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The Equalizer is a 2014 American vigilante action thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by Richard Wenk, loosly based on the 1980s TV series of the same name. It stars Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.

The Equalizer
The Equalizer poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Produced by
Screenplay by Richard Wenk
Based on The Equalizer
by Michael Sloan
Richard Lindheim
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography Mauro Fiore
Edited by John Refoua
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • September 7, 2014 (2014-09-07) (TIFF)
  • September 26, 2014 (2014-09-26) (United States)
Running time
132 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $73 million[2]
Box office $192.3 million[3]

Principal photography began in June 2013 in Massachusetts. It was the first film to have Village Roadshow Pictures co-finance the deal with Sony Pictures since Saving Silverman in 2001. The film had its world premiere at 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2014, and was released worldwide on September 26.

The film received mixed reviews from critics, who highly praised the visual style, acting, soundtrack and action sequences but criticized its violence, script and plot. Nonetheless, it became a commercial success with a worldwide box office gross of over $192 million. A sequel has been confirmed for a July 20, 2018 release, with Washington and Fuqua returning.



Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a retired CIA black ops operative who lives quietly in Boston, Massachusetts and works at a Home Mart hardware store; McCall befriends many of his co-workers and helps a security guard trainee named Ralph pass his qualification exam. McCall promised his recently deceased wife that he would leave his old life behind. Unable to sleep, McCall spends some late nights reading in a 24/7 diner where he befriends Alina (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teenage prostitute for the Russian Mafia; McCall regales Alina with philosophical interpretations of the book he is currently reading, The Old Man and the Sea.

One night, Alina is hospitalized following a brutal beating by her pimp, Slavi (David Meunier). McCall offers to buy her freedom from Slavi for $9,800, but he refuses, dismissing McCall as old and impotent. Failing in this approach, McCall subsequently kills Slavi and four of his men with skillful close combat efficiency.

In response Russian Mafia boss Vladimir Pushkin (Vladimir Kulich) sends his enforcer, Teddy Rensen/Nicolai Itchenko (Marton Csokas), an ex-Spetsnaz, to Boston to find and eliminate the culprit. In the meantime, Ralph withdraws his security guard application and instead goes to work with his mother at the family restaurant; McCall learns that the restaurant was set on fire by corrupt policemen as an act of extortion. McCall confronts the corrupt policemen, beats them, forces them to pay back all the money they have extorted, and threatens to publicize their crimes. Ralph then returns to Home Mart and passes his test, becoming a security guard at the store.

Increasing his actions against Pushkin, McCall forces Frank Masters (David Harbour)—a corrupt policeman to help destroy one of Pushkin's local money laundering operations. McCall then confronts Itchenko at dinner, pledging to bring down Pushkin's criminal enterprise. When McCall destroys a container ship Pushkin used to smuggle goods, Pushkin orders Itchenko to kill McCall, adding that until the deed is done, Itchenko may not return home to Moscow.

Itchenko and his men go to the Home Mart and take Ralph and several of McCall's other coworkers hostage, threatening to kill them if McCall does not surrender. McCall kills Itchenko's henchmen one by one using booby traps constructed with items in the store. After a struggle between McCall and one of Itchenko's men, Ralph comes back to pull the injured McCall out of the store, but is shot in the leg himself. After Ralph escapes McCall confronts Itchenko and kills him with a nail gun.

Later, McCall travels to Moscow, and kills Pushkin as he had pledged to do. He returns to Boston and is approached by Alina, who has recovered from her injuries, found a legitimate job, and taken up reading. She 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 advertisement, now identifying himself as "The Equalizer". He soon receives another plea for help and agrees to answer it.




In June 2010 it was announced that Russell Crowe was looking to bring The Equalizer to the big screen directed by Paul Haggis, with Crowe attached to play Robert McCall.[4][5]

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.[4][6] 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.[7] Chloë Grace Moretz was announced as a co-star on May 10, 2013, Anna Kendrick, Kelly Macdonald and Nina Dobrev were also considered.[8] 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).[9] Marton Csokas was cast to play the villain on May 17.[10]


Filming began in June 2013 with locations in Salisbury, Hamilton, Chelsea, Haverhill, and Boston, Massachusetts.[11]


On June 21, 2013, Harry Gregson-Williams was hired to compose the music for the film.[12] Varèse Sarabande released a soundtrack album for The Equalizer on September 23, 2014.[13]

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.[14] The song also plays over the closing credits.


