The Equalizer (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Antoine Fuqua|
|Produced by||Todd Black
|Screenplay by||Richard Wenk|
|Based on||The Equalizer
by Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim
Chloë Grace Moretz
|Music by||Harry Gregson-Williams|
|Edited by||John Refoua|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||131 minutes|
|Box office||$158.8 million|
The Equalizer is a 2014 American thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Richard Wenk, based on the television series of the same name. The film stars Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Melissa Leo, Haley Bennett, and Bill Pullman.
Principal photography began in June 2013 on location and took place in different cities of Massachusetts. This was the first film to have Village Roadshow Pictures co-finance the deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment since Saving Silverman in 2001. The film was premiered at 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2014, and released worldwide on September 26.
Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a retired black ops government operative who lives in Boston, Massachusetts and works at a Home Mart hardware store, where he befriends many of his co-workers and also tries to help a security guard trainee named Ralphie pass his qualification exam. McCall has promised his recently deceased wife that he'd leave his old life behind, but is compelled to act after his teenage friend Teri (Chloë Grace Moretz) whose real name is Alina, was seen being mistreated by her pimp. Alina's life was destroyed at the age of five or six when she was a victim of sex trafficking by the Russian Mafia and then became their sex slave and forced into prostitution.
Robert vows to save her after she is hospitalized after being brutally beaten by her pimp, Slavi (David Meunier). McCall enters a restaurant owned by the Russian mob and tries to convince Slavi to release Alina by paying him $9800, but Slavi refuses. McCall pretends to walk away, but turns back and takes out Slavi and his men with their own weapons, removing the footage from all the security cameras.
In retaliation, Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich) sends his enforcer Teddy (Marton Csokas) to Boston to find and eliminate the culprit. Meanwhile, Ralph withdraws his application for being a security guard at Home Mart to help out his mother at his family restaurant, which was set on fire by corrupt policemen as an act of extortion. McCall confronts the corrupt policemen and forces them to pay back all the money they have gotten through extortion. Ralph passes his test and becomes a security guard at Home Mart.
Teddy determines McCall is the culprit; surprised by his skills, Teddy tries to capture him to use those skills instead of killing him. McCall, however, outsmarts his pursuers and escapes, while completing more acts of vigilantism. McCall visits fellow retired operatives Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo) and Brian Plummer (Bill Pullman) in Virginia, who help him acquire intelligence on Pushkin's activities. It is revealed that Teddy is ex-Spetnaz, and that his real name is Nikolai. After McCall leaves, Susan remarks to Brian that McCall was not actually looking for help, but was actually asking for permission.
McCall then captures Frank Masters (David Harbour), a corrupt Boston policeman who has been aiding Teddy, by trapping him in his car and threatening to flood the vehicle with carbon monoxide. Frank relents and helps McCall destroy one of Pushkin's money laundering operations in Boston. Later, McCall confronts Teddy at dinner; McCall pledges to bring Pushkin's empire down, and soon destroys a container ship used by Pushkin to smuggle goods. Unsatisfied with Teddy's lack of progress and his increasing monetary losses, Pushkin warns Teddy he can either kill McCall or not come home to Moscow.
In retaliation, Teddy and his men attack Home Mart and take Ralph and the workers of Home Mart hostage, threatening to kill them if he does not surrender. McCall enters the store and disables most of the lighting, tells Ralph to get the hostages to safety, and then kills Teddy's henchmen one by one. After a struggle between McCall and one of Teddy's men, Ralph comes back to help McCall, but is shot in the leg. McCall tells Ralph to turn on the electricity after an exact time of 40 seconds. McCall sets up a number of chemicals in a microwave; the electricity turns it on, causing an explosion that kills the last of Teddy's men. McCall finally kills Teddy with a nail gun.
McCall then travels to Moscow and kills Pushkin's guards, and sets up an electrical trap to kill Pushkin himself. McCall returns to Boston, where he reunites with Alina, who has recovered from her wounds and thanks him for giving her a second chance. McCall is inspired to continue using his skills to help people in need and posts an online ad, identifying himself as "The Equalizer". He soon receives another plea for help and agrees to answer it.
