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The reign of the summer sequels continues.


On the one hand, that’s no surprise: for the tenth weekend in a row, sequels and/or prequels dominated the top two spots at the North American box office. The surprise came with the order of the top two films. While Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was widely expected to debut in first place, according to studio estimates it was narrowly beaten out by a stronger-than-anticipated opening for the action follow-up The Equalizer 2.


Coming in a tad higher than the first Equalizer‘s $34.1 million, the Denzel Washington follow-up grossed an estimated $35.8 million on 3,388 screens. That far exceeded the studio’s expectations going into the weekend, as their conservative projections had it finishing in the ballpark of $25 million. While the follow-up had only a so-so average of 51% on Rotten Tomatoes, when it comes to male-driven movies of this ilk, critical notices tend not to matter as much. Indeed, opening day audiences awarded the R-rated film an “A” Cinemascore, suggesting that its target demo was more than satisfied.


Denzel Washington’s breakout turn as a former CIA black ops agent who comes out of retirement to avenge society’s ills echoes what Liam Neeson did with the Taken franchise, which similarly gave that actor a late-career boost as a bona fide action star. For comparison’s sake, Taken 2 debuted to $49.5 million in October 2012 vs. the first film’s $24.7 million, though its descent down the charts was considerably more rapid than its predecessor and it ultimately finished with a lower total in North America ($139.8 million vs. $145 million). Given that Equalizer 2 opened almost exactly in line with the first film in that series, it will be interesting to see if it can similarly top $100 million domestically by the end of its run. For the record, this is Washington’s fourth film with director Antoine Fuqua and their third hit, with the only misfire from the two being the Western revival The Magnificent Seven back in 2016.


Almost exactly ten years after the first Mamma Mia! debuted to $27.7 million, Universal’s Here We Go Again improved upon that film’s performance (even adjusting for inflation) with an estimated $34.3 million in its opening weekend. While an impressive total, that’s slightly below what many were predicting, allowing Equalizer 2 to sneak away with the weekend crown (at least according to estimates). Reviews for the sequel were much stronger than for the original (78% to 54% on Rotten Tomatoes), while the Cinemascore for both was an encouraging “A-“. It’s worth noting that the opening weekend audience for the follow-up was massively female (83% to 17%), while 64% were over the age of 25.


Given its higher opening weekend tally, it will be interesting to see how Here We Go Again holds up in the weeks ahead. The first Mamma Mia! was a leggy performer, never dropping more than 40 percent weekend-to-weekend in its first two months of release and ultimately finishing with $144.1 million in North America, representing a fantastic 5.2x weekend-to-final multiplier. Perhaps a more apt comparison for Here We Go Again would be 2015’s Pitch Perfect 2, which debuted to a massive $69.2 million but proved considerably more front-loaded than the first movie, ultimately finishing with $184.2 million and a 2.6x weekend-to-final multiplier. If Here We Go Again were to follow a similar trajectory, we’d be looking at a final gross somewhere in the range of $90 million, though it seems likely to surpass the $100 million mark if the first film’s leggy performance is any indication. Despite losing out on a No. 1 debut (though there’s a slight possibility that could change once final grosses come in tomorrow), this is a fantastic opening that proves the Mamma Mia! franchise is alive and well after a decade-long hiatus.


Last weekend’s champ Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation dropped 47 percent from its $44 million debut last weekend, bringing in an estimated $23.1 million in its sophomore frame and a strong total of $91 million after ten days. Though that’s a heftier dip than either of the first two films in their respective sophomore frames, HT3 has benefitted from strong midweek business given its release at the height of summer when most kids are out of school. Next weekend could prove to be a more competitive frame in terms of the family audience, as it will be contending with the release of Warner Bros.’ animated Teen Titans Go! To The Movies.


In fourth place, Disney-Marvel’s Ant-Man and The Wasp dipped another 44 percent to an estimated $16.1 million, giving the MCU sequel a healthy $164.4 million after three weeks of release. That puts the film roughly 24 percent ahead of the first Ant-Man at the same point in its run and within spitting distance of that movie’s $180.2 million final total. It should easily surpass that amount by the end of next weekend, as well as the lifetime totals of MCU stablemates Captain America: The First Avenger ($176.6 million) and Thor ($181 million).


Continuing strong in fifth places was Disney’s Incredibles 2, which took in an estimated $11.5 million in weekend number six. Easing just 29 percent from its performance last weekend, Disney-Pixar’s animated blockbuster now stands at a massive $557.3 million in North America, with still plenty of wind left in its sails.


In sixth place, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom added an estimated $11 million to its total, giving it a fantastic $383.9 million cume after five weeks in theaters and vaulting it to No. 34 on the all-time domestic chart.


