'Taken 2' Rocks Box Office
Year-Over-Year Ticket Sales Up 45%
Published: 10/07/2012, Last Updated: 10/08/2012 02:01pm
The original Taken debuted with little fanfare early in 2009, but became one of the year's best performers, a Q1 stealth action movie hit that revitalized the career of actor Liam Neeson. The sequel Taken 2, more than doubled the original's debut numbers as it posted the third best October debut ever this past weekend. The sequel has the ex-black ops agent Bryan Mills (Neeson) once again adopting the role of the "superhero" without superpowers, dispatching hordes of bad guys who are bent on getting revenge for the members of their clan that Mills killed in the 2009 film. The Taken formula is obviously a hit since Taken 2 earned an estimated $50 million, while posting the best ever October opening for a "PG" rated film. Tim Burton's Frankenweenie opened with a soft $11.5 million in the wake of the much more popular Hotel Transylvania, but Taken 2's impressive debut and strong performances from the holdovers gave the box office its second strong performance in a row as it surged 45.3% over the same weekend last year when Real Steel debuted with $27.3 million.
Taken 2, which cost just $42 million to produce, earned $105 million worldwide during its opening weekend. Will it be able to match the original's $145 million domestic take? Perhaps not, the first film demonstrated extraordinary "legs," but Taken 2 will likely still end up with a larger global total due to the expanding worldwide market. Critics hated Taken 2, which earned just a 20% positive rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, but the debut audience, which was well balanced for an action film (just 52% male, and just 56% over 25) gave the film a solid, if unspectacular, "B+" CinemaScore.
Last week's winner Hotel Transylvania slipped just 38.1% and took second place with an estimated $26.3 million. So far the Sony Animation production has earned $76 million domestically, and it could be over $100 million by this time next week. Universal took its college a cappella musical film Pitch Perfect wide by adding 2,435 theaters, and the movie earned an estimated $14.7 million, which was good enough for third place. As might be expected for a film about an all female singing group, women made up 81% of the audience with 55% of the crowd under 25.
In spite of strong competition from Taken 2, the sci-fi action film Looper held up pretty well as it dropped just 41.4% and landed in fourth place with an estimated $12.2 million.
Tim Burton's Frankenweenie just couldn't get out from under the shadow of Hotel Transylvania. In spite of the fact that the B&W stop motion-animated Frankenweenie earned an excellent 85% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a solid "B+" CinemaScore from an opening weekend audience that was composed of more families (56%) than couples (32%). Frankenweenie's IMAX debut went pretty well as it added $1.3 million to the film's total, but unless the heavily advertised Burton film, which is a remake of his 1984 short, manages to build up some box office momentum next weekend, it will be DOA theatrically and have to hope for financial salvation on DVD.
The next four holdovers including the gritty cop drama End of Watch, the Clint Eastwood comedy Trouble With the Curve, the Jennifer Laurence-starring horror thriller The House and the End of the Street and the Scientology-skewering The Master all had solid holds with drops under 50% (with The Master slipping just 31.4%). Disney's 3-D re-release of Finding Nemo fell to the tenth spot and looks to finish with about $40 million domestically.
Check back next week to see if a batch of new films that includes the new Kevin James comedy Here Comes the Boom, Argo, the true life rescue of six Americans from Iran during the hostage crisis, and the black comedy Seven Psychopaths can keep Hollywood's box office winning streak going for third week in a row.
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