Oscar Actors: Washington–What Makes Denzel Run?

The two-time Oscar-winner steers clear of blockbuster fare and superhero pictures, but his name above the title is a guarantee that his films will open well and perhaps even have legs at the box-office.

His new film, the thriller-actioner “The Equalizer,” hits theaters this weekend and is expected to gross between $28 million and $30 million.

“The Equalizer” reunites the “Training Day” team of Washington and director Antoine Fuqua, which will help stoke audience enthusiasm.

The gritty, hard-R thriller is a very loose adaptation of the CBS show about an urbane crime-fighting Brit — it keeps the vigilantism and special ops past and ups the violence. It pits Robert McCall (Washington) against Russian mobsters with a propensity for tattooing and brutality.

Produced by Sony Pictures and Village Roadshow for the modest budget (by today’s standards) of $55 million, “The Equalizer” will play in 3,234 locations.

“Denzel Washington doesn’t miss,” said Phil Contrino, vice president and chief analyst at BoxOffice.com. “He’s one of the last foolproof actors working. He hasn’t really had any bombs.”

Indeed, no film starring Washington has opened to less than $20 million since 2003’s “Out of Time.”

Over the course of his career, his films have brought in an impressive $2.1 billion, in addition to two Academy Awards, Supporting Actor in 1988 for “Glory” and Best Actor in 2001 for “Training Day.”

Remarkably, unlike Robert Downey Jr. or Christian Bale, Washington has gotten there without the benefit of a franchise.

Sony hopes that’s about to change and that the film will spark a new action series.