With a career spanning more than three decades and countless hit films to his credit, Denzel Washington has become a household name, and the nearly 60-year-old actor proved he’s still got star power as his new movie The Equalizer topped the box office this weekend.
Washington carried the new thriller to a $35 million debut weekend according to early estimates from industry trackers at Rentrak.
The new hit film brings Washington back together with his Training Day director Antoine Fuqua. The plot is based on the 1980’s TV series of the same name, which focused on a lethal vigilante seeking revenge.
Fuqua previously directed Washington in 2001’s “Training Day,” which ultimately earned Washington his first Oscar for Best Actor after he had been nominated in the same category and lost for performances in Malcolm X and The Hurricane. He won his first Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor category for 1989’s Glory.
The Equalizer appears to be Washington’s third-best opening weekend, according to the AP, which reports that only 2012’s Safe House at $40.1 million and 2007’s American Gangster at $43.6 million outperformed.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak, place The Maze Runner and The Boxtrolls in a distant second and third place behind the new action thriller.
In one of the movie’s pivotal scenes, Washington’s character, Robert McCall, is told “sometimes we make the wrong choices to get to the right places.”
Washington confessed earlier this year he’d made what he considers to be a “wrong choice” during his career turning down the lead role in the 1995 hit movie Seven.
“I turned down the movie Seven. That was a mistake,” Washington told theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon earlier this month. “I just didn’t think anybody was going to see it. I don’t know what I made instead, I can’t remember, but I turned [Seven] down. I guess Brad Pitt is happy about that.”
Many have speculated that The Equalizer could become Washington’s first film franchise.
“People have talked about it,” the movie star acknowledged in that interview. “Even today. I remember talking with the studio, and I’m like, ‘let’s make one good one.’ We don’t wanna say, well we’ll get ’em next time. We want them wanting the next one. So we did everything we could to hopefully make that happen.”
If the initial box office sales are any indication, it looks like Washington and Fuqua might have successfully hooked American moviegoers onto a new franchise.