In an off week audiences did not take the week off.

I know I have referenced last year’s poor box office performance for comparison, but this week may be the best example in the change in fortunes. Last summer major releases and sequels were falling short of expectations, and the overall season was in a deep downturn. This year the opposite is taking place.

In what was regarded as a softer week between major releases (a new “Mission Impossible” debuts next) two sequels with widely divergent audiences premiered and they both exceeded expectations. More surprising is the new titles were geared towards older audiences, so this is not a surge based on the usual family fare. Here are the new numbers this week.

 

THE EQUALIZER 2 – $35.82 Million
Originally lightly regarded this Denzel Washington actioner has been building up interest, and even by Friday was expected to land as the second title. Projections had the film coming in the low-mid twenty million level, and this surprise performance exceeds the original film’s opening. The preview ticket sales were solid and it gained strength through Saturday to move to the top. Sony needed this to be a decent opening as Tom Cruise will sap the audience next week.

 

2. MAMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN – $34.38m
Initially pegged as the easy winner of the week the musical sequel proved to be a very front-loaded affair, as the ladies rushed out to see it on Thur-Fri. That said, there is no way this is looked at as anything but successful. It is a better debut than the first entry and that title had a long run, as musicals may not explode at the start but they do tend to linger. Universal will surely see this last to well over $100 million.

 

3. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION – $23.15m
The competition being mostly adult-targeted means this Sony animated lark had a strong second week hold, dropping -47%. The gambit of moving this franchise away from the Halloween frame has paid off for the studio.

 

4. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP – $16.12m
The fun romp has shown there is not yet comic book fatigue. It has earned $165 million, and after just 3 weeks it is already approaching the overall take of the original – $180 million.

 

5. INCREDIBLES 2 – $11.52m
The most successful animated film ever here in North America, it has also been an overseas hit. It has passed the total of the original abroad, and now the curiosity will be can it reach the $1 billion plateau in the coming weeks.

 

6. JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM – $11m
While the $380+ million here is decently impressive Universal’s dinosaurs are a massive hit in foreign markets, more than doubling the box office.

 

7. SKYSCRAPER – $10.96m
One of the few misfires of summer, Dwayne Johnson’s thriller has collapsed, falling a heavy -56%, after a very soft opening. The studio is going to need a big bailout from international markets to have any hope at avoiding a serious loss on this title.

 

8. THE FIRST PURGE – $4.98m
Fittingly, this title is not following the basic rules. Despite the smallest opening in the franchise it has gradually climbed up close to the predecessors in total earnings.

 

9. UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB – $3.5m
This very low debut falls well off of the original, which opened to $15 million. But, as a Blumhouse/Tilt release made for only $1 million, there may be little risk for all involved.

 

10. SORRY TO BOTHER YOU – $2.82m
The small indie hit added more screens to go over 1,000, giving it some longer term prospects.