Denzel Washington’s The Equalizer led the box office this weekend with a $35 million debut, proving that the veteran of Malcolm X and Remember the Titans is as popular as ever in the United States.
The thriller reunites Training Day director Antoine Fuqua with Washington, who saw the third-best debut of his career Friday and Saturday, following American Gangster ($43.6 million) in 2007, and Safe House ($40.2 million) in 2012, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The film, which earned strong reviews — including a positive one from TIME’s Richard Corliss—stars Washington as a former special forces member who comes out of a quiet life to battle violent Russian gangsters. It didn’t hurt that The Equalizer played in Imax theaters and and large-format screens, and also featured Eminem’s new single “Guts Over Fear.”
The second-biggest box office debut of the weekend, the 3D family film Boxtrolls, earned $17.3 million.