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Denzel Washington still has plenty of firepower at the box office as his latest action film “The Equalizer” looks to be heading to an opening weekend in the $35-$37 million range.

With $12.6 million on Friday from 3,236 locations, the Sony release is performing significantly better than the studio’s initial estimates of an opening in the high-$20 millions. That’s the best opening ever for director Antoine Fuqua and one of Washington’s top debuts as well.

Produced for $55 million by Columbia Pictures, LStar Capital and Village Roadshow Pictures, “The Equalizer” also benefited from a glowing A- Cinemascore.

The weekend’s other wide opener, “The Boxtrolls” from Focus Features and Laika, took $4.93 million on Friday heading for a weekend of $16 million, which is in line with expectations. The stop-motion animated film opened in 3,464 locations.

Fox’s “The Maze Runner” will fight it out with “Boxtrolls” for the no. 2 spot. The young adult sci fi pic took $5 million Friday for a weekend also in the $16 million range, putting its cume after two weeks near $57 million.

Warner Bros. “This is Where I Leave You” took in another $2.2 million Friday for a possible $7 million weekend, heading to a $22 million cume in its second week.

A pair of pics in their third weekend should top last week’s opener “Walk Among the Tombstones” — Screen Gems “No Good Deed” is hanging in there with $1.35 million Friday for a projected $4.5 million weekend, finishing with a $46.5 million cume by Sunday, while Warner Bros. “Dolphin Tale 2” took $1.26 Friday for a weekend total of about $5 million.