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‘Taken 2’ kickstarts weekend with $18.6 mil

Neeson thriller on track for $50 mil weekend, double the opening of predecessor

Auds seem taken with “Taken 2” as the thriller toplining Liam Neeson grossed $18.6 million Friday at the domestic B.O.

The Fox actioner is looking to double its predecessor’s bow this weekend, which had a three-day haul of $24.7 million in 2009. This time around, familiarity with the franchise and strong tracking from adults will likely put the pic on the high end of insider expectations, north of $50 million.

Maintaining traction despite new kidpic competition from Disney’s “Frankenweenie,” Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania” took second with $6.5 million. Last weekend’s champ with $42.5 million, the toon will likely drop about 45% for a gross in the mid-$20 million range through Sunday. Whereas, with $3.3 million Friday, “Frankenweenie” is on target with other recent claymation features in the low teens.

In its first weekend in wide release, Universal’s “Pitch Perfect” took third Friday with $4.9 million. The laffer started with promising sneaks last week to build buzz, and all said, pic is looking at a weekend haul in the mid-teens.

Finally, Sony’s competing actioner “Looper” earned $3.5 million Friday, looking to land close to “Frankenweenie” with three-day numbers around $12 million.

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