Weekend BO Report: ‘The Equalizer 2’ Guns Down The Competition In A Tight Finish

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s weekends like these that remind me why I love the Box Office. Just when you thought ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!’ would dance away with the number one spot, it was Antoine Fuqua’s ‘The Equalizer 2’ that had the last laugh — earning $36m in its opening weekend, just $1m above ‘Mamma Mia 2’s $35m. ‘E2’, Denzel Washington’s first ever sequel, went into Saturday $1m below MM2’ but had the benefit of not being as front-loaded, with Friday making up just 37% of its weekend gross (compared to ‘MM2’s 41%). This may be down to ‘MM2’s skewed opening audience (83% women) but nevertheless, it’s a solid start for both.

The opening of ‘E2’ marks Denzel Washington’s 3rd biggest ever, behind 2007s ‘American Gangster’ ($43.6m) and 2012s ‘Safe House’ ($40.2m); it’s also Antoine Fuqua’s biggest, beating another Denzel-collab, 2016s ‘The Magnificent Seven’ ($34.7m). Meanwhile, ‘MM2’s officially the third biggest musical opening of all time, just ahead of ‘Enchanted’ ($34.4m), and although the film probably won’t reach a 5.19x opening weekend multiplier like ‘MM’ did in 2008, a strong finish is still expected. The musical also opened to $42.4m overseas, including $13m from the U.K.

On a studio level, this marks a second consecutive weekend at the top for Sony, whose last double triumph was back in January, when ‘Jumanji 2’ brought in the new year at number one for three straight weeks. Looking forward to next weekend, Sony would be lucky to remain in the top 3, with the introduction of Tom Cruise’s ‘MI6: Fallout’ and DC animation, ‘Teen Titans Go! To The Movies’.

On the topic of Sony, ‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ had the biggest 2nd week drop in the franchise, falling nearly 50% to post a $23.8m gross. It’s already made $208.1m worldwide since its release, marking a very prosperous few weeks for the company who’ve had a mixed year so far. In fourth place was ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ earning a solid $16.5m to leave it $15m shy (in just its 3rd weekend) of equalling the $180.2m domestic total made by ‘Ant-Man’ 3 years ago.

With the smallest drop of the weekend, ‘Incredibles 2’s $11.9m gross (a fall of just 27%) leaves it under $50m away from being the 3rd film of the year to reach $600m in the U.S., and just $60m away from making $1bn worldwide. The Rock’s ‘Skyscraper’ only just made it past ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’, making $11.4m compared to ‘JW2’s $11.3m. Although the former was able to open in China to $47m (during the Chinese cinema’s Hollywood blackout period, too), this still won’t be enough to save it from being a flop.

Horror, ‘The First Purge’, produced no shocks, earning in-line with our expectations ($5.1m), while BH Tilt’s ‘Unfriended: Dark Web’ grossed just $3.7m from 1,546 cinemas. Finally, Boots Riley’s ‘Sorry to Bother You’ added nearly 250 cinemas to its roster, but couldn’t improve its total from last week, finishing with just $2.9m.

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Weekend BO Predictions: Two New Releases Go Head-to-Head For Top Spot, But Only Will Be Crowned The $30m Dancing Queen

Written by Dapo Olowu

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.

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