×

‘Taken 2’ nabs $50 mil to double predecessor’s debut take

Liam Neeson thriller powers weekend up 53% over 2011

If ever there were doubts of Liam Neeson being a box office bad-ass, the weekend’s estimated $105 million global gross for Fox’s “Taken 2,” including $50 million Stateside, has put them to rest.

The international action-thriller doubled the domestic opening of its 2009 predecessor, helping fuel a 50% year-over-year domestic weekend surge.

Fox also earned almost $40 million as it released the film day-and-date in 28 overseas territories. “Taken” launched in an additional 22 markets via local distribs (including France and Russia), which contributed another $16 million this weekend. Pic has totaled $67 million so far overseas, which includes an 11-day cume of $13.8 million from South Korea.

The sequel’s worldwide haul reached $117 million through Sunday.

Fox domestic distribution topper Chris Aronson said “Taken 2” isn’t expected to have the same six-times domestic multiple, based on its higher opening, as the $145 million-grossing original, “but (the sequel) should get to the same place — only quicker.”

In the States, Universal’s wide expansion of college tuner “Pitch Perfect” performed as expected, with an estimated $14.7 million, while Disney’s stop-motion 3D B&W toon “Frankenweenie” underperformed, nabbing just $11.5 million.

“Pitch Perfect” should make a tidy profit for U. The film, which received an A CinemaScore rating, cost just $17 million and has cumed $21.6 million domestically.

“Frankenweenie” marks the second recent modest perf for a stop-motion toon, after “ParaNorman” stalled somewhat during its opening frame in mid-August. The black-and-white component (in 3D) of the Tim Burton toon may have further deterred some families with young kids.

The Disney pic, which cost $39 million to produce, was hurt significantly by the holdover presence of Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania,” which in its second frame dropped just 38% — enough to claim second place overall with a projected $26.3 million, for a 10-day domestic cume of $76 million.

In limited release, Millennium Entertainment’s release of Lee Daniel’s “The Paperboy” got off to an OK start, averaging north of $10,000 from 11 Stateside locations.

Summit’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” continues to distinguish itself at the specialty box office, expanding to 221 locations — up from 102 last weekend — for a third-sesh gross of $1.5 million. “Perks” has cumed $3.3 million domestically.

Box office action all-star

In 2009, “Taken” became a sleeper hit, grossing more than $225 million at the global box office. Two years later, Neeson propelled Warner Bros.’ “Unknown,” a “Taken”-lite actioner, to a respectable $131 million worldwide gross.

Earlier this year, Neeson starrer “The Grey” became domestic distrib Open Road’s highest-grossing release so far, with nearly $52 million (pic earned more than $77 million globally via local distribs).

Taken 2,” which cost $45 million to produce, scored a solid B+ CinemaScore (as did “Frankenweenie”), with a slightly more even demo spread than the first “Taken.” Over-25 auds, for instance, contributed 56% of the sequel’s opening take vs. the first pic’s 60% turnout among this age group. Men generated 52% of the sequel’s debut total — the same as the original.

Most bizzers pegged “Taken 2” to land in the mid-$40 millions through Sunday, but Fox modestly insisted a high-$30 million gross was more reasonable given the recent sluggish B.O. climate (last weekend notwithstanding).

“There was nothing in the recent market, nor did tracking suggest that the film could do this sort of business,” Aronson said.

‘Frank’s’ faint fanboy spark

Disney was counting on fanboys for “Frankenweenie,” but the toon’s poor evening turnout on Friday suggested that “Taken 2” drew a larger-than-expected chunk of the opening-night fanboy crowd.

Still, the toon earned 11% of its gross from Imax — a largely fanboy format — with couples contributing 32% of the film’s weekend gross. Families, not surprisingly, made up the toon’s largest audience segment (at 56%), compared to teens, at just 12%.

“Frankenweenie” scored half of its debut gross from 3D, though without Imax, 3D would have contributed just 39% — better than “Brave” (34%) and “Hotel Transylvania” (35%), but worse than “Madagascar 3” (45%) and “The Lorax” (52%).

Dave Hollis, exec VP of motion pictures sales and distribution at Disney, said positive reviews and word-of-mouth should help “Frankenweenie” expand demographically — especially among fanboys — in the weeks leading up to Halloween. “When it’s all said and done, we’ve got a really great movie,” Hollis said.

Another positive sign for “Frankenweenie” is that the toon saw a healthy 40% uptick from Friday to Saturday. That’s compared to Burton’s 2005 stop-motion toon “Corpse Bride,” which increased just 14% after opening day. “ParaNorman” rose 18%.

Universal domestic distribution prexy Nikki Rocco said “Pitch Perfect” displayed promising staying power, declining as little as 25% at most holdover plexes. At the Grove in Los Angeles, “Pitch” actually increased 12% on Saturday.

“This is like the little-picture-that-could,” Rocco said. “It should wind up profitable for us.”

And speaking of tenacity, Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” surged again in its 18th overseas frame, thanks to its release in German-speaking territories. The toon grossed an additional $23.3 million, bringing its offshore total to $451 million and counting.

More Film

  • Tarantino Movies Ranked Illustration

    All of Quentin Tarantino's Movies Ranked

    In the history of cinema, has any director done more to elevate the idea of movies as cool than Quentin Tarantino? Certainly, the idea that films could be made by fans dates back at least to the French New Wave, when a group of die-hard critics stepped behind the camera. A few years later, Spielberg, [...]

  • A Stranger on the Beach

    Anonymous Content Wins Film Rights to Michele Campbell's 'A Stranger on the Beach' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anonymous Content has won the adaptive rights to the forthcoming Michele Campbell novel “A Stranger on the Beach.” In a competitive situation, Anonymous outbid multiple players for the thriller, which it will adapt for the big screen with in-house producers Alex Goldstone and Rosalie Swedlin. “Stranger” has been likened to sensual thrillers like “Fatal Attraction” [...]

  • Ridley Scott Matt Damon Ben Affleck

    Ridley Scott, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Nicole Holofcener Team on 'The Last Duel'

    Ridley Scott looks to have his next directing job, as he has signed on to direct “The Last Duel” with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck attached to star. Damon and Affleck co-wrote the script with Oscar-nominated Nicole Holofcener. Scott, Damon and Affleck all producing along with Scott’s producing partner Kevin Walsh. Drew Vinton is also [...]

  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas Ed Asner Elliott

    Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Ed Asner, Elliott Gould Seek SAG-AFTRA Board Seats

    Ed Asner, Elliott Gould and Jonathan Taylor Thomas are seeking SAG-AFTRA national board seats as members of presidential candidate Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. Asner is the former president of the Screen Actors Guild, serving two terms from 1981 to 1985, and winning five Emmys for his role as Lou Grant and two others [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor Comic Con

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the biggest volume of buzz for nine of the top 10 [...]

  • Chris Rock - Netflix

    Chris Rock's 'Saw' Reboot Moves Up Five Months to May 2020

    Lionsgate has moved Chris Rock’s upcoming “Saw” reboot forward by five months to May 15, 2020, vacating the pre-Halloween date of Oct. 23, 2020. The studio indicated Monday that it decided to move the untitled “Saw” movie into the summer slot after seeing early footage from the set of the film currently shooting in Toronto. The move [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content