Promotion and marketingEdit

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.[15][16] The first official poster for the film was released on April 16, 2014.[17] On April 22, USA Today revealed photos from the film.[18] On May 24, the trailer for the film was released.[19] On June 12, another official trailer for the film was released.[20] On July 16, the IMAX poster for the film was released.[21]

Theatrical releaseEdit

The film had a premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2014.[22] Sony released the film in IMAX screen theaters worldwide on September 26, 2014.[23]


Box officeEdit

The Equalizer grossed $101.5 million in North America and $90.8 million in other territories for a worldwide gross of $192.3 million, against a net production budget of $55 million.[3]

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.[24][25] Its opening day is the third biggest for Washington, tailing behind American Gangster ($15.8 million) and Safe House ($13.6 million).[26] 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.[27][28][29] It earned $3.3 million from 352 IMAX theaters.[30] Audiences for the debut weekend of the film were 52% male and 48% female, with 65% of ticket buyers over 30 years old.[31]

The Equalizer earned $17.8 million overseas from 65 territories from 4,500 screens during its opening weekend with $1.4 million of the gross coming from 137 IMAX theaters.[32] The film broke several September openings record in various territories including the UK, Netherlands, Israel, and Egypt.[33] Top openings include the UK ($2.9 million), Russia ($2.7 million), Mexico ($1.4 million), Brazil ($1.3 million) United Arab Emirates ($875,000) 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).[34][35]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, the film holds an approval rating of 60% based on 189 reviews, and an average rating of 5.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Equalizer is more stylishly violent than meaningful, but with Antoine Fuqua behind the cameras and Denzel Washington dispensing justice, it delivers."[36] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 57 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[37] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[38]

Home mediaEdit

The Equalizer was released on digital, Blu-Ray and DVD on December 30, 2014.[39] The Equalizer will be released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray on July 10, 2018.[40]


On February 24, 2014, seven months before the release of the film, it was announced that Sony Pictures and Escape Artists were planning a sequel, with Richard Wenk penning the script.[41][42][43] In early October 2014, Fuqua said in an interview that there would be a sequel to the film only if audiences and Washington wanted it. He stated McCall was an interesting character and that the sequel could have more of an international flavor.[44] On April 22, 2015, a sequel was confirmed with Washington returning to his role.[45] On June 11, 2015, Sony set September 29, 2017 as the release date for The Equalizer 2, although Fuqua had not confirmed if he would return.[46] On September 23, 2016, Washington officially was confirmed to reprise his role as 'Bob' McCall.[47]

In November 2016, Sony announced that the sequel was pushed back to September 14, 2018, and Fuqua would return to direct.[48] The release date was later moved up to August 3, 2018.[49] In July 2017, Columbia Pictures announced that a portion of the filming would take place in the Brant Rock area of Marshfield, MA. Filming is scheduled for two weeks in November 2017.[50]


