Weekend Box Office: “Taken 2” impresses

Liam Neeson stars in "Taken 2," which claimed the #1 slot at the box office this weekend with a whopping $50m.“Taken 2,” the wham-bam action sequel starring Liam Neeson as an ex-C.I.A. agent who must once again save his family from kidnappers, opened with an incredibly strong $50 million this weekend, doubling its predecessor’s first weekend gross. Sweetening the deal: the film made an additional $67m in foreign markets, for a worldwide total of $117m, meaning it’s already close to recouping its production budget. “Taken 3” is practically a sure thing now, provided that Neeson is willing to continue to nurse his unlikely late-in-life action-star persona now that he’s eligible to order off the senior menu at most restaurants. The only question: Who’s left to kidnap? Perhaps the three-quel will fast-forward 10 years, when a 70-year-old Neeson saves his grandkid from aggressors, using his dentures as a weapon.

Fellow new release “Pitch Perfect” expanded pretty well after its word-of-mouth-building platform release last weekend, with $14.7m, which is especially solid when one considers that the movie only cost $17m to make. By contrast, Tim Burton’s $39m-budgeted “Frankenweenie” only opened to $11.5m. I predicted it would do nearly double that, but the underwhelming number isn’t surprising given the family film was shot in black-and-white, a medium that alienates mass audiences.

Holdovers “Hotel Transylvania” and “Looper” both held up nicely, dropping around 40 percent each to weekends of $26.3m and $12.2m, respectively. The folks at Sony have got to be happy that both films should become profitable via domestic box office alone — foreign and ancillary grosses will be icing on the cake.

Check out the full top 10 chart below…

No. Title Weekend Per Theater Average Total
1 “Taken 2” $50.0M $13,657 $50.0M
2 “Hotel Transylvania” $26.3M $7,846 $76.0M
3 “Pitch Perfect” $14.7M $5,307 $21.6M
4 “Looper” $12.2M $4,076 $40.3M
5 “Frankenweenie” $11.5M $3,827 $11.5M
6 “End of Watch” $4.0M $1,688 $32.8M
7 “Trouble with the Curve” $3.9M $1,289 $29.7M
8 “House at the End of the Street” $3.7M $1,360 $27.5M
9 “The Master” $1.8M $2,130 $12.3M
10 “Finding Nemo 3-D” $1.6M $891 $39.0M

Source: Box Office Mojo