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Box office update: 'Equalizer' levels competition with nearly $13 million Friday

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Denzel Washington and director Antoine Fuqua continue to make an unstoppable duo. The Equalizer, starring a fierce Washington as a former black ops agent drawn back into the game by a troubled prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz) who’s targeted by Russian gangsters, raked in an impressive $12.6 million on Friday. Early bets from Sony low-balled first weekend numbers in the high 20-millions range. Estimates now suggest the movie will pull in closer to $36 million by weekend’s end, buoyed by Washington’s reliable charisma and A- CinemaScore reviews. A sequel is already in the works, which would be the first of Washington’s long and impressive career.

Meanwhile, the weekend’s other wide The Boxtrolls, Focus and Laika’s offering about some fantastical creatures who tenderly raise an orphaned human boy, landed third place with $4.93 million. The stop-motion animated film is looking to pull in a $16 million weekend kitty, which is right in line with studio predictions. It’ll have a shot at grabbing the No. 2 spot if kids turn out as expected on Saturday and Sunday.

In its second week of release, the YA adaptation The Maze Runner pulled in $5.2 million, on track for a $16 million opening. The family drama This is Where I Leave You, an adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s sharp opus of messy grown up siblings gathered together in mourning, takes the fourth spot with $2.2 million and Liam Neeson’s A Walk Among the Tombstones tip toes down to fifth with a modest $1.3 million. Parents looking for some down time keep Dolphin Tale 2 afloat. The wholesome sequel ties at No. 5 with the grisly Walk.

1. The Equalizer  $12.6 million

2. The Maze Runner  $5.2 million

3. The Boxtrolls  $4.9 million

4. This is Where I Leave You  $2.2 million

5. A Walk Among the Tombstones  $1.3 million

5. Dolphin Tale 2 — $1.3 million

Check back here tomorrow morning for a full weekend report.