42M


  • Activity is beginning to warm up as the final days of summer and last weekend’s National Cinema Day move further into the rear view mirror. Trendlines are pacing close to last year’s Bullet Train, but with notable backloading apparent as Friday sales lead previews by over 67 percent as of Wednesday morning.
  • As outlined in prior tracking reports, the Equalizer franchise has been notably consistent in its first installments with box office debuts of $34.1 million and $36 million, respectively.
  • With an older moviegoer base expected to near 70 percent aged 30 and older, there’s likely to be additional backloading throughout the weekend compared to other fan-driven opening shows like the recent John Wick: Chapter 4. A premium screen presence in IMAX and other formats will also aid revenue potential.
  • On that note, adult male-focused marketing during sporting events in recent weeks has provided a crutch for the studio to lean on in lieu of other promotional avenues prevented by the ongoing strikes (more on that below).


  • With five years between the second Equalizer film and this installment, and given how consumer habits have shifted among the franchise’s target audience demographic the most of any sector since the pandemic, some diminished returns are naturally expected for this third chapter.
  • With the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, Denzel Washington and the cast have been unable to promote this film on the usual press circuit tour that might effectively boost target audience awareness under normal circumstances.
  • With Hurricane Idalia forcing the closure of some theaters in Florida and creating other weather events in the southeastern United States, projections as they pertain to that broader geographic area of the country are volatile.

Current projection ranges call for an 83% increase from the comparable Labor Day weekend’s top ten aggregate of $42.4 million in 2022 and a 21% increase from 2019’s $63.9 million Labor Day frame.

Film Studio 3-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Sunday, September 3 Fri Location Count Projection (as of Wed) 3-Day % Change from Last Wknd 4-Day Weekend Forecast Projected Domestic Total through Monday, September 4
The Equalizer 3 Sony & Columbia Pictures $31,000,000 $31,000,000 ~3,900 NEW $37,600,000 $37,600,000
Barbie Warner Bros. Pictures $11,100,000 $610,000,000 ~3,700 -27% $14,300,000 $613,200,000
Blue Beetle Warner Bros. Pictures $7,500,000 $57,400,000 ~3,400 -38% $10,600,000 $60,500,000
Oppenheimer Universal Pictures $7,000,000 $310,000,000 ~2,700 -15% $9,100,000 $312,100,000
Gran Turismo Sony Pictures $6,500,000 $28,300,000 ~3,856 -63% $8,500,000 $30,300,000
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem Paramount Pictures $4,500,000 $106,100,000 ~3,100 -38% $6,100,000 $107,700,000
Strays Universal Pictures $3,400,000 $21,600,000 ~2,700 -31% $4,400,000 $22,600,000
Meg 2: The Trench Warner Bros. Pictures $3,100,000 $78,700,000 ~2,400 -35% $4,100,000 $79,700,000
The Hill Briarcliff Entertainment $1,700,000 $5,000,000 ~1,800 -26% $2,300,000 $5,600,000
Retribution Lionsgate $1,600,000 $6,400,000 ~1,800 -55% $2,000,000 $6,800,000

All forecasts are subject to revision/finalization before the first confirmation of opening previews or Friday estimates from studios or official sources.

Theater counts are either studio estimates OR unofficial projections if preceded by “~”.

The above table does not necessarily represent the top ten as some studios do not finalize weekend location counts and/or an intent to report box office returns prior to publishing.

Photo by: Stefano Montesi, courtesy Sony Pictures