Two new mid-budget sequels — Universal’s “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” and Sony’s “The Equalizer 2” — are on pace to beat expectations at the box office, with “Mamma Mia!” topping the charts with an estimated $39 million opening from 3,317 screens.
That opening tops the $27 million start for the first “Mamma Mia!,” even after inflation adjustment. The first film opened against “The Dark Knight” in 2008, yet still went on to have huge legs at the box office with $144 million domestic and $609 million worldwide, holding the record for the highest-grossing female-directed film of all-time until “Wonder Woman” topped it last year. The sequel is performing better with critics with a 78 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, while a mostly female audience gave it an A- on CinemaScore.
In second place is “Equalizer 2” with an estimated opening of $34 million from 3,388 screens. That matches the opening of the sequel’s 2014 predecessor, which went on to gross $101 million domestically. Pre-weekend tracking expected an opening in the mid-$20 million range. Critics have been mixed, giving it a 50 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, but fans of Denzel Washington have turned out to see the film and have enjoyed it, giving it an A on CinemaScore.
Sony also takes the third spot with “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” which has a $22-23 million second weekend total. That matches the $22 million the animated film made from Monday to Thursday in its first week in release and would give the film a $90 million 10-day total, matching that of “Hotel Transylvania 2.”
Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp” takes fourth with an estimated $16 million, putting it in position to pass the $180 million domestic total of the first “Ant-Man” in the coming week. Finally, three films are in a virtual tie for fifth with $10-11 million: “Incredibles 2,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and “Skyscraper.”
Outside the top five is BH Tilt’s “Unfriended: Dark Web,” which is falling below expectations with an estimated $3-4 million opening. The digital horror film has a C on CinemaScore and 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.