- Denzel Washington as Robert McCall
- Marton Csokas as Teddy
- Chloë Grace Moretz as Alina / Teri
- Melissa Leo as Susan Plummer
- Bill Pullman as Brian Plummer
- Haley Bennett as Mandy
- Johnny Skourtis as Ralphie
- David Harbour as Frank Masters
- Vladimir Kulich as Vladimir Pushkin
- David Meunier as Slavi
- Alex Veadov as Tevi
- James Wilcox as Pederson
- Mike O'Dea as Remar
- Anastasia Mousis as Jenny
In December 2011, it was reported that Denzel Washington would star in the title role of the film version, to be financed by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Escape Artists. Director Antoine Fuqua came on board to direct on March 21, 2013, reuniting him with Washington after their successful collaboration on the 2001 Oscar-winning film Training Day. Chloë Grace Moretz was announced as a co-star on May 10, 2013. On May 31, 2013, Melissa Leo was cast in the film. Leo previously worked with Washington in the 2012 film Flight, and with Fuqua in Olympus Has Fallen (2013).
Marketing and promotion
The first official image from the film was released on December 6, 2013. Sony originally planned on an April 11, 2014 release date, but pushed it back to September 26, 2014. The first official poster for the film was released on April 16, 2014. On April 22, USA Today revealed photos from the film. On May 24, the trailer for the film was released. On June 12, another official trailer for the film was released. On July 16, the IMAX poster for the film was released.
On August 25, 2014, previews of the song "Guts Over Fear", by rapper Eminem and featuring Sia, with production by Emile Haynie, premiered in trailers for the film. The song also plays over the closing credits.
The film was released on September 26, 2014 in the United States and earned $12.6 million from 3,236 theaters in its first opening night including the $1.45 million it earned from 2,693 screens from Thursday night showings. On the second day the film earned $13.5 million and $8.1 million on the third day. Its opening day is the third biggest for Washington, tailing behind American Gangster ($15.8 million) and Safe House ($13.6 million). On its opening weekend the film earned $35,000,000 ($10,816 per theater) and debuted at number one at the box office. The film broke several records at the box office during its opening weekend including the biggest R-rated debut of September, surpassing Jackass: Number Two record ($29 million), the biggest IMAX opener of September, the biggest debut weekend gross for Antoine surpassing Olympus Has Fallen ($30 million), the third biggest domestic opening for Washington behind the aforementioned American Gangster ($43.6 million) and Safe House ($40.2 million) and the fourth biggest for a film released in September. It earned $3.3 million from 352 IMAX theaters. The film played 52% male and 65% over 30 years old.
Outside North America
The Equalizer earned $17.8 million overseas from 65 territories from 4,500 screens during it's opening weekend with $1.4 million of the gross coming from 137 IMAX theaters. The film broke several September openings record in various territories including the UK, Netherlands, Israel, and Egypt. Top openings include the UK ($2.9 million), Russia ($2.7 million), Mexico ($1.4 million), Russia ($1.3 million) United Arab Emirates ($875,0000) and Malaysia ($650,000). Showings from Village Roadshow markets grossed an estimate $2.4 million with top openings including Australia ($1.9 million), New Zealand ($180,000) and Singapore ($300,000).
The Equalizer has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 62%, based on 169 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's consensus states: "The Equalizer is more stylishly violent than meaningful, but with Antoine Fuqua behind the cameras and Denzel Washington dispensing justice, it delivers." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
On February 24, 2014, it was announced that Sony Pictures and Escape Artists are planning a sequel to the film, with Richard Wenk penning the script. In early October 2014, Fuqua told in an interview that there would be a sequel to the film only if audiences and Denzel wanted it, he said it was an interesting character and the sequel could be more international.
- "THE EQUALIZER (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- "The Equalizer (2014) - Box Office Mojo". September 26, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
- Schaefer, Sandy (October 25, 2012). "Denzel Washington’s ‘Equalizer’ Secures Start Date; Lining Up Directors". Screen Rant.
