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Why Denzel Washington Is Hollywood's Most Bankable Star

Denzel Washington in 2 Guns
Denzel Washington in 2 GunsPhotograph by Patti Perret/Universal Pictures via Everett Collection

A take of $27 million isn’t exactly an explosive summer opening, but the solid performance this weekend for the buddy-cop movie 2 Guns should clarify one thing: Denzel Washington is America’s most reliable movie star.

No, he hasn’t headlined giant blockbusters like Tom Cruise or Robert Downey Jr., and his biggest career weekend opening remains 2007’s American Gangster, with $43 million. But he’s managed a peerless consistency: Fourteen of his last 15 movies have opened wide to more than $20 million, stretching well over a decade. That includes dramas (Flight, Remember the Titans), crime tales (American Gangster), action flicks (Déjà vu, Man on Fire), and a Spike Lee joint (Inside Man,,which at $28.9 million is still Lee’s best opening to date).