For decades, Denzel Washington has proven himself one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men. However, in a career that includes countless hit films and two Academy Awards, there’s one part of the business that’s always eluded him. Washington has never starred in a sequel.
That started to look like that would soon change when last year’s The Equalizer was released. The action thriller – based on the 1980s television series – stars Washington as Robert McCall, a retired government black ops agent who is drawn into a showdown with the Russian Mafia (read our review). Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), it brought in $192 million at the worldwide box office (against a production budget of $55 million) and was tailor-made to turn into a franchise. Now we know when the sequel will officially happen.
We knew that this sequel was in the works, and it’s reassuring that the studio already has its eyes on a release date. There’s no indication what the sequel’s story will be yet, but the first film’s conclusion left the door wide open for Washington’s character to continue helping people in need. This would allow each film to serve as a standalone adventure and keep the franchise light on its feet, with only Washington (and Fuqua?) as the connecting thread.
In a time when seemingly every other actor working today is latching on to a superhero role, The Equalizer could easily be Washington’s chance to serve as a Punisher-type character (as opposed to the new Frank Castle fans will meet next year). Moreover, a sequel is an instant slam-dunk for the studio, especially if it manages to retain the same core creative team and the modest budget of its predecessor.