Denzel Washington vs. ABBA at the box office: How did ‘The Equalizer 2’ do against ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’?

In a summer of movie franchises it’s no surprise that the box office battle over the weekend of July 20-22 came down to two very different sequels. Denzel Washington‘s actioner “The Equalizer 2” went up against the musical “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” So which film ended up with the advantage?

It turned out Washington had the slight edge as “Equalizer 2” opened on top with $35.8 million grossed against a $62 million budget. That’s on par with the performance of the original film, which took in $34.1 million in its first three days in 2014. That vigilante film ended its run with $101 million taken in domestically and $192 million in worldwide receipts.

Will the sequel match that? Only five Washington films have crossed the century mark in North America over the course of his career thus far. Before “The Equalizer” he made $100 million with “The Pelican Brief” (1993), “Remember the Titans” (2000), “American Gangster” (2007) and “Safe House” (2012).

True to its title, “The Equalizer” was more or less equal with “Mamma Mia!” They opened on nearly the same number of screens (over 3,300) and had a nearly identical per-screen average ($10,574 for “Equalizer” to $10,365 for “Mamma Mia!”). So they ended up with nearly the same box office haul. “Mamma Mia!” came in second over the weekend with $34.3 million against a $75 million budget.

The musical sequel featuring the songs of ABBA has already improved the original, which made $27 million when it opened back in 2008. But the first “Mamma Mia!” turned into a box office phenomenon, making $144 million domestically and a whopping $609 million worldwide. With markedly better reviews, could “Here We Go Again” improve on those kingly sums?

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