Equalizer 2, The: Denzel Washington’s Actioner Scores at Box-Office

Sony’s R-rated actioner The Equalizer 2 performed ahead of expectations to beat the star-studded Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again with an estimated $35.8 million launch.

The musical sequel grossed an estimated $34.4 million, but the numbers could shift when final earnings are tallied on Monday.

The female-fueled Mamma Mia 2 opened in line with expectations. As it turned out, Equalizer 2 beat projections, thanks to an ethnically diverse audience and keen interest among men.

Males made up around 60 percent of ticket buyers.

Equalizer 2 is the first sequel of Washington’s career. The first Equalizer was a sleeper hit in fall 2014 after opening to $34.1 million domestically. The budding franchise — both films were directed by Antoine Fuqua — follow the exploits of an ex-government operative drawn back into action. This time out, Washington’s character is determined to exact revenge for the death of a friend.

Pedro Pascal, Ashton Sanders, Melissa Leo and Bill Pullman also star in Equalizer 2, which marks the fourth film Fuqua and Washington have made together after The Equalizer, Training Day and The Magnificent Seven.

Equalizer 2 earned an A CinemaScore, compared to an A- for its predecessor. Mamma Mia 2 received the same CinemaScore as the 2008 movie, or an A-.

Mamma Mia 2‘s domestic opening came in 22 percent head of the first Mamma Mia!, which opened to $27.7 million in summer 2008, not adjusted for inflation.

Cher, along with Lily James, are among the newcomers to the Mamma Mia! brand. Returning stars included Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep Julie Walters, Christine Baranski, Dominic Cooper, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan and Stellan Skarsgard. The story traverses time to when Streep’s character (Donna) is pregnant.

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.

In June, Warner female-fronted spinoff Ocean’s 8 opened to $41.6 million on its way to earning $256.7 million globally.

Paramount’s Book Club, starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen, was a sleeper hit in May upon grossing nearly $70 million domestically.

Lionsgate and Code Black’s critically acclaimed urban drama, Blindsotting, set in Oakland, marks the feature directorial debut of Carlos Lopez Estrada, and stars Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs opposite Rafael Casal.

Opening in 14 theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and the Bay Area, the film grossed $332,500 for a per screen average of $23,750 million, one of the best averages of the weekend.