Box Office: Denzel Washington’s ‘The Equalizer’ finds justice at no. 1 with $35 million

Denzel Washington is on a roll. The two-time Oscar winner had his seventh $20 million plus opening in a row this weekend after Antoine Fuqua's “The Equalizer” debuted to an potent $35 million.  That may not sound like a big achievement, but considering Washington hasn't filmed one franchise flick before “Equalizer” (which may or may not get a sequel, it's all on Denzel) and the first hit was over five years ago that's actually damn impressive.  Granted, the thriller's production budget was $55 million alone, but moviegoer reaction so far makes a $200 million global cume within reach. And if Sony Pictures can get a sequel out of it? Even better.

Last weekend's champ, “The Maze Runner,” earned another $17.5 million for $58 million in just 10 days. Comparatively, “Divergent” was already at $94 million at this point in its release.  “Runner” has a shot to get to $100 million, but it's going to need its core fan base to see it multiple times in the theater. Place your bets on that one.

“The Boxtrolls” blew off mixed reviews for a company best $17.25 million opening. LAIKA's previous top performer was “Coraline” which found $16.8 million in 2009.  “Boxtrolls” only earned a B+ Cinemascore, but with so little family fare in the marketplace LAIKA and distributor Focus Features have a shot at surpassing “ParaNorman's” $56 million cume from just two years ago. The stop-motion animated flick has already found $17.7 million overseas including over $5.5 million in the U.K.

“This Is Where I Leave You” took the fourth spot dropping an OK 39% with another $7 million and $22.5 million to date. The Warner Bros. dramedy is still looking at an eventual take of just $30-35 million, but with a reported $19.5 million production budget the loss could have been worse.

“Dolphin Tale 2” took the fifth slot with another $4.8 million and $33.6 million so far. It looks like the Alcon Entertainment and WB release will make at least $40 million domestic.

New films opening on Friday include David Fincher's “Gone Girl,” Warner Bros. “Conjuring” spin-off “Annabelle” and Freestyle Releasing's “Left Behind.”

Box office actuals are released on Monday.