This weekend saw a face-off between two titans of Hollywood. Denzel Washington, in the first sequel of his career, reprised his role as ex-black ops operative Robert McCall for Antoine Fuquas The Equalizer 2 and took on the returning cast of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, bolstered by the addition of younger versions of our favorite characters, a classic pop-infused backstory, and Cher. In a twist that took some box officer watches by surprised, The Equalizer 2 edged just ahead of the Mamma Mia! sequel to win the weekend with an estimated difference of $1 million as of Sunday afternoon.
According to Varietys box office report, which wont have its final weekend numbers until Monday, Sonys The Equalizer 2 opened to $35.8 million—above the estimate for the film, which had been projected at $27 to $32 million. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again came in second with $34.4 million. Then again, The Equalizer 2 got a head start at the box office and opened to a slightly higher number of screens (3,388 to Mamma Mia! 2s 3,317), its been comparatively less well-received than the ABBA sequel, which is still holding steady with a 79% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Our chief critic Richard Lawson called Mamma MIa! 2 “charmingly buoyant” in his review, while our K. Austin Collins dubbed The Equalizer 2 “a bore” despite some promise.
That $34.4 million is still good news for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, whose predecessor scored a $27 million opening and went on to be a box office smash, especially overseas, where ABBAs music is still hugely popular. The same will no doubt be true for its sequel, which skates by on charm and color and the delight viewers may take in seeing such a murderers row of Hollywood talent belt out two hours of karaoke hits.
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