  1. ^ "The Equalizer (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ FilmL.A. (May 2015). "2014 Feature Film Study" (PDF). FilmL.A. Feature Film Study. Retrieved July 3, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "The Equalizer (2014) - Box Office Mojo". September 26, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Schaefer, Sandy (October 25, 2012). "Denzel Washington’s ‘Equalizer’ Secures Start Date; Lining Up Directors". Screen Rant.
  5. ^ "Russell Crowe Looking To Bring Back The Equalizer". The Film Stage. June 15, 2010. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Sony sets 'Equalizer' redo with Denzel Washington". Variety. December 13, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Antoine Fuqua Eyes 'Training Day' Re-Team With Denzel Washington In 'The Equalizer'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Chloe Moretz Getting Lead in 'Equalizer' Movie With Denzel Washington". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Melissa Leo Joining Denzel Washington In 'The Equalizer'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Marton Csokas to Play the Villain in The Equalizer". Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "Filming Locations". IMDB. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  12. ^ "Harry Gregson-Williams to Score 'The Equalizer'". June 21, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Varese Sarabande to Release Harry Gregson-Williams' 'The Equalizer' Score". July 31, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Hear Eminem and Sia's Triumphant New Duet 'Guts Over Fear'". Rolling stone. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  15. ^ Schaefer, Sandy (July 28, 2013). "'The Equalizer' With Denzel Washington Gets Its Release Date Pushed Back". Screenrant. Retrieved March 28, 2014. 
  16. ^ Billington, Alex. "First Look: Denzel Washington from Antoine Fuqua's 'The Equalizer'". First Showing. Retrieved December 6, 2013. 
  17. ^ McDaniel, Matt (April 16, 2014). "'The Equalizer' Poster: Denzel Washington Is on His Way". Yahoo!. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  18. ^ Alexander, Bryan (April 22, 2014). "Denzel Washington evens the score as 'The Equalizer'". USA Today. Retrieved April 26, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Watch The First Trailer For Denzel Washington As 'The Equalizer'". Indiewire. May 24, 2014.
  20. ^ Fleischer, Adam (June 12, 2014). "Check Out Eminem's New Song In 'The Equalizer' Trailer". MTV. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  21. ^ Anderton, Ethan (July 16, 2014). "Denzel Washington Has a Nice Gun on 'The Equalizer' IMAX Poster". Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014. 
  23. ^ Vlessing, Etan (25 June 2014). "Imax Finds 'The Equalizer' For September 26 Worldwide Release". Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Anita Busch (September 26, 2014). "Box Office Late Nights: 'The Equalizer' $1.45M On Way To Nice Weekend For Sony". Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  25. ^ Saperstein, Pat (September 27, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Scores With $36 Million Debut". Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  26. ^ Scott Mendelson (September 27, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Nabs $12.6M Friday". Forbes. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  27. ^ Scott Mendelson (September 28, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Opens To $35M Weekend". Variety. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  28. ^ "TOP OPENING WEEKENDS BY MONTH". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  29. ^ Scott Bowles (September 27, 2014). "Sunday Box Office: 'The Equalizer' Nabs September Records; 'Maze Runner,' 'Boxtrolls' Take Youth Vote". Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  30. ^ Brent Lang (September 28, 2014). "Box Office: 'The Equalizer' Debuts to Smashing $35 Million". Variety. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  31. ^ Pamela McClintock (September 28, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Scores $35 Million Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  32. ^ Pamela McClintock (September 29, 2014). "International Box Office: 'Maze Runner' Beats 'Equalizer'; 'Lucy' Nears $400M Globally". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  33. ^ Scott Mendelson (September 28, 2014). "Box Office: Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' Opens To $35M Weekend". Forbes. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  34. ^ Nancy Tartagloine (September 28, 2014). "Int'l Box Office Update: 'The Equalizer' Clocks $17.8M In Debut; 'Maze Runner' Races To $91M Cume; More". Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  35. ^ Brent Lang (September 28, 2014). "'The Maze Runner' Tops Foreign Box Office for Second Week". Variety. Retrieved September 29, 2014. 
  36. ^ "The Equalizer". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 3, 2015. 
  37. ^ "The Equalizer Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  38. ^ "CinemaScore". 
  39. ^ "The Equalizer - DVD Release Dates". Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  40. ^ "High Def Digest | Blu-ray and Games News and Reviews in High Definition". Retrieved 2018-05-14. 
  41. ^ Sneider, Jeff (February 24, 2014). "Sequel to Denzel Washington Thriller 'Equalizer' Moves Forward as Sony Brings Back Writer Richard Wenk". Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  42. ^ Chitwood, Adam (24 February 2014). "Sony Developing THE EQUALIZER 2 Following Positive Test Scores; Denzel Washington Expected to Return". Collider. 
  43. ^ "'The Equalizer 2′ Moving Forward After Positive Test Screenings; Denzel Washington Expected To Return". Flicks and Bits. February 24, 2014. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. 
  44. ^ Lang, Brent (1 October 2014). "'Equalizer' Director Antoine Fuqua: 'I Don't Believe I Should Filter the Violence'". Variety. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  45. ^ "'Equalizer' Getting Sequel". Variety. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  46. ^ "THE EQUALIZER 2 Release Date Set for September 29, 2017". Collider. 11 June 2015. 
  47. ^ "Denzel Washington signs up to star in The Equalizer 2, the first sequel of his career". Retrieved September 23, 2016. 
  48. ^ "The Equalizer 2 confirmed, release date shifts to 2018". denofgeek. Retrieved 2016-12-20. 
  49. ^ "'The Equalizer 2' Pushes Up To August 2018; 'Paul, Apostle Of Christ' Eyes Easter Stretch". Deadline Hollywood. September 20, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017. 
  50. ^ Whitfill, Mary. "Denzel Washington to film new movie in Brant Rock". 

External linksEdit