North American audiences could not resist the reteaming of Denzel Washington and his Training Day director Antoine Fuqua as action thriller The Equalizer opened top through Sony on an estimated $35m.

The film took approximately $5m worldwide on Imax and $3.3m from 352 North American screens. Overall box office for the top 12 releases climbed approximately 8% against last weekend and 3.8% against the comparable session in 2013.

The Equalizer shunted last weekend’s champion The Maze Runner into second place as the Fox release added $17.5m for $58m.

Meanwhile Focus Features released The Boxtrolls on $17.3m from 3,464 theatres – the best opening weekend for a Laika film so far when not adjusted for inflation.

The family film starring Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning and Richard Ayoade arrived in third place, just like its two predecessors.

ParaNorman opened on $14.1m from 3,429 theatres in August 2012 went on to gross $56m and more than $107m worldwide, while Coraline arrived in 2008 on $16.8m from 2,299 in February 2009 and delivered a $75.3m final haul, climbing to $124m worldwide. When adjusted for inflation,Coraline ranks as the best debutant on $18.6m.

The Liam Neeson mystery A Walk Among The Tombstones fell five places to number seven and has reached $20.9m through Universal after two weekends.

In limited release Samuel Goldwyn Films opened The Song on $600,000 from 340 sites and Pantelion rolled out horror title Mas Negro Que La Noche on $550,000 from 178.

CBS Films opened the comedic drama Pride on $84,800 from six venues and IFC opened Days And Nights on $6,700 in a single screen. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood stands at $23m through IFC after 12 sessions.

This week’s wide releases include David Fincher’s New York Film Festival opener Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike; Warner Bros’ horror film Annabelle; and thriller Left Behind through Freestyle Releasing.

Estimated Top 10 North America Sept 26-28 2014
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) The Equalizer (Sony) SPRI $35m –

2 (1) The Maze Runner (Fox) Fox International $17.5m $58m

3 (-) The Boxtrolls (Focus Features-Laika) UPI $17.3m –

4 (3) This Is Where I Leave You (Warner Bros) WBPI $7m $22.6m

5 (5) Dolphin Tale 2 (Warner Bros) WBPI $4.8m $33.7m

6 (4) No Good Deed (Screen Gems) SPRI $4.6m $46.6m

7 (2) A Walk Among The Tombstones (Universal) Bloom $4.2m $20.9m

8 (6) Guardians Of The Galaxy (Buena Vista/Marvel) WDSMPI $3.8m $319.2m

9 (7) Let’s Be Cops (Fox) Fox International $1.52m $79.6m

10 (8) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Paramount) PPI $1.45m $187.2m