Weekend Box Office: 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' Heads for $39M; 'Equalizer 2' Targets $33M

Courtesy of Universal Pictures; Columbia Pictures
'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,' 'The Equalizer 2'

'Mamma Mia 2' is pacing 40 percent ahead of the 2008 film.

Universal's star-studded sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again sang loudly at the Friday box office, grossing $14.3 million for a projected domestic bow of $39 million.

The female-fueled musical will have no trouble winning the weekend, although Sony's R-rated action pic The Equalizer 2, starring Denzel Washington, is no slouch. Equalizer 2 followed at No. 2 on Friday with $13.6 million for an estimated U.S. opening of $33 million.

Mamma Mia 2 is one of the few 2018 summer event films targeting females, who made up more than 80 percent of Friday's audience, according to comScore. The sequel, based on the music of ABBA, is pacing 40 percent ahead of the first Mamma Mia!, which debuted to $27.7 million exactly 10 years ago.

Many of the A-list stars who appeared in the 2008 movie reprise their roles 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 Skarsgard, while newcomers include Lily James and, in the biggest get, Cher, also appear.

Mamma Mia 2 nabbed an A- CinemaScore, the same grade assigned to Mamma Mia!

Equalizer 2, targeting males, earned an A, compared to an A- for its predecessor. The first Equalizer was a sleeper hit in late September 2014 after debuting to $34.1 million domestically. Both installments were directed by Antoine Fuqua.

Marking Washington's first sequel, Equalizer 2 follows his character as he fends off highly trained assassins determined to end his career — and his life. Males made up 60 percent of Friday ticket buyers.

From Blumhouse, the microbudgeted horror-thriller Unfriended: Dark Web also debuts nationwide this weekend. The pic is on course to open to $3.4 million.

Among holdovers, Dwayne Johnson's summer event film Skyscraper continues to crumble in its second weekend of play in the U.S. The Legendary and Universal film could fall as much as 57 percent in its sophomore outing to $10.6 million, putting it at No. 6.

Overseas, Skyscraper is hoping for big returns in China, where it unfurled on Friday.

New specialty offerings include Lionsgate and Code Black's critically acclaimed urban drama, Blindspotting. The Oakland-set urban drama marks the feature directorial debut of Carlos Lopez Estrada, and stars Hamilton's Daveed Diggs opposite Rafael Casal.

Blindspotting, opening in 14 theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and the Bay Area, looks to post a per screen average of $24,000. That would be one of the best screen averages of the weekend behind Bleecker Street's new Alexander McQueen documentary McQueen and A24 holdover Eighth Grade.

Estrada directed Blindspotting 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.

July 20, 12:45 p.m. Updated with revised weekend estimates.
July 21, 7:45 a.m. Updated with Friday grosses and revised weekend estimates.

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