Antoine Fuqua on Clearing Paths for Black Filmmakers, Taking Denzel International

Read on: Variety.

LOCARNO, Switzerland — Originally announced as a movie re-teaming, post “Southpaw,” Antoine Fuqua and Jake Gyllenhaal’s “The Man Who Made It Snow” is now set up at Epix as a limited TV series, Fuqua said Saturday at Locarno Festival, where …

‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ Sneaks to No. 1 at Box Office With $61.5 Million Opening

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” has gotten off to a strong start at the box office, hitting tracker expectations with a $61.5 million opening weekend from 4,386 screens.

While previous installments in the Tom Cruise action series have had higher openings after inflation adjustments are made, this is the highest raw opening for a “Mission: Impossible” film, topping the $57 million launch for the 2000 sequel “Mission: Impossible II.” It’s also the second highest opening of Cruise’s career — only “War of the Worlds” tops it with $64 million — and is the highest opening for a Paramount film since “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” in 2014.

Critics have praised “Fallout” as the best installment of the “M:I” series, scoring 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and it is the first “M:I” film to earn an A on CinemaScore. On the premium format side, IMAX is reporting that 12 percent of the movie’s domestic gross came from their screens, with $7.5 million grossed on 406 North American IMAX screens and an additional $5 million grossed overseas.

Also Read: ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ Film Review: Cruise-ing for Bruising Action in This Jam-Packed Six-Quel

In a distant second is Universal “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again,” which earned $15 million in its second weekend. While that gives the jukebox musical a solid 10-day total of $70 million, the weekend total is lower than the $17.7 million second weekend made by the first “Mamma Mia!,” and the sequel faced a 57 percent drop-off from its $34.9 million opening compared to 36 percent for its predecessor. It has a global total of $167 million with releases several more countries, including China, coming next weekend.

“The Equalizer 2,” meanwhile, took a 61 percent drop from its $36 million opening to finish third this weekend with a $14 million total. While the Denzel Washington crime thriller has a production budget less than half that of “Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” the presence of the much more popular “M:I” in theaters will likely weigh down numbers for this Sony release, which has a 10-day total of $64 million.

Completing the top five are Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania 3” and Warner Bros.’ “Teen Titans Go! to the Movies,” with “HT3” earning $12.2 million in its third weekend to beat the opening of its animated DC competitor and bring its domestic total to $119 million.

Also Read: ‘The Equalizer 2’ Film Review: Denzel Washington Returns as a Thinking Man’s Action Hero

“Teen Titans Go!,” meanwhile, was expected by trackers to open around $14-15 million but will finish below that with a $10.5 million launch. But making money back on this Cartoon Network adaptation won’t be hard as it was made on a $10 million budget with a thrifty marketing spend that focused mostly on digital ads. Critics gave the film a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with audiences giving it a B+ on CinemaScore.

Outside the top 10, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” has passed the domestic total of its 2015 predecessor, making $8.4 million in its fourth weekend to bring its total to $183 million. Globally, the film has a total of $394 million with an opening in the U.K. coming next week. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is on the threshold of crossing $400 million domestically, and with a global total of $1.23 billion, it will pass Universal’s top grossing film from last year, “The Fate of the Furious.”

“Incredibles 2” will become the 36th film in box office history to gross $1 billion worldwide tomorrow after adding $7.2 million domestically in its seventh weekend to push its global total to $997 million. When it hits that milestone, it will become only the fourth billion-dollar film to make at least half of its global gross from North America, joining “Black Panther,” “Rogue One” and “The Dark Knight.” Overseas, the film still has releases to come in several major markets, including Japan, Spain, Italy and Germany.

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‘Equalizer 2,’ ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ In Close Race at Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

After a busy mid-July Saturday at the box office, the numbers for Universal’s “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” and Sony’s “The Equalizer 2” have suddenly tightened, and now there’s a strong chance that the Denzel Washington thriller may end up taking the No. 1 spot this weekend after the ABBA musical pulled to an early lead on Friday.

“Equalizer 2” has kept its estimates consistent through the weekend, and is on track to earn $35.8 million after independent trackers projected a $25 million opening before the weekend against a $62 million budget. By comparison, the first “Equalizer” opened to $34.1 million in 2014.

It’s a big victory for Denzel Washington, who stars in the first sequel of his career here and is the clear draw for audiences. While critics were mixed on the film with a 50 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, Washington’s fans raved over his performance as a street smart, gun-toting avenger and gave it an A on CinemaScore.

Also Read: ‘The Equalizer 2’ Film Review: Denzel Washington Returns as a Thinking Man’s Action Hero

“Mamma Mia! 2,” meanwhile, was looking at an opening weekend of $39-40 million after a $14.3 million opening Friday, but Saturday’s totals fell to $11 million, signifying a 23 percent Fri.-Sat. drop. Estimates for the film are now set at $34.3 million, which is still by no means a disappointment for Universal as it is closer to tracker projections for the film.

