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The Equalizer 3 Release Date, Cast, Trailer, Plot And More Details

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In 2014, audiences were treated to "The Equalizer," a violent action film loosely based on a 1980s CBS primetime action drama. Denzel Washington starred as Robert McCall, a former Marine and Defense Intelligence Agent who uses his physical and intellectual strength to help those with no one else to turn to. His under-the-table dealings often lead to violent encounters across his home base of Massachusetts, and occasionally overseas.

The film, directed by Antoine Fuqua, was successful enough to pave the way for a 2018 sequel "The Equalizer 2." While that film very nearly matched the box office and critical reception of the first and had an open ending that would allow for further adventures, news remained dead silent about subsequent sequels since its release. However, fans are now beginning to have their faith rewarded, as some exciting details have broken "The Equalizer 3," which is, in fact, happening, and scheduled for a 2023 release. Here's all we know about the movie so far. 

When will The Equalizer 3 be released?

Film distributor Sony Pictures has solidified a release date of Friday, September 1, 2023, for its long-awaited "The Equalizer 3." This puts it back in the company of the first film, which debuted on September 26, 2014, in the United States, whereas "The Equalizer 2" was released on July 20, 2018, though its summer premiere date didn't help it become more financially successful than its predecessor. Both films took in about $190 million each at the worldwide box office.

This date does however set the film up to be a Labor Day weekend favorite among adult audiences, assuming it receives an R rating from the MPAA, as did the first two films (via FilmRatings). Labor Day 2023 falls on Monday, September 4.

What is the plot of The Equalizer 3?

In "The Equalizer" and "The Equalizer 2," Denzel Washington's Robert McCall is a former active duty Marine turned vigilante, fighting off adversarial European gangsters and then avenging the death of a friend over events in the first film. At the outset of "The Equalizer 3," McCall is just trying to find some calm and happiness after a life characterized by death, violence, and trauma. He seems to have found it, decamping to an idyllic and peaceful village in the south of Italy. McCall thought he'd given up his days as a hired gun and assassin with government ties, and he would have liked to, but he's got little choice than to allow himself to be pulled back into the world in which he knows so well. McCall has made a lot of new friends in Italy, but learns that they're all living under the thumb of some powerful area crime lords. After a shocking death of a close associate, McCall goes into protector mode and decides to take on well-armed and wicked underworld villains once again.

Who is starring in The Equalizer 3?

Denzel Washington will reprise his role as taciturn, violence-oriented fixer and champion of the oppressed Robert McCall for "The Equalizer 3." However, virtually none of the supporting cast carried over from the first film to the second, so it's not a far stretch to imagine a similar fate for the cast of "The Equalizer 2," especially since the three-quel moves the action to Italy.

Joining Washington at the top of the cast list is Dakota Fanning. It's a reunion for the pair, who last starred in "Man on Fire" together, back in 2004. In "The Equalizer 3," Fanning plays a CIA agent assigned to the area where Washington's character lives, in response to news of violent activities. David Denman, best known as Roy on "The Office," plays a yet-to-be divulged role.

Rounding out the cast of the Italy-based film are several up-and-coming and established actors familiar to fans of Italian movies and TV series. Gaia Scodellaro (best known to English-language viewers for "You, Me, and the Apocalypse") has a significant role in "The Equalizer 3," as do Eugenio Mastrandrea ("From Scratch"), Remo Girone ("Ford v. Ferrari"), Sonia Ammar ("Scream"), Daniele Perrone ("Baaria"), Andrea Scarduzio ("Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One") and Andrea Dodero ("The Good Mothers").

Who is directing and writing The Equalizer 3?

Antoine Fuqua, who cut his directorial teeth on hip-hop and R&B music videos in the 1990s before moving on to action movies. He found huge success with his third feature directorial effort, the police thriller "Training Day," which won star Denzel Washington his second Academy Award. Over the past two decades, Fuqua and Washington collaborated a few more times — the former directed the latter in "The Equalizer" and "The Equalizer 2" in 2014 and 2018, respectively. Fuqua was the obvious choice, then, to guide the franchise to the big screen for the third time. 

Fuqua directed "The Equalizer 3" from a script by action movie screenplay specializer Richard Wenk. In addition to writing the 2016 remake of "The Magnificent Seven" (directed by Fuqua), "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back," and "The Expendables 2," he also penned the scripts for the first two movies in the "Equalizer" saga, so he's familiar with the characters and this updated, modern cinematic universe based on a 1980s TV show.

Is there a trailer for The Equalizer 3?

In April 2023, Sony Pictures drummed up interest in the still far-off release of the third chapter in its series of "The Equalizer" movies with the first official trailer for "The Equalizer 3." After some graphically rendered shots of some brutal gunshot murders in an Italian villa, in comes Denzel Washington as expert vigilante Robert McCall, seemingly caught by some bad guys while a clock ticks down to someone's ignominious end. Then the trailer flashes back to how the characters arrived at that point. American expatriate McCall lives happily in a peaceful and picturesque Italian town, hanging out in cafés and restaurants and making friends with many of the welcoming locals. Of course, that all quickly falls away. A car explodes, people die, and a ruthless gang of underworld toughs makes its presence known, intimidating those who they don't kill or attack. McCall refuses to back down, and after showing one underling the violence of which he's capable, he sets out on a focused, one-man mission to avenge deaths of the innocent and lay waste to the guilty — with the assistance of an observant American agent portrayed by Dakota Fanning.

Is The Equalizer 3 the last Equalizer movie?

While promoting "The Equalizer 3," Sony Pictures Entertainment heralded the movie as "the final chapter" in the saga of Robert McCall. But if the third entry proves as popular at the box office as the previous two blockbuster films in the series did, and the director gets his wish, there could certainly be more "Equalizer" content in the future.

In a pre-release interview for "The Equalizer 3," director and producer Antoine Fuqua talked up his idea for a prequel, utilizing de-aging technology to allow star Denzel Washington to portray a much younger McCall. "I thought about it a lot. Especially now with the new technology and the AI and all that kind of stuff," Fuqua told NME. "Is there a story to be told about how [the central character] became this person — the younger version." He's even discussed the finer points of what would be an "Equalizer" origin story with franchise screenwriter Richard Wenk, but has yet to seriously discuss the idea with Washington. "It's all so fresh and new," Fuqua added.

Where to watch previous Equalizer movies

Before "The Equalizer 3" arrives in theaters in September 2023, fans might want to reacquaint themselves with the characters, themes, and vibes of the franchise, dormant since the release of the last movie in the series way back in 2018. Fortunately, both "The Equalizer" and "The Equalizer 2" are readily available across multiple streaming outlets.

The initial "The Equalizer" from 2014 is part of the catalog of older titles available on Starz. It's free to watch on-demand for those whose cable TV packages include the premium channel, or who subscribe to Starz' standalone, $4.99-a-month service. Viewers can also pay $4.49 to rent the film from Amazon's Prime Video, or $16.29 to own a digital copy.

As for "The Equalizer 2," it's also out there in the digital world, but in different places. It's available to watch for free with a subscription to Hulu, or can be watched for a fee at Prime Video. Amazon charges $3.99 for a rental, and $14.99 for a purchase.