Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson in "Lucy." (Universal Pictures)


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "The Equalizer", a thriller starring Denzel Washington as a man who helps rescue a teenage girl under the control of Russian gangsters, debuted in the top spot on U.S. and Canadian movie charts over the weekend with $35 million in ticket sales.

Young adult drama "The Maze Runner" dropped to second place after winning the box office race last weekend. "Maze Runner" earned $17.5 million at domestic theaters from Friday through Sunday, according to tracking firm Rentrak.

Quirky animated movie "The Boxtrolls" starring green monsters that wear cardboard finished third in its opening weekend, grossing $17.3 million.

In "The Equalizer" two-time Oscar winner Washington plays McCall, a trained killer who comes to the defense of the helpless, in this case a young Russian prostitute (Chloë Grace Moretz) in the grips of a human trafficking ring.

"Maze Runner" stars MTV "Teen Wolf" heartthrob Dylan O'Brien as one of a group of boys living in an isolated paradise where they are trapped by a giant, moving concrete maze.

"Boxtrolls" was made by hand using stop-motion technology, where each scene is set up with puppets placed on miniature sets. The 3D film features the voices of Ben Kingsley and Elle Fanning.

Sony Corp's movie studio released "The Equalizer". "The Maze Runner" was distributed by 20th Century Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox. "Boxtrolls" was released by Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures.







(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Andrea Burzynski, editing by Aidan Martindale)