Denzel Washington’s ‘The Equalizer’ Tops Weekly Box Office

Denzel Washington is back, and he has reclaimed Hollywood’s top spot for the week.

Washington’s latest film, The Equalizer, raked in $35 million on a rather brisk week, far outdistancing its nearest competitor, The Maze Runner, which totaled $17.5 million according to the Huffington Post.

This marks Washington’s third highest opening week total of his career, behind 2007’s American Gangster ($43.6 million) and 2012’s Safe House ($40.1 million). Washington has been able to maintain a career as a sustainable box office draw without benefit of a superhero movie, any kind of sequel or a 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 is already in development. This could very well be Washington’s first franchise film.

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 film is loosely adapted from the CBS series of the same name, which starred Edward Woodward (Breaker Morant). The television show ran from 1985 to 1989.

Forbes Magazine is stating the main reason for the early success of the movie is not its roots in television history, but its star power. Washington is still considered a major movie draw, one of the few names left in Hollywood who can have such an effect.

The reason Washington excels to this day as a top box office draw is he continues to give his audience what they want from him; smart, fast action and good acting. Washington has never deviated from that formula, and it works well for him.

Washington is a movie star because he is the biggest and most important item in all of his movies, and yet, they still all are able to score notable opening weekends. Somewhat diverse films like Remember the Titans, John Q, Training Day, American Gangster, Unstoppable, Flight, and now, The Equalizer, all garnered $20 million+ weekends, with a few hitting $30m+ (The Equalizer, The Book of Eli) or $40m+ (American Gangster, SafeHouse).

But the kind of old-school star vehicles, often referred to as “meat and potatoes entertainment” that made the likes of Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise into movie stars without always requiring them to carry a gun and/or kill people, are an endangered species for most of our would-be movie stars past and present.

Washington is a survivor, which is probably the biggest reason why he excels to this day.

[Image courtesy of Hitflix]

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