BUSINESS

Denzel Washington's 'The Equalizer' debuts with $35 million

09/28/2014 01:00 EDT | Updated 11/28/2014 05:59 EST
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Flexing a rare kind of star power, Denzel Washington led the thriller "The Equalizer" to a $35 million debut, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Columbia Pictures release dominated the weekend box office, coming out ahead of some forecasts for the film. In it, Washington plays a former commando lured into a battle with the Russian mafia.

The strong opening marks the third-best debut in Washington's career, trailing only "Safe House" and "American Gangster."

Last weekend's top-performer, the young adult novel adaptation "The Maze Runner" slid to second with $17.5 million in its second week.

The stop-motion animated release "The Boxtrolls" opened in third with $17.3 million. It's the best opening yet for the Oregon-based animation studio, whose previous films are "Coraline" and "ParaNorman."