- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Neeson doubles the take with $50M ‘Taken 2’ debut
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Critics don’t like “Taken 2,” but Liam Neeson’s action sequel has proved twice the hit among fans as the original movie was.
“Taken 2” led the box office with $50 million domestically over opening weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. That’s double the haul for Neeson’s “Taken,” which took in $24.7 million in its U.S. debut in early 2009.
“Taken” went on to become a $145 million smash for Neeson, the Academy Award-nominated star of “Schindler’s List” who has become an unlikely action hero in his 50s.
“He gives hope to aging 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.”
“Taken 2,” which began rolling out overseas a weekend earlier, added $55 million more in about 50 international markets to raise its worldwide total to $117 million.
The previous weekend’s No. 1 movie at the U.S. box office, Adam Sandler’s animated hit “Hotel Transylvania,” dropped to second-place with $26.3 million. The Sony release raised its domestic total to $76 million, and it has taken in $29.3 million overseas for a worldwide haul of $105.3 million.
Expanding into nationwide release after a limited debut a week earlier, Universal’s music tale “Pitch Perfect” moved up to third-place with $14.7 million. The movie stars Anna Kendrick as a college freshman spicing things up for her a cappella singing squad.
Tim Burton’s animated monster tale “Frankenweenie” had a slow start, taking in $11.5 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.
Released by 20th Century Fox, “Taken 2” gave a big boost to Hollywood revenues, which have lagged most weekends since late summer. Domestic business totaled $138 million, up 45.5 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Real Steel” led with $27.3 million.
While the first movie got respectable reviews, “Taken 2” was panned by critics as a replay of the original. Audiences rarely care what critics say, though.
“Most people go to the movies for a certain dose of escapism,” said Chris Aronson, head of distribution for 20th Century Fox. “It doesn’t have to be high art. It doesn’t have to be serious and contemplative. They go to the movies to be entertained, and my gosh, that’s what this movie does.”
“Frankenweenie” had a modest debut compared to Burton’s last animated feature, “Corpse Bride,” which took in $19.1 million in its first weekend of wide release in 2005. Both films were made through stop-motion animation, using puppets moved incrementally and photographed a frame at a time.
“Corpse Bride” had the advantage of Burton’s superstar pal Johnny Depp leading the voice cast. And “Frankenweenie” was a tough sell both for its stop-motion style, which is far less popular than the computer-generated look of today’s animation blockbusters, and for its black-and-white presentation, done in homage to classic monster movies.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- NYC alarms with notice: Immediately surrender your rifle
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Global economy, the civilizing power of markets and public morals.
News and opinion from a Millennial Urbanite with Southern sensibilities,
Notes from a running nerd: musings and more on all things running.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow