BO Report: ‘Mamma Mia!’ sequel hits a high note, outgunning ‘The Equalizer 2’

‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.’

Universal Pictures’ Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again was the dominant title in Australia last weekend, opening better than the original and outgunning The Equalizer 2.

To the amazement of some pundits, the positions were reversed in the US, where the star power of Denzel Washington proved stronger than the musical.

That was never going to happen here because the original Mamma Mia! was a monster hit and The Equalizer was a modest success.

The top 20 titles rang up $18.6 million, down 5 per cent on the previous weekend according to Numero. Continuing its event screenings roll-out, Axel Grigor’s feature doc Jill Bilcock: Dancing the Invisible grossed $6,600 from limited sessions at six cinemas, raising the total  to $23,000 for Film Art Media.

Directed by Ol Parker, the Mamma Mia! sequel raked in $5.9 million in four days and $6.9 million including Girls Night Out screenings, versus the original which made a combined $5.4 million and showed great legs to finish with $31.9 million.

The musical comedy starring Amanda Seyfried, Cher and most of the original’s cast minted $US35 million in the US, trailing The Equalizer 2’s $US36 million.

The first Mamma Mia! fetched $144 million in North America and a startling $615 million worldwide – the highest-grossing film directed by a woman (Phyllida Lloyd) until it was surpassed by Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman – so the sequel is unlikely to reach those lofty heights.

Sony Pictures’ The Equalizer 2, in which Washington returns as retired CIA-agent-turned-security guard-turned-vigilante Robert McCall in the first sequel of his nearly 40-year career, drummed up nearly $3 million. That’s 30 per cent up on the original released by Roadshow, which took $2.3 million in its first weekend and finished with $6.6 million.

Disney/Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp ranked third, grabbing $1.96 million in its third weekend, advancing to $16.4 million. The superhero adventure directed by Peyton Reed has generated $164.6 million in the US and $188.9 million in the rest of the world for a global total of $353.5 million.

Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2 topped $43 million after banking $1.7 million in its sixth frame. The Brad Bird-directed comedy is now the highest grossing animated title of all time in the US with $557 million and has hauled in $383 million in the rest of the world.

Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Weekend drew $1.63 million in its fourth weekend, propelling the total to $16.9 million, which eclipses the lifetime total of Hotel Transylvania 2. The comedy is tracking 36 per cent ahead of the second edition in the holdover markets, earning $206.7 million globally.

Dwayne Johnson’s fan base could not prevent a steep descent for Universal Pictures’ Skyscraper, which plunged by 56 per cent in its second weekend, making $1.36 million. The action-adventure from writer-director Rawson Marshall Thurber has snared $5.5 million in Australia and a mediocre $46.7 million after 10 days in the US.

Universal/Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom reached $33.4 million after bagging $1.35 million in its fifth outing. The action adventure directed by JA Bayona has amassed $384 million in the US and $813 million in the rest of the world, for a cume of $1.197 billion.

The Warner Bros/Village Roadshow Pictures comedy Ocean’s 8 climbed to $17.7 million after scoring $263,000 in its seventh weekend. Gary Ross’ heist caper has pocketed a tidy $261.4 million worldwide.

On its last legs, Raja Gosell’s buddy comedy Show Dogs took $178,000 in its third weekend and a skimpy $1.65 million thus far for Roadshow.

Another Roadshow release, Balthasar Kormákur’s survival saga Adrift drifted along to $2.7 million after collecting $132,000 in its fourth frame.