And while “Equalizer 2”‘s surprise victory spells good things for that film, as it will need good word of mouth to match the first film’s $101 million domestic run, Universal won’t sweat the tail-off for “Mamma Mia!” as the musical is likely to attract older female moviegoers who are fans of ABBA and the film’s 2008 predecessor.

Older moviegoers, who traditionally see a film in the later weeks of its theatrical run, pushed the first “Mamma Mia!” to incredible legs a decade ago, as it opened to $27 million and went on to finish with $144 million domestically. The sequel also has a stronger reception than the first film, holding a 78 percent Rotten Tomatoes score and an A- on CinemaScore.

Also Read: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Is ‘Charming’ and ‘Joyful,’ Critics Say

This weekend’s other new release is BH Tilt’s “Unfriended: Dark Web,” which has opened to $3.5 million and a ninth place finish on this weekend’s charts. While that’s below the $6-8 million pre-weekend projection for this horror film, it was made on a paltry $1 million budget like its 2014 predecessor. The film has a C on CinemaScore and 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Back on the Sony side, “Hotel Transylvania 3” is keeping up with its predecessors, sitting in third place with a second-weekend total of $23.2 million, just 47 percent off of it $44 million opening.

While “Hotel Transylvania 2” had a higher second weekend, “HT3” is making up for it with strong weekday numbers, giving it a ten-day estimate of $91 million compared to $90 million for “HT2.” This is what Sony was hoping for when they moved this animated film from its predecessors’ fall release schedule to mid-July, with kids who saw the previous films now out from school.

Also Read: National Movie Ticket Average Passes $9.25 After Record Box Office Quarter

In fourth is Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which earned $16 million in its third weekend and has $163 million so far. The film is in position to pass the $180 million domestic run of the first “Ant-Man” in the coming week. Overseas, international rollout continues with releases in Western Europe, pushing the sequel’s global total to $353 million.

“Incredibles 2” is in fifth with $11.5 million, staying in the top five for a sixth weekend as it crosses $550 million domestically while closing in on $1 billion worldwide with a total of $940 million. Just behind it is “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” with $11 million, bringing its domestic total to $383 million. With a global total of $1.17 billion, the “Jurassic” film is $35 million away from passing “Iron Man 3” and entering the top 15 highest grossing films of all-time.

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Box Office: ‘Equalizer 2’ Narrowly Edges Past ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ to Land at No. 1

Read on: Variety.

In a twist ending straight out of a movie, “The Equalizer 2” shot past “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” to steal the box office crown. Going into the weekend, it looked like “Mamma Mia! 2” would easily debut at No. 1. F…

‘Mamma Mia,’ ‘Equalizer’ Sequels Beat Box Office Expectations

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Two new mid-budget sequels — Universal’s “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” and Sony’s “The Equalizer 2,” are on pace to beat expectations at the box office, with “Mamma Mia!” topping the charts with an estimated $39 million opening from 3,317 screens.

That opening tops the $27 million start for the first “Mamma Mia!,” even after inflation adjustment. The first film opened against “The Dark Knight” in 2008, yet still went on to have huge legs at the box office with $144 million domestic and $609 million worldwide, holding the record for the highest-grossing female directed film of all-time until “Wonder Woman” topped it last year. The sequel is performing better with critics with a 78 percent RT score, while a mostly female audience gave it an A- on CinemaScore.

Also Read: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Is ‘Charming’ and ‘Joyful,’ Critics Say

In second place is “Equalizer 2” with an estimated opening of $34 million from 3,388 screens. That matches the opening of the sequel’s 2014 predecessor, which went on to gross $101 million domestically. Pre-weekend tracking expected an opening in the mid-$20 million range. Critics have been mixed, giving it a 50 percent RT score, but fans of Denzel Washington have turned out to see the film and have enjoyed it, giving it an A on CinemaScore.

Sony also takes the No. 3 spot with “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” which has a $22-23 million 2nd weekend total. That matches the $22 million the animated film made from Monday to Thursday in it first week in release and would give the film a $90 million ten-day total, matching that of “Hotel Transylvania 2.”

Also Read: ‘The Equalizer 2’ Film Review: Denzel Washington Returns as a Thinking Man’s Action Hero

Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and the Wasp” takes fourth with an estimated $16 million, putting it in position to pass the $180 million domestic total of the first “Ant-Man” sometime in the coming week. Finally, three films are in a virtual tie for fifth with $10-11 million: “Incredibles 2,” “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” and “Skyscraper.”

Outside the top five is BH Tilt’s “Unfriended: Dark Web,” which is falling below expectations with an estimated $3-4 million opening. The digital horror film has a C on CinemaScore and 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

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Box Office: ‘Mamma Mia’ Sequel Heads Toward Big $41 Million Opening

Read on: Variety.

