Both Denzel and ABBA Make Money, Money, Money


July 20-22, 2018

(estimates from


The Equalizer 2  $35.8 million
Mamma Mia:
Here We Go Again!  
$34.3 million
Hotel Transylvania 3:
Summer Vacation 
$23.1 million
Ant-Man and the Wasp  $16.1 million
Incredibles 2 $11.5 million

In one of the closest finishes of the year, The Equalizer 2 made just $1.5 million more than Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! Both sequels improved on their original film's debuts. The Denzel Washington action flick earned an estimated $35.8 million. That's Denzel's third-biggest opening ever, behind American Gangster and Safe House. That's also the best debut for director Antoine Fuqua.

In a successful bit of counter-programming, the supremely extra sequel to Mamma Mia! opened almost a decade to the day after the original opened against the then-biggest movie ever: The Dark Knight. This time, it opened $7 million higher, which is more than just inflation at work. Ten years worth of replays on cable, DVD and sing-a-long sessions have made the ABBA musical a full-on phenomenon.

Hotel Transylvania 3 slipped to third, though its neck-and-neck with where the second film was at this point in its run. Ant-Man and the Wasp dropped to fourth, though it's holding on at a reasonable rate. It still might not get to $200 million though. And Incredibles 2 continued its sixth weekend in the top 5, one of the best runs of the summer, behind only Avengers: Infinity War.

Outside the top 5:

  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: McQueen, the documentary on the late British fashion designer. The film averaged $24,232 on its four screens.
  • Blindspotting also debuted strongly. The other Oakland dramedy from a team making their feature debut averaged $23,750 on its 14 screens.
  • Unfriended: Dark Web debuted with one of the smallest openings for a wide-release horror film of 2018. Still, even though it only made $3.4 million, it already exceeded its budget of $1 million.

Next week:

It's my most anticipated movie of the summer, and judging by the early buzz, it is for a lot of people. Mission: Impossible – Fallout could go as high as $65 million (and maybe even higher), putting it far ahead of the biggest debut of the franchise, 2000's Mission: Impossible II. That would also make it Tom Cruise's biggest opening ever, at age 56. Teen Titans Go! to the Movies could also debut with as much as $40 million.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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