- "Russell Crowe Looking To Bring Back The Equalizer". The Film Stage. June 15, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
- "Sony sets 'Equalizer' redo with Denzel Washington". Variety. December 13, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
- Fleming, Mike. "Antoine Fuqua Eyes 'Training Day' Re-Team With Denzel Washington In 'The Equalizer'". Deadline.com. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
- Fleming, Mike. "Chloe Moretz Getting Lead in 'Equalizer' Movie With Denzel Washington". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- Fleming, Mike. "Melissa Leo Joining Denzel Washington In 'The Equalizer'". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
- "Marton Csokas to Play the Villain in The Equalizer". comingsoon.net. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
- "Harry Gregson-Williams to Score ‘The Equalizer’". filmmusicreporter.com. June 21, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
- "Varese Sarabande to Release Harry Gregson-Williams’ ‘The Equalizer’ Score". filmmusicreporter.com. July 31, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
- Billington, Alex. "First Look: Denzel Washington from Antoine Fuqua's 'The Equalizer'". First Showing. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
- McDaniel, Matt (April 16, 2014). "'The Equalizer' Poster: Denzel Washington Is on His Way". Yahoo!. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- Alexander, Bryan (April 22, 2014). "Denzel Washington evens the score as 'The Equalizer'". USA Today. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
- "Watch The First Trailer For Denzel Washington As 'The Equalizer'". Indiewire. May 24, 2014.
- Fleischer, Adam (June 12, 2014). "Check Out Eminem’s New Song In ‘The Equalizer’ Trailer". MTV. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
- Anderton, Ethan (July 16, 2014). "Denzel Washington Has a Nice Gun on 'The Equalizer' IMAX Poster". firstshowing.net. Retrieved July 17, 2014.
- "Hear Eminem and Sia's Triumphant New Duet 'Guts Over Fear'". Rolling stone. Retrieved June 26, 2014.
- Vlessing, Etan (25 June 2014). "Imax Finds 'The Equalizer' For September 26 Worldwide Release". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- Anita Busch (September 26, 2014). "Box Office Late Nights: ‘The Equalizer’ $1.45M On Way To Nice Weekend For Sony". Deadline.com. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Saperstein, Pat (September 27, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington’s ‘The Equalizer’ Scores With $36 Million Debut". variety.com. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
- Scott Mendelson (September 27, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Nabs $12.6M Friday". Forbes. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Scott Mendelson (September 28, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Opens To $35M Weekend". Variety. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- "TOP OPENING WEEKENDS BY MONTH". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Scott Bowles (September 27, 2014). "Sunday Box Office: ‘The Equalizer’ Nabs September Records; ‘Maze Runner,’ ‘Boxtrolls’ Take Youth Vote". Deadline.com. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Brent Lang (September 28, 2014). "Box Office: 'The Equalizer' Debuts to Smashing $35 Million". Variety. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Pamela McClintock (September 28, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Scores $35 Million Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Pamela McClintock (September 29, 2014). "International Box Office: 'Maze Runner' Beats 'Equalizer'; 'Lucy' Nears $400M Globally". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- Scott Mendelson (September 28, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Opens To $35M Weekend". Forbes. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- Nancy Tartagloine (September 28, 2014). "Int’l Box Office Update: ‘The Equalizer’ Clocks $17.8M In Debut; ‘Maze Runner’ Races To $91M Cume; More". Deadline.com. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- Brent Lang (September 28, 2014). "‘The Maze Runner’ Tops Foreign Box Office for Second Week". Variety. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- "The Equalizer". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
- "The Equalizer Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Sneider, Jeff (February 24, 2014). "Sequel to Denzel Washington Thriller ‘Equalizer’ Moves Forward as Sony Brings Back Writer Richard Wenk". thewrap.com. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Chitwood, Adam (February 24, 2014). "Sony Developing THE EQUALIZER 2 Following Positive Test Scores; Denzel Washington Expected to Return". Collider.
- "‘The Equalizer 2′ Moving Forward After Positive Test Screenings; Denzel Washington Expected To Return". Flicks and Bits. February 24, 2014.
- Lang, Brent (October 1, 2014). "‘Equalizer’ Director Antoine Fuqua: ‘I Don’t Believe I Should Filter the Violence’". variety.com. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
- The Equalizer at the Internet Movie Database
- The Equalizer at Box Office Mojo
- The Equalizer at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Equalizer at Metacritic