Dropping all the way down to seventh place in its second weekend was Universal’s Skyscraper, which dipped to an estimated $10.9 million, or about 56 percent below its opening weekend gross. That gives the action film just $46.7 million after ten days of release, a considerably lower total than a typical Dwayne Johnson vehicle at the same point in its run. By comparison, April’s Rampage had $65.6 million after ten days of release, while San Andreas had $98.4 million. Indeed, based on its current trajectory Skyscraper is shaping up to be a rare misfire for the actor on the domestic front, and it should finish in roughly the same territory as last year’s similarly-underperforming Baywatch, which finished its run with $58 million in North America. That said, the film is making up considerable ground overseas (see below).


Eighth went to Universal horror prequel The First Purge, which brought in an estimated $4.98 million for a total of $60.1 million after 17 days of release.


The weekend’s other wide opener was horror sequel Unfriended: Dark Web, which grossed an okay $3.4 million in 1,546 locations. That’s a far cry from the $15.8 million debut of the first Unfriended back in April 2015, though that film had a much wider release (2,739 theaters) courtesy of Universal (Dark Web was released by Blumhouse distributor BH Tilt). Nonetheless, this is a low-budget effort that stands as one of BH Tilt’s better debuts, standing alongside such titles as this year’s Upgrade ($4.6 million opening) and 2016’s The Darkness ($4.9 million opening).


Rounding out the Top 10 is Annapurna’s critically-acclaimed Sorry To Bother You, which added 245 locations and dipped 33 percent to an estimated $2.8 million in its second weekend of wide release (and its third weekend overall). The cume for the Boots Riley-directed film now stands at $10.2 million.


Limited Release:


Lionsgate released Blindspotting on 14 screens and earned an estimated $332,500, good for a healthy per-screen average of $23,750. The drama, which follows a man (Daveed Diggs) on his final three days of probation in Oakland, California, was boosted by strong critical reviews (it currently stands at 91% on Rotten Tomatoes) and is slated for a national expansion next weekend.


Also opening in limited release was Bleecker Street’s McQueen, which debuted to an estimated $96,928 in just four theaters. That gave the documentary on late fashion designer Alexander McQueen a sturdy per-screen average of $24,232.


After debuting last weekend to the best per-screen average of the year so far, A24’s Eighth Grade continued strong in its expansion to 33 screens with an estimated $794,370. That represents another strong per-screen average of $24,072 and a total of $1.1 million as it inches towards a wide national rollout on August 3.


Overseas Update:


Despite underperforming Stateside, Skyscraper was the No. 1 film overseas this weekend thanks to a boffo opening in China, where it brought in $47.7 million. That’s slightly below the $55 million opening of Rampage and the $52.5 million opening of San Andreas in the country, which has become an increasingly key component of Johnson’s continuing bankability as an international box office star. Skyscraper‘s international total now stands at $129.2 million and its global cume is $179.5 million.


Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again debuted to a strong $42.4 million in 41 markets, giving it a worldwide debut to $76.7 million. Notable openings included the U.K. and Ireland ($13.1 million) and Australia ($5 million).


Hotel Transylvania 3 racked up an estimated $37.7 million in 51 markets, bringing its international total to $115.6 million and its global total to $206.7 million.


Ant-Man and the Wasp took in an estimated $21.6 million internationally, giving it an overseas cume of $188.9 million and a global total of $353.5 million.


Incredibles 2 inched ever closer to the $1 billion global mark this weekend with an estimated $36.5 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total to $940.4 million. It posted strong openings in both Korea and Hong Kong and has yet to open in several key markets including Japan, Spain, Italy, and Germany.


With another $17.3 million overseas, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom‘s international total now stands at a dino-sized $813 million and $1.196 billion globally.



Studio Weekend Estimates (Domestic)
FRI, JUL. 20 – SUN, JUL. 22


WIDE (1000+)



#
TITLE
WEEKEND

LOCATIONS

AVG.
TOTAL
WKS.
DIST.