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is heading for an impressive opening weekend in the $41 million range at 3,317 sites in North America, early estimates showed Friday. Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer 2” should finish second with a soli…

Box Office: ‘Mamma Mia’ Shoots Past ‘Equalizer 2’ in Thursday Night Shows

Read on: Variety.

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” has opened with a solid $3.4 million at 2,850 North American locations in Thursday night preview showings that began at 7 p.m. That was enough for the musical to top Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer 2,” which…

‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Dances to $3.4 Million at Thursday Box Office

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” danced to $3.4 million at the Thursday box office, while Sony’s “The Equalizer 2” took in $3.1 million at the previews.

In 2008, the original “Mamma Mia!” earned a modest $27 million opening weekend while serving as counter-programming to “The Dark Knight,” which opened the same weekend. (The adaptation of a London and Broadway stage hit eventually earned nearly $610 million worldwide on a $52 million budget.)

Independent trackers are expecting that “Here We Go Again” will improve on the opening of the original “Mamma Mia!,” projecting an opening of $32-34 million from 3,200 locations while carrying a higher production budget of $74 million.

Also Read: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Is ‘Charming’ and ‘Joyful,’ Critics Say

Picking up a decade after the first film, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!” sees Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) prepare for motherhood by learning about how her mom, Donna (Meryl Streep) became pregnant with her while meeting the three men who later came back into her life as Sophie’s potential father.

The ensemble cast sees Cher, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Dominic Cooper and Christine Baranski return, with flashback scenes that include Lily James as a young Donna with Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner, and Josh Dylan. Ol Parker (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) wrote and directed the film, which has an early Rotten Tomatoes score of 80 percent.

Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer 2” is also opening this weekend, with Denzel Washington reprising his role from the first action film. 2014’s “The Equalizer” opened to $34 million and made $101 million domestically. The sequel is projected to open to slightly less with $27-30 million from 3,300 locations, though Sony is expecting higher weekday grosses.

Also Read: ‘The Equalizer 2’ Film Review: Denzel Washington Returns as a Thinking Man’s Action Hero

“The Equalizer 2” holds a score of 47 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Opening in targeted release is BH Tilt’s “Unfriended: Dark Web,” a sequel to Blumhouse’s 2015 social media horror film “Unfriended.” Produced on a $1 million budget and depicted through a computer desktop, “Unfriended” made $64 million worldwide off a $15 million opening. “Dark Web” is expected to make half that opening, with trackers projecting a $6-8 million start. “Dark Web” holds a score of 57 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Finally, Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment and Codeblack Films will send in the Oakland race dramedy “Blindspotting” for limited release this weekend.

Earning critical acclaim at Sundance, the film is written by and stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal as a black ex-convict trying to peacefully finish his probation period. The film will open on 14 screens in five markets: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Fransisco and Oakland, where the film takes place. It currently has an 91 percent RT score.

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‘The Equalizer 2’ Film Review: Denzel Washington Returns as a Thinking Man’s Action Hero

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“The Equalizer 2” is getting a lot of press because it’s the first time that Denzel Washington has starred in a sequel to one of his own movies. You can infer a lot about Washington’s connection to this material from that one piece of information, and about his (apparently quite positive) ongoing working relationship with director Antoine Fuqua, who directed both “Equalizer” installments, as well as “Training Day” and the 2016 remake of “The Magnificent Seven.”

But perhaps the most important takeaway is this: Never pick a fight with Denzel Washington. It’s been over two decades since the TV series “The Equalizer” debuted opposite Washington’s hit series “St. Elsewhere,” and now the actor has officially claimed the saga of ex-Black Ops assassin-turned-vigilante crime fighter Robert McCall for his own. The movies may be a mixed bag, but Washington brings his all to “The Equalizer 2.”

The first “Equalizer” was a stylish, brutal and overlong action thriller starring Washington as McCall, a grieving widower who uses his special set of skills to exact vengeance for a victimized teenage prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz). The action was thrilling but the real draw was Washington himself, who played McCall as an introverted obsessive-compulsive, setting the hero apart from most other action icons.

Also Read: ‘Blindspotting’ Film Review: Ambitious Oakland Tale Suffers From Too Many Ideas

McCall returns in “The Equalizer 2,” and he’s as laconic and emotionally scarred as ever. McCall now works as a Lyft driver, and when his passengers are in trouble he uses his special set of skills to help them out. In one scene, he beats up a whole roomful of privileged rich white kids who just put a woman in the hospital and thought they could get away with it. McCall slices them up with their own credit cards, and when he leaves he says, “I expect a five-star rating, you understand?”

