In a twist ending straight out of a movie, “The Equalizer 2” shot past “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ to steal the box office crown.
Going into the weekend, it looked like “Mamma Mia! 2” would easily debut at No. 1. Final numbers won’t come in until Monday, but weekend estimates show Sony’s “The Equalizer” sequel opened above estimates with $35.8 million when it launched in 3,388 locations, while Universal’s highly anticipated follow-up to “Mamma Mia!” debuted with $34.4 million from 3,317 screens.
“Equalizer 2,” the first sequel of Denzel Washington’s nearly four-decade long career, launched ahead of its predecessor. 2014’s “The Equalizer” opened with $35 million and went on to generate $192 million worldwide, including $101 million domestically.
Antoine Fuqua returned to direct “The Equalizer 2,” which also stars Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo, and Bill Pullman. Though it got a head start on the original film, reception has been less enthusiastic for the sequel, which currently holds a tepid 50% average on Rotten Tomatoes.
Though “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” couldn’t dance its way to the top of the domestic box office, its $34 million opening is still a win. The original “Mamma Mia!” hit theaters a decade ago with $27 million. It became a box office hit, amassing $615 million worldwide on a $52 million budget. Much like the first film, the sequel will likely be a smash overseas, where Swedish pop group ABBA has a huge following.
Much of the star-studded cast — including Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Colin Firth, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, and Dominic Cooper — returned for the second film. Lily James made her debut as a the younger version of Meryl Streep’s charming and carefree Donna, while living legend Cher also joined the cast. Ol Parker, the screenwriter behind “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” took over directing duties and penned the script.
The final wide release of the weekend, BH Tilt’s “Unfriended: Dark Web,” got off to a scary start. The low-budget horror film debuted way below projections with $3.5 million from 1,546 locations. That might not matter, considering the Blumhouse title carries a $1 million price tag. “Dark Web” is a standalone sequel to 2015’s “Unfriended.” That film became a cash cow, opening with $15 million and going on to earn $64 million from a $41 million budget.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Variety, Rebecca Rubin