1
The Equalizer 2
$35,825,000

3,388

$10,574
$35,825,000
1
Sony / Columbia


2
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
$34,380,000

3,317

$10,365
$34,380,000
1
Universal Pictures


3
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
$23,150,000
-47%
4,267
0
$5,425
$91,089,268
4
Sony / Columbia


4
Ant-Man and the Wasp
$16,126,000
-45%
3,778
-428
$4,268
$164,624,292
3
Disney


5
Incredibles 2
$11,520,000
-29%
3,164
-541
$3,641
$557,335,440
6
Disney


6
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
$11,005,000
-32%
3,381
-314
$3,255
$383,906,505
5
Universal


7
Skyscraper
$10,960,000
-56%
3,822
40
$2,868
$46,749,120
2
Universal Pictures


8
The First Purge
$4,980,000
-47%
2,331
-707
$2,136
$60,191,365
3
Universal Pictures


9
Unfriended: Dark Web
$3,495,000

1,546

$2,261
$3,495,000
1
OTL Releasing


10
Sorry To Bother You
$2,823,000
-33%
1,050
245
$2,689
$10,252,204
3
Annapurna Pictures


11
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
$1,880,000
-52%
1,448
-558
$1,298
$47,085,653
4
Sony / Black Label


12
Ocean’s 8
$1,575,000
-46%
1,002
-616
$1,572
$135,639,512
7
Warner Bros.


13
Uncle Drew
$1,525,000
-52%
1,237
-465
$1,233
$40,027,474
4
Lionsgate / Summit





LIMITED (100 — 999)



#
TITLE
WEEKEND

LOCATIONS

AVG.
TOTAL
WKS.
DIST.




1
Three Identical Strangers
$1,431,800
19%
332
166
$4,313
$4,602,040
4
Neon


2
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
$1,305,000
-33%
730
-138
$1,788
$18,408,027
7
Focus Features


3
Leave No Trace
$891,545
-24%
361
50
$2,470
$3,613,438
4
Bleeker Street


4
Tag (2018)
$683,000
-47%
581
-401
$1,176
$52,825,783
6
Warner Bros.


5
Deadpool 2
$460,000
-42%
373
-215
$1,233
$317,107,440
10
Fox


6
Avengers: Infinity War
$402,000
-35%
294
-81
$1,367
$676,835,522
13
Disney


7
Hereditary
$253,000
-41%
201
-104
$1,259
$43,474,994
7
A24


8
Solo: A Star Wars Story
$221,000
-46%
208
-107
$1,063
$212,395,307
9
Disney


9
Sanju
$220,000
-57%
112
-111
$1,964
$7,630,868
4
FIP


10
RBG
$168,000
-36%
116
-36
$1,448
$13,115,887
12
Magnolia Pictures


11
Book Club
$150,000
-48%
241
-70
$622
$68,163,184
10
Paramount Pictures


12
Whitney
$118,470
-78%
117
-291
$1,013
$2,795,206
3
Roadside Attractions


13
A Quiet Place
$75,000
-10%
108
48
$694
$187,745,159
16
Paramount


14
Adrift
$70,000
-61%
131
-54
$534
$31,340,751
8
STX Entertainment


15
Black Panther
$25,000
80%
154
126
$162
$699,931,862
23
Disney





PLATFORM (1 — 99)



#
TITLE
WEEKEND

LOCATIONS

AVG.
TOTAL
WKS.
DIST.




1
Eighth Grade
$794,370
201%
33
29
$24,072
$1,197,171
2
A24


2
Blindspotting
$332,500

14

$23,750
$332,500
1
Lionsgate / Summit


3
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
$265,360
218%
62
58
$4,280
$380,385
2
Amazon Studios


4
McQueen
$96,928

4

$24,232
$96,928
1
Bleecker Street


5
Soorma
$78,000
-54%
50
0
$1,560
$329,447
2
Sony Pictures Releasing International


6
Hearts Beat Loud
$63,867
-51%
90
-40
$710
$2,258,406
7
Gunpowder & Sky


7
Yellow Submarine (2018 re-release)
$60,772
-58%
71
-16
$856
$682,075
3
Abramorama


8
Generation Wealth
$33,602

4

$8,401
$33,602
1
Amazon Studios / Magnolia Pictures


9
The King
$33,250
1%
41
23
$811
$162,589
5
Oscilloscope Laboratories


10
Boundaries
$31,137
-58%
51
-94
$611
$633,888
5
Sony Pictures Classics


11
American Animals
$30,625
-57%
40
-41
$766
$2,778,191
8
The Orchard


12
Running for Grace
$27,042

3

$9,014
$27,042
1
Blue Fox Entertainment


13
Far From The Tree
$20,034

1

$20,034
$20,034
1
IFC Films / Sundance Selects


14
Wanda
$10,230

1

$10,230
$10,230
1
Janus Films


15
Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda
$6,500
-59%
2
-1
$3,250
$52,217
3
Cartilage Films


16
Chappaquiddick
$690
-58%
2
-1
$345
$17,393,586
16
Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures



The post Studio Weekend Estimates: ‘Equalizer 2’ Surprise No. 1 w/ $35.8M; ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Settles for 2nd w/ $34.3M appeared first on BoxOffice Pro.




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