Sequel Taken 2, starring Liam Neeson, is leading the North American box office with a record-breaking $50 million debut. The second movie more than doubled profit from the original 2009 film.
The first part of the sequel became a $US145 million smash for the actor, the Academy Award-nominated star of Schindler’s List who has become an unlikely action hero in his 50s.
In Taken 2, Neeson returns as a retired CIA agent who didnâ€™t forget his professional skills to take on a gang of thugs out for revenge against him and his family, The Herald Sun writes.
“He gives hope to ageing men,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com.
“He’s done the reverse of most actors, where you do the action stuff when you’re younger then do the more introspective work when you’re older. He’s sort of turned it around. When he’s 80, he’ll probably be kicking even more butt.”
Neeson recently told MTV News he was initially “very wary” about doing a sequel to “Taken.” He said that the success of the original “Taken” was unexpected for him.
“We knew that we had made a really good, compact, European thriller in the first one, that would have a commercial life of some sort â€” before disappearing into DVD land,” he said at the time.
But thanks to what the actor described as “an extraordinary PR job” by distributor 20th Century Fox, “Taken” went on to earn over $200 million at the worldwide box office.
The last weekâ€™s winner, Adam Sandler’s animated cartoon Hotel Transylvania, was moved to second-place with total benefit of $US26.3 million. The Sony release raised its US total to $US76 million, and it has taken in $US29.3 million overseas for a worldwide haul of $US105.3 million.
The third place at the Box Office is occupied by Universal’s music tale Pitch Perfect, which earned $US14.7 million. The movie stars Anna Kendrick as a college freshman spicing things up for her a cappella singing squad.
“We’re very happy with the film’s performance. We had great momentum going into the weekend, and we are on the road to profitability,” said Universal president of domestic distribution Nikki Rocco.
Sony’s thriller Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, lost its second-place and now goes forth with $US12.2 million, lifting its US haul to $US40.3 million.
Tim Burton’s new cartoon Frankenweenie had a slow start, bringing to its producers $US11.5 million to round out the top-five. The Disney release is an update of Burton’s 1984 live-action short film, about a boy who brings his dead dog back to life.
Disney believes that good reviews and positive audience reaction will keep the monster cartoon afloat through Halloween and beyond.
“The movie itself is going to be its best selling tool,” said Dave Hollis, Disney’s head of distribution. “You have people coming out of the theatres, they’ve had a great experience, and they’re telling their friends.”
The six place went to End Of Watch, which earned $4 million, followed by Trouble With The Curve, taking $3.8 million.
Eighth place is occupied by House At The End Of The Street, which scored total $3.6 million, while The Master stayed at ninth with $1.8 million.
Finally, Finding Nemoâ€™s 3D re-release earned $1.5 million, bringing its total to $38.9 million.