Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Equalizer 2 Makes Money, Money, Money And Takes Surprising Win At The Box Office Over Mamma Mia 2

It's getting increasingly rare to find an instance at the domestic box office where the film everyone predicts will rule the box office over any given weekend doesn't inevitably win that weekend, mainly because such films are usually massive blockbusters that tower over the competition. But in the duel between two mid-budget sequels, The Equalizer 2 took a surprising lead over Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, the latter being the film everyone, myself included thought would rule the weekend. But it was The Equalizer 2 that managed to top the frame as the action film managed an impressive $35.8 million, up 5% from the $34.1 million bow of the first Equalizer and the third best opening weekend ever for Denzel Washington.

When the summer of 2018 began, I thought The Equalizer 2 would end up doing only OK business simply because it had been four years since the first Equalizer and I didn't think that 2014 action film had left much of an impact on viewers. I'm eating crow now for sure as Sony/Columbia smartly marketed The Equalizer 2 as a Denzel Washington vehicle first and foremost, a brilliant idea because audiences generally love Washington in anything but they especially love him in action thrillers like this one. The fact that we haven't had a high-profile R-rated action movie in months also allowed The Equalizer 2 to fill a void in the marketplace. If The Equalizer 2 can hold on through August, there's a good chance it ends up becoming only the sixth movie ever for Denzel Washington to crack $100 million domestically. Looks like Denzel Washington's first ever sequel is an out-and-out hit.

Don't feel too bad for Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again though, as the musical managed to fare just fine over the weekend with a great $34.3 million bow. That's a 25% improvement over the first movies opening weekend and the fourth biggest opening weekend ever for a musical. Ten years may have passed since the first Mamma Mia!, but the film has remained well-regarded by audiences in that time and just as Equalizer 2 excelled due to the lack of R-rated action movies in the marketplace, the lack of similar musical fare in the summer 2018 landscape allowed this new Mamma Mia! adventure to thrive.

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation had a sharper second-weekend decline than past Hotel Transylvania films as it dropped 47%, but the other two entries in the franchise opened in September, meaning it's likely this is more due to kids being able to see the film during the week, thus reducing the necessity of weekend showings, rather than word-of-mouth. Grossing another $23.1 million, the newest Hotel Transylvania movie has grossed $91 million so far. Fellow July 2018 holdover Ant-Man and the Wasp grossed another $16.1 million this weekend, a 44% third-weekend drop, a better third-weekend drop than last year's early July 2018 MCU movie Spider-Man: Homecoming. The newest Ant-Man adventure has grossed $164.6 million after 17 days of release.

Incredibles 2 had its smallest weekend-to-weekend drop yet as it dipped only 29% to gross another $11.5 million for a $557.3 million domestic total. Could this still get to $600 million domestically? I say there's a chance depending on how it holds through August. Fellow June 2018 blockbuster Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom went down only 32% this frame, giving it another $11 million for a $383.9 million domestic total. Falling much harsher this frame was Skyscraper, which dropped 56% to gross $10.9 million for a $46.7 million domestic total. The First Purge continued to hold better than its predecessors as it dropped 46% this weekend to gross another $4.9 million, giving it a $60.1  million domestic total.

BH Tilt released Unfriended: Dark Web this weekend to middling results as the horror sequel grossed $3.4 million, a massive drop from the $15 million bow of the first Unfriended. Equalizer 2 and Mamma Mia 2 didn't seem to suffer from a long amount of time between installments, but it does feel like Unfriended did get damaged from having such a prolonged amount of time between the first and second movie. This is the fifth biggest opening weekend ever for BH Tilt and the first time the studio has released a follow-up to a film released from Blumhouse Productions by Universal Pictures.

Rounding out the top ten was Sorry To Bother You, which fell 33% to gross another $2.8 million for a great domestic total of $10.2 million. Sicario: Day of the Soldado dropped much harder this frame as it fell 51% to gross another $1.8 million for a domestic total of $47 million, while Ocean's 8 dropped 45% to gross another $1.5 million for a great $135.6 million domestic total. Three Identical Strangers expanded into 332 theaters and managed to continue its strong box office run as it took in another $1.4 million, a 19% increase from last weekend, for a domestic total of $4.5 million, making it the second biggest movie ever for NEON. Fellow Summer 2018 documentary sensation Won't You Be My Neighbor dipped 33% this weekend to add $1.3 million to a domestic haul that now stands at $18.4 million that makes this feature the 14th biggest documentary in history.

Leave No Trace added 50 locations this weekend, bringing it up to 361 theaters and giving it a fourth weekend gross of $891,545 (a 24% decline from last weekend) and a per-theater average of $2,470 and a domestic total of $3.6 million. In its second weekend of release, Eighth Grade grossed $794,370 from just 33 locations for an outstanding per-theater average of $24,072 and a domestic total of $1.1 million. Debuting in limited release this weekend was Blindspotting, which grossed $332,500 from 14 locations for a per-theater average of $24,332. That's a great opening that bodes well for the titles wide release expansion on Friday.

Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot expanded into 62 locations this weekend (one of which was my local Cinemark, oddly enough) and grossed $265,360 for a per-theater average of only $4,280 and a domestic total of $380,385. Bowing in 4 theaters this weekend, McQueen grossed $96,928 from 4 locations for a per-theater average of $24,232 while fellow newcomer Generation Wealth grossed $33,602 from 4 locations for a per-theater average of $8,401. Finally, Disney is trying to get Black Panther past the $700 million mark domestically and to help accomplish this, it re-expanded the title into 154 locations this weekend, a move that resulted in the film grossing $25,000 for a per-theater average of only $162 and giving the feature a domestic gross to date of $699,931,862. They've got just under $69,000 to go, I think they manage to make this film only the third motion picture in history to gross over $700 million domestically.

The top 12 movies this weekend grossed $157.7 million, down about 11% from this same weekend last year when Dunkirk began its impressive domestic box office run.

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