Three new sequels aim to please U.S. audiences this weekend, with star-studded ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!’, Denzel Washington’s ‘Equalizer 2’, and Blumhouse’s ‘Unfriended: Dark Web’ dropping into thousands of cinemas each. ‘Mamma Mia 2’, the successor of the 2008 bombshell that hit a high note of $615.7m worldwide (4th biggest musical ever), is set exactly 10 years on from the first and sees the return of (but not limited to) Donna (Streep) and Sophie (Amanda), and the introduction of Andy Garcia and Lily James.
Hoping to better ‘Mamma Mia’s unspectacular $27.8m opening, ‘MM2’ will also be aware that any opening above $30m would ensure it’s one of the 5 biggest Musical openings ever – and with a warm reception (80% on the Tomatometer), this may just happen. We’re expecting a gross around $36m, to sit comfortably between 2007s ‘Enchanted’ ($34.4m) and 2008s ‘High School Musical 3’ ($42m), but a far cry from 2017s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in number one ($174.8m).
It’s not the size of the opening that matters here, however, as musicals generally have strong Box Office lungs (‘The Greatest Showman’ is still in U.S. cinemas 8 months on). The previous film in 2008 achieved a phenomenal 5.19x opening weekend multiplier, for a domestic finish of $144.1m. ‘MM2’ is destined to be more front-loaded, but a domestic finish over $100m is almost ensured, and a huge worldwide gross to offset its $70m production cost is a guarantee, leaving many wondering, why didn’t this film come sooner?
Two Sony films battle for second place in ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ and ‘Equalizer 2’, and it’s looking like a close fight between the pair. While ‘HT3’ is looking to check in ahead of its prequels at just over $26m, Denzel Washington’s first ever sequel ‘E2’ is failing to hit ‘The Equaliser’s target of $34.1m – a target that then reached $101.5m in the States and $192.3m worldwide. ‘E2’s underwhelming RT score pales in comparison (41% vs. 60%), and is looking at a drop similar to ‘London Has Fallen’, which opened at 29% under director Antoine Fuqua’s ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ back in 2016. A similar-ish drop gives both Fuqua and Denzel (in their 4th film together) a $25.5m opening, a long-shot away from original tracking of over $30m.
The shoot-em-up sees Denzel back as Robert McCall, the retired CIA Blacks Ops operative, avenging the death of an old friend. It stars Pedro Pascal and Ashton Sanders, as well as Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo. It’s cast, like ‘MM2’ is stacked with talent, but unlike ‘MM2’, which is opening in 41 markets worldwide, news on ‘E2’s international release is limited, and with ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ opening next weekend, ‘E2’ may find itself outgunned very quickly.
This weekend also sees ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ in its 3rd weekend, and this looks to stabilise after a heavy 2nd weekend fall with $14.8m. The disappointment of ‘Skyscraper’ looks to continue, as it’ll earn just over $10m, just above ‘Incredibles 2’ as the latter continues its impressive run. Universal’s ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ will aim to earn close to $9.7m, and ‘The First Purge’ and ‘Sorry to Bother You’ will gross $5.1m and $4m each.
Rounding off this weekend is Blumhouse Tilt’s ‘Unfriended: Dark Web’, the $1m-budgeted horror looking to cause a scare In the top ten. Opening in just 1,500 cinemas (like most of BH Tilt’s releases), the film acts as a stand-alone sequel to 2014s ‘Unfriended’, with a completely different cast, including ‘Get Out’s Betty Gabriel, and Colin Woodell. Opening in over 1,000 cinemas less than ‘Unfriended’ means any chances of ‘U2’ opening close to the former’s $15.8m is near impossible, and should earn around $4m, in-line with BH Tilt’s other releases.
With one of the first weekends ever where 8 sequels making up the top ten is upon us, what do you think will be the biggest surprise? Will ‘Mamma Mia 2’ dance ahead of the pack, or will ‘Equalizer 2’ hunt down the competition? Let us know your thoughts on Instagram and Twitter – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.