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Previews And Predictions: Denzel and a Bunch of Trolls Lead This Week’s New Openers

Previews And Predictions: Denzel and a Bunch of Trolls Lead This Week's New Openers

The always reliable Denzel Washington returns to the big screen for the first time since 2013’s “2 Guns” in Sony’s “The Equalizer” and Laika, the animators behind “ParaNorman” and “Coraline”, bring us their third outing, “The Boxtrolls”.  Let’s take a look…

THIS WEEK’S PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

THE EQUALIZER—SONY—WIDE—131 MINS—R—IMAX—D-BOX
I will admit to have waited for this one since the film version of the classic 1980’s TV show, which starred the great Edward Woodward, was announced.  The re-teaming of “Training Day” partners in crime Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua was too good to be true and the source material was right in their wheelhouse.  Toss in the current hardest working woman in show business, Chloe Grace Moretz, a Boston backdrop (ok I’m biased) and a riveting script, which I was fortunate enough to read before I left Sony, and all this should add up to an opening on the high side of recent Denzel debuts.  His last five opening weekends (“2 Guns”-$27 mil, “Flight”-$24 mil, “Safe House”-$40 mil, “Unstoppable”-$22 mil and “Book of Eli”-$32) average out to $29 million.  Aiding the process is an excellent campaign, an IMAX component, which is a Denzel first by the way, and competition (“A Walk Among The Tombstones”, “No Good Deed”) which is falling by the wayside rather quickly.

BOX OFFICE INSIDER’S WEEKEND PREDICTION: $33 MILLION

CAST: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz, Melissa Leo, Marton Csokas, Bill Pullman
DIRECTOR: Antoine Fuqua
THURSDAY NIGHT LATE SHOWS: 7:00 PM

THE BOXTROLLS—FOCUS—WIDE—97 MINS—PG—3D
Laika, the Oregon based stop action animation company behind “Coraline” and “ParaNorman”, return for their third outing with “The Boxtrolls”, a stop-action animated tale about an orphan boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors.  And you thought you had a strange childhood.  Sounds like that Monty Python skit where each one of a group of men try to outdo each other with how terrible their childhood was (“I was born in a shoebox in the middle of the road!” “Cardboard box?” “Yeah” “Oh you were lucky!”).  Co-director Graham Annable was one of the animators on both “Coraline” and “ParaNorman” and the other helmer, Anthony Stacchi, directed “Open Season”.  The film opened well in the U.K. last week, stronger than the other two Laika films, but I’m tempering my excitement due to the fact that “The Boxtrolls” voice talents are very British.  Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris, Nick Frost and Richard Ayoade, all Brits, are the first four voices listed in the credits.  If you’re looking for benchmarks, “Coraline” opened to $16 million in 2009 and “ParaNorman” debuted at $14 million in 2012.  

BOX OFFICE INSIDER’S WEEKEND PREDICTION:  $16 MILLION

VOICES: Ben Kingsley, Nick Frost, Jared Harris, Elle Fanning, Tracy Morgan, Richard Ayoade
DIRECTORS: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi
THURSDAY NIGHT LATE SHOWS: 7:00 PM 

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