It was a battle of two very different sequels in American movie theaters last weekend. The action film The Equalizer 2 narrowly won out over the musical Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Equalizer 2, starring Denzel Washington, was the top film at the box office over the weekend. It sold about $35.8 million in tickets and earned director Antoine Fuqua the biggest opening of his career. The first Equalizer came out in 2014. It went on to sell more than $190 million in tickets worldwide.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again finished second. It is a follow-up of the 2005 film Mamma Mia, a musical based on the songs of the 1970s Swedish pop band ABBA. Here We Go Again took in $34.4 million.
Interestingly, movie experts had correctly estimated the sales difference between the two film openings. But they were wrong about which film would lead. Most had predicted Mamma Mia! 2 would come in first by around $5 million in ticket sales.
Women by far ruled the audiences for Mamma Mia! screenings. About 83 percent of the Mamma Mia! crowd was female.
Equalizer Two brought in an audience that was about 58 percent male.
Both movies had big stars. Washington has won Academy Awards for lead and supporting roles. And three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep returned to her role in Mamma Mia. Another big name in Hollywood -- singer and Oscar-winning actor Cher -- also had a role in the musical.
It was a rare opening showdown of two star-driven films that targeted two very different audiences.
Now, the question is: what will happen this weekend? The much talked-about Mission: Impossible Fallout, starring Tom Cruise opens across America. Will this sixth film of the series appeal to audiences that might otherwise go see Equalizer 2? Or will it take a bite out of Mamma Mia! 2's target audience?
We asked VOA movie reporter Penelope Poulou for her thoughts on the possibilities.
"If we are gonna talk about what the audiences prefer, I don’t necessarily consider it mutually exclusive that the audience is going to go to Mission Impossible and not the other two films. Actually, I’m more inclined to say that the audiences are going to be split between Mamma Mia! and Equalizer more so than how Mission: Impossible is gonna play. Mission: Impossible is a creation of its own, phenomenon of its own because it was born out of the series that many middle-aged people remember from the television and it was very imaginative and interesting, so a lot of people want to revisit that genre. I think Mission: Impossible is already riding very high...”
I'm Caty Weaver.
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Caty Weaver wrote this report for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in This Story
sequel - n. a book, movie, etc., that continues a story begun in another book, movie, etc
role - n. the character played by an actor
box office - n. an area in a theater where tickets are sold for a movie, play, etc.; also refers to the sale of tickets more generally
mutually exclusive - adj. related in such a way that each thing makes the other thing impossible : not able to be true at the same time or to exist
inclined - adj. used with verbs like agree, think, believe, suppose, etc., to express a thought or opinion that is not strong or certain