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Denzil’s Equalizer makes box office debut

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Denzil’s Equalizer makes box office debut

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NEW YORK (AP) – Flexing his star power, Denzel Washington led the thriller The Equalizer to a US$35 million debut, according to studio estimates today.

The Sony-Columbia Pictures release dominated the weekend box office, surpassing some expectations for the film. Washington plays a former commando living a quiet life in Boston when the disappearance of a prostitute acquaintance (Chloe Grace Moretz) lures him into a battle with the Russian mafia.

The strong opening marks the third-best debut in Washington’s career, trailing only 2012’s Safe House ($40.1 million) and 2007’s American Gangster ($43.6 million). Washington, who will turn 60 in December, has been one of Hollywood’s most reliable draws without the benefit of anything like a superhero franchise.

“He’s the very model of box-office consistency,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker Rentrak. “I can’t think of another star that’s this consistent, that remains this rock solid over the course of three decades.”

The Equalizer reteams Washington with director Antoine Fuqua, “who helmed 2001’s Training Day. That film memorably earned Washington an Oscar for best actor. A sequel to The Equalizer, which is loosely based on the ‘80s CBS series, is already in development.

“We feel like we have a real opportunity with a sequel and a possible franchise with this film,” said Rory Bruer, head of distribution for Sony.

Last weekend’s top performer, the young-adult novel adaptation The Maze Runner, starring Dylan O’Brien, slid to second with $17.5 million in its second week. The 20th Century Fox release also has a sequel in the works, due out next September

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to Rentrak.

1. The Equalizer, $35 million ($17.8 million international).

2. The Maze Runner, $17.5 million ($27.5 million international).

3. The Boxtrolls, $17.2 million ($5.1 million international).

4. This Is Where I Leave You, $7 million.

5. Dolphin Tale 2, $4.8 million.

6. No Good Deed, $4.6 million.

7. A Walk Among the Tombstones, $4.2 million ($2.1 million international).

8. Guardians of the Galaxy, $3.8 million ($4 million international).

9. Let’s Be Cops, $1.5 million ($1 million international).

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, $1.5 million ($3.9 million international).