Box-Office Preview: 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' to Out-Muscle Fellow Sequels 'Equalizer,' 'Unfriended'
'Mamma Mia 2' is among only a few summer event pics catering to females.
Get ready for a sequel showdown at the U.S. box office this weekend.
A trio of second installments unfurl nationwide: Universal's star-studded Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again — whose cast includes Cher; Sony's The Equalizer 2, returning Denzel Washington in the title role; and Blumhouse's micro-budgeted horror-thriller, Unfriended: The Dark Web.
If prerelease tracking is correct, Mamma Mia 2 should win the weekend with $30 million to $35 million or more, thanks to female moviegoers seeking an alternative to testosterone-laced action pics (Universal is being more conservative in suggesting $27 million-plus).
Mamma Mia 2 is one of the few 2018 summer event films targeting females. The movie, based on the music of ABBA, opens exactly a decade after Mamma Mia! stormed the box office in late July 2008, opening to $27.7 million domestically and grossing nearly $610 million globally.
Many of the A-list stars who appeared in the first film reprise their role in the sequel (in some fashion, at least), including Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skargard, while newcomers include Lily James and, in the biggest get, Cher.
Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 1 & 2) directed Mamma Mia 2, which will debut in 41 foreign markets timed to its U.S. launch. The story traverses time, with James playing a young Donna (Streep's character).
Sony's R-rated action pic Equalizer 2 is tracking to open to $25 million or more domestically. The first Equalizer quickly became a sleeper hit in late September 2014 after debuting to $34.1 million domestically on its way to grossing $192.3 million at the worldwide box office. Both installments were directed by Antoine Fuqua.
Sony decided to move the action series installment to summer so as to capitalize on college kids being out of school and adults being on vacation throughout the remaining weeks of summer.
Marking the first series of Washington's career, Equalizer 2 follows his character as he fends off highly trained assassins determined to end his career — and his life.
From Blumhouse, the horror-thriller Unfriended: Dark Web is projected to gross $6 million-plus in its U.S. debut against a tiny production budget of $1 million.
The found-footage pic, directed by Stephen Susco (The Grudge), follow a twenty-something who finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop. He soon realizes that the former owners of his computer will do anything to get the laptop back.
There's a flurry of new openings at the specialty box office, including Lionsgate and Code Black's critically acclaimed urban drama, Blindspotting. The film, marking the feature directorial debut of Carlos Lopez Estrada and starring Hamilton's Daveed Diggs opposite Rafael Casal, made its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.
Estrada directed from a script by Rafael Casal and Diggs. The story, set in Oakland, follows two childhood friends — one black and one white — as they navigate the final days of probation for one of them. Blindspotting opens this weekend in 14 theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and the Bay Area.