Sony's "The Equalizer 3," starring fan favorite Denzel Washington, helped boost the North American box office to a post-pandemic high over the long holiday weekend, industry watcher Exhibitor Relations reported Sunday.
The vigilante action film, which closes out the "Equalizer" trilogy, took in an estimated $34.5 million for the Friday-through-Sunday period and $42 million when the forecast for Monday -- Labor Day in the US and Canada -- is included.
The film, also starring Dakota Fanning, again has Washington playing a retired US Marine and drug-enforcement agent, this time taking on a gang in southern Italy.
That phenomenon of pinkness known as "Barbie" easily held on to the second spot for the weekend, with estimated totals of $10.6 million for three days and $13.3 million for four. The Warner Bros. film now has $612 million in total domestic earnings, only the 14th movie ever to pass the $600 million mark.
In third place for the second straight weekend was DC's superhero flick "Blue Beetle," at $7.3 million for three days and $6.5 million for four. Xolo Mariduena plays the Beetle.
Viewers hit the brakes, however, on Sony's "Gran Turismo," as last weekend's top film dropped to fourth with estimated ticket sales of $6.6 million for three days and $8.5 million for four. David Harbour and Orlando Bloom star in the movie about video gamers training to race real cars.
And like "Barbie," the movie to which it became fortuitously hitched in viewers' minds, "Oppenheimer," managed a strong showing in its seventh weekend out. Christopher Nolan's atom bomb origin story placed fifth at $5.5 million and $7.5 million.
Overall, this weekend's numbers were enough to push the domestic summer box office past $4 billion, a first in the post-pandemic era and a big jump from last summer's $3.4 billion, trade publications reported.
"That’s a fantastic result and another positive step for the industry," said analyst David A. Gross.
Rounding out the weekend's top 10 films were:
"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem" ($4.8 million for three days; $6.3 million for four)
"Bottoms" ($3 million; $3.6 million)
"Meg 2: The Trench" ($2.9 million; $3.7 million)
"Strays" ($2.5 million; $3.3 million)
"Talk to Me" ($1.8 million; $2.2 million)