It’s easy to see why Washington is committed to the character of McCall. He’s lived a long, painful life and he wants to prevent others from walking down similar, violent paths. Or worse, from being abused by other, similar, violent people. McCall takes it upon himself to be a positive role model for a young artist, Miles, played by Ashton Sanders (“Moonlight”). Miles is on the verge of joining a street gang, and McCall doesn’t just give him the big speech about how “Man ain’t spelled G-U-N.” He also gives him a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me.” He’s a classy good guy.

“The Equalizer 2,” like the previous film, isn’t just a single episode in McCall’s life. It’s as though screenwriter Richard Wenk worked overtime to catch McCall in the middle of several stories at once. McCall isn’t just trying to save a local teen from gangs. Over the course of the film he also has to find a missing painting for a Holocaust survivor, reunite a missing child with her mother, and avenge the death of his only remaining friend, Susan Plummer, played by Melissa Leo.

Also Read: ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ Film Review: Lily James Makes Up for Near-Absence of Meryl Streep

It’s nothing short of tragic to watch Melissa Leo get the same treatment Rinko Kikuchi suffered in “Pacific Rim Uprising,” in which a powerful female character from the original film gets downgraded in the sequel to an inciting agent for the male hero’s journey. Leo fights as best she can against her attackers, and against the filmmakers’ limited imagination for her character, but there’s only so much she can do.

On the top of it all, the revenge storyline is the least interesting part of “The Equalizer 2,” with its predictable twists and a tacked-on action climax, which takes place in the middle of a hurricane. You’d think that would be a problem but it doesn’t even stop McCall from making a run to the photocopy shop and wallpapering the alleyways with Melissa Leo’s headshots. It should be the most pulse-pounding scene in the movie. Instead it’s the most contrived.

McCall may be the thinking person’s action hero, but “The Equalizer” and “The Equalizer 2” aren’t quite as crafty as he is. The decision to treat these films as an adaptation of a whole season of a series is distinctive, and gives the film a satisfying “Netflix Marvel” personality.

Also Read: ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ Film Review: Cruise-ing for Bruising Action in This Jam-Packed Six-Quel

But in “The Equalizer 2” that approach makes the film feel as though it lacks focus. The main plot gets sidelined too often and fails to ramp up, bogging down the pacing. Even an attempt to connect McCall personally and emotionally to the film’s villains gets sped through so quickly it feels like an afterthought.

“The Equalizer 2” makes more-or-less the same impact as “The Equalizer.” It’s a reasonably satisfying mid-budget action thriller, with slick style and an intriguing hero, who only uses violence when necessary, and as a means of redemption for himself and his community. Robert McCall is a great action hero, but all things being equalized, he deserves a better movie.

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How Denzel Washington Saved the 2017 Oscars (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The 2017 Oscars already exist in infamy for their “Moonlight”-“La La Land” Best Picture snafu, but the awards show was rescued from ending on an even more awkward note by an unlikely hero: Denzel Washington.

Washington guested on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Tuesday, when the ABC late-night talk show host publicly thanked “The Equalizer 2” star for saving his butt.

“I was confused, as was everyone — except for you,” Jimmy Kimmel recalled that fateful night, his first effort as Academy Awards emcee. “I didn’t know what exactly to do, and I looked out in the audience and you were looking at me and you… point at Barry Jenkins, the director of ‘Moonlight,’ and you go, ‘Bring him to the mic.’”

Also Read: Kimmel: Trump Picked Kavanaugh Because He’s ‘the White Man for the Job’

“And I was like, ‘Uh, yeah, OK’ and then I went and got Barry,” the comedian continued. “You saved me and the Oscars.”

“I didn’t win an Oscar, I just saved the Oscars,” Washington countered.

Chill, Denzel, you’ve got two of those awards.

Also Read: ‘The Iceman Cometh’ Broadway Review: Denzel Washington Is on a Mission

Watch their conversation on the video above.

Back then, an envelope mishap led presenter Warren Beatty to call up Lionsgate musical “La La Land” for the 2017 awards show’s top honor — which actually belonged to A24 picture “Moonlight.

Washington’s new movie “The Equalizer 2” hits theaters on Friday, July 20.

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‘The Equalizer 2’ Trailer: Denzel Washington Is The Deadliest Lyft Driver Seeking Revenge In Sony Sequel

Read on: Deadline.

In the new trailer for The Equalizer 2, Denzel Washington reprises his role as Robert McCall, but it seems as though he has settled down with his life and is happy with being a mild-mannered Lyft driver who minds his business and does his job…tha…

Quentin Tarantino Steals The Show At Sony’s Slick Presentation Of A Pretty Dark Slate And Very Special Dog – CinemaCon

Read on: Deadline.

From my perspective, truly the most exciting and personally anticipated piece of footage of upcoming films touted at tonight’s kick-off Sony Pictures CinemaCon presentation was for a movie for which not one foot of film has yet to be shot.