Denzel Washington has no equal at the box office this weekend.
The actor’s gritty action sequel The Equalizer 2 is on track to open with an estimated $35.8 million in ticket sales at 3,388 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, outperforming its predecessor and earning Sony a surprise victory over Universal’s ABBA-fueled musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which will take in about $34.4 million.
Heading into the weekend, industry projections put The Equalizer 2 (or “The Sequelizer,” if you will) in the $25 million to $30 million range, but it should clear those marks as well as the $34 million bow of the first Equalizer in 2014. (That film went on to earn $192.3 million at the global box office.) The Equalizer 2 will add about $3.3 million in foreign markets this weekend.
Once again directed by Antoine Fuqua, and marking the first sequel of Washington’s career, The Equalizer 2 finds retired special-ops agent Robert McCall (Washington) exacting bloody revenge after one of his friends is killed. Critics’ reviews were unenthusiastic, but audiences gave it a solid A CinemaScore, suggesting good word-of-mouth prospects.
Though it won’t top The Equalizer 2, fellow sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again will also outdo its forerunner on opening weekend, as the original Mamma Mia! debuted to $27.8 million a decade ago. The latter film ultimately raked in $609.8 million at the worldwide box office, most of which came overseas. For Here We Go Again, its opening is squarely in line with industry projections, which were in $30 million to $35 million range. Overseas, it will earn about $42.4 million this weekend.
Featuring a star-studded cast including Lily James, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, and Cher, Here We Go Again continues the first film’s multigenerational story of love and family, and also flashes back to reveal how hotelier Donna (played by James and Streep) came to be on the Greek island of Kalokairi.
Reviews for Here We Go Again were generally positive, and moviegoers gave it an A-minus CinemaScore.
Also arriving this weekend, though less successfully, is OTL Releasing and Blumhouse Tilt’s cyber-thriller Unfriended: Dark Web. The follow-up to 2014’s Unfriended is on track to open with about $3.5 million (at 1,546 theaters), good for ninth place.
Made on a shoestring budget of about $1 million, Dark Web was expected to open with $6 million to $8 million. Reviews were mixed, and audiences gave it a C CinemaScore.
Three holdovers round out the top five this weekend: Hotel Transylvania 3, with about $23.2 million; Ant-Man and the Wasp, with about $16.1 million; and Incredibles 2, with about $11.5 million.
According to ComScore, overall box office is up 8.1 percent year-to-date. Check out the July 20-22 figures below.
1.The Equalizer 2 — $35.8 million
2. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again — $34.4 million
3. Hotel Transylvania 3 — $23.2 million
4. Ant-Man and the Wasp — $16.1 million
5. Incredibles 2 — $11.5 million
6. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — $11 million
7. Skyscraper — $11 million
8. The First Purge — $5 million
9. Unfriended: Dark Web — $3.5 million
10. Sorry to Bother You — $2.8 million