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The Equalizer 2 beats Mamma Mia as sequels dominate US box office


Denzel Washington stars in The Equalizer, Lily James in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Published in BBC, July 23rd, 2018

When it was released on Friday, Mamma Mia 2 was all set to be the biggest film of the weekend, if not the summer.

But a spanner has been thrown in the works at the US box office, in the shape of Denzel Washington.

The Equalizer 2, the follow-up to the 2014 original, raced past Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again to claim the top spot.

The action sequel took an estimated $35.8m (£27.2m), inching past Mamma Mia’s $34.4m (£26.1m).

But these weren’t the only two sequels in town.

No fewer than eight of the top 10 films over the weekend were follow-ups, confirming that summer truly is sequel season for cinema.

See if you can spot the two odd ones out below:

Weekend box office – US
The Incredibles 2

The first Incredibles movie was released in 2004

  1. The Equalizer 2- $35.8 (£27.2m)
  2. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again – $34.4m (£26.1m)
  3. Hotel Transylvania 3 – $23.2m (£17.6m)
  4. Ant-Man and the Wasp – $16.1m (£12.2m)
  5. Incredibles 2 – $11.5m (£8.74m)
  6. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – $11m (£8.36m)
  7. Skyscraper – $10.96m (£8.3m)
  8. The First Purge – $5m (£3.8m)
  9. Unfriended: Dark Web – $3.5m (£2.7m)
  10. Sorry to Bother You – $2.8m (£2.1m)

Well done if you said Skyscraper and Sorry To Bother You were the only films not to be part of a franchise.

Mamma Mia coming in second place is by no means a failure – the film opened in line with expectations.

Instead, the surprise was the success of The Equalizer 2 – with analysts putting it down to an ethnically diverse audience and keen interest among men.

“It was a surprise to come in at number one in an extremely competitive marketplace,” Adrian Smith, Sony’s head of domestic distribution, told Variety.

“It really speaks to the power of Denzel, without a doubt.”

Its success came in spite of a lukewarm response from critics, one of whom described the film as having a “plot that reads like middle-aged male fantasy”.

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