The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Entertainment

October 8, 2012

Liam Neeson doubles the take with $50 million 'Taken 2' debut

LOS ANGELES  — 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.

In "Taken 2," Neeson returns as a retired CIA agent using his expert espionage and killing skills to take on a gang of thugs out for revenge against him and his family.

"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.

Sony's sci-fi thriller "Looper," starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fell from second-place to fourth with $12.2 million, lifting its domestic haul to $40.3 million.

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.

"Frankenweenie" also faced stiff competition from Sandler's animated monster mash-up "Hotel Transylvania."

But with a budget of $39 million, "Frankenweenie" cost far less to produce than computer-animated films, whose price-tags can run to $150 million or more.

Disney is counting on good reviews and positive audience reaction to keep "Frankenweenie" 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 theaters, they've had a great experience, and they're telling their friends."

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Hollywood.com. Where available, latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. "Taken 2," $50 million ($55 million international).

2. "Hotel Transylvania," $26.3 million ($13.1 million international).

3. "Pitch Perfect," $14.7 million ($480,000 international).

4. "Looper," $12.2 million ($7.5 million international).

5. "Frankenweenie," $11.5 million.

6. "End of Watch," $4 million.

7. "Trouble with the Curve," $3.9 million.

8. "House at the End of the Street," $3.7 million.

9. "The Master," $1.8 million.

10. "Finding Nemo," $1.6 million ($600,000 international).

 

1
Text Only
Entertainment
  • 1 great reason to get out tonight!

    Today's top local music picks:

    April 23, 2014

  • Da Capo Chamber Players in Concert April 22

    LEWISBURG — The New York-based Da Capo Chamber Players will present an eclectic concert of new music on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall of the Weis Music Building at Bucknell University.

    April 20, 2014

  • Lewisburg Celebration of the Arts - The 45th Year

    LEWISBURG — This year is the 45th anniversary of the Lewisburg Arts Council celebrating the arts in the spring in Lewisburg.

    April 19, 2014

  • Birdsover.jpg This music is for the birds

    Some birds tweet, others chirp and a few birds from Arkansas can belt out a soulful song reminiscent of a cool Frank Zappa tune.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • And the winners are:

    LEWISBURG — Central Columbia High School senior Madeline Padner picked up this year’s Best in Show award at Packwood House Museum’s 36th annual Scholastic Arts Exhibit.

    April 18, 2014

  • Entry deadline this weekend for Celebration of the Arts exhibits

    LEWISBURG — Local artists and photographers have the opportunity to have their work on exhibit during The Lewisburg Celebration of the Arts.

    April 15, 2014

  • moranjason1.jpg Innovative jazz pianist coming to area April 17

    LEWISBURG — Jason Moran and the Bandwagon will perform on April 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Alumnus returns to SU for reading

    SELINSGROVE — Susquehanna graduate Sal Pane, ’07, will give a reading from his novel “Last Call in the City of Bridges” at the launch of Susquehanna’s RiverCraft magazine on Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Isaacs Auditorium in Seibert Hall.

    April 13, 2014

  • Entanglements.jpg Jody Fallon — 10 years later

    LEWISBURG — The Packwood House Museum will present an exhibition of the recent work of local artist Jody Fallon to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of his first solo exhibition

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • The best place to hunt eggs

    April 12th

    Beavertown -- An Easter egg hunt held at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church, 128 N. Orange St. Children invited to attend and lunch served following the egg hunt.

    Bloomsburg -- Mostly Mutts doggie biscuit hunt will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Sunlight Feed and Pet Supply Store, 229 Montour Blvd, Route 11. Owners must have their dogs on leashes and up to date on shots. Goodie bags for every dog and prizes. Suggested $5 donation. Rain date is April 26.

    Laurelton -- The Millmont West Union Area Lions Club will sponsor an Easter Egg Hunt at 1 p.m. on the grounds of The Union County West End Fairgrounds, Route 235. There will be divisions for all ages of children, and all the area children are welcome to participate. Also, during the egg hunt, the clubs annual ham raffle will be held. Tickets will be available at the egg hunt and from any Lions Club member. Tickets are $1 each, or 6 tickets for $5.

    Lewisburg -- A community Easter egg hunt will be held 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Hufnagle Park. The hunt will have a staggered start by age: 11:15 a.m., 0 to 3 years of age; 11:30 a.m., 4 to 6 years of age; 11:45 a.m., 7 to 10 years of age; noon, 11 years and older. Free and open to the public, and includes face painting, relay races and more. Participants are requested to check in at the registration table located at the gazebo upon arrival. Hosted by Alpha Xi Delta sorority and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at Bucknell University.

    Lewisburg -- American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 182 is holding an Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. at the municipal field on Fairground Road. Super prizes in each age category and everyone goes home with a treat.

    McEwensville -- An Easter egg hunt begins at 11 a.m. on the back lawn (weather permitting) at the Montgomery House Warrior Run Area Public Library, 20 Church St. For children in kindergarten through fourth grade. Before the hunt, a story time will take place in the library’s children room. Registration is required. Call (570) 538-1381.

    Middleburg -- More than an egg hunt held at Port Ann Wesleyan Church, 2856 Troxelville Road. Children through age 12 and their families are invited to hear the real message of Easter, sing praises to the Risen Savior, hunt for “empty tombs” (eggs) and have lunch from 11 a.m.--12:30 p.m. More information contact Robin at (570) 837-3096.

    Mifflinburg -- A flashlight Easter egg hunt begins at 8 p.m. at Mifflinburg Assembly of God for fifth grade students and younger. Younger children search inside while older kids search outside (if it rains all inside) Bring a flashlight and bag to hold your eggs. Prize drawings.

    Selinsgrove -- An Easter egg scavenger hunt held at 10 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 429 N. Eighth St. Family activities, prizes, and candy.

    Selinsgrove -- An Easter celebration and egg hunt held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Christ Community United Methodist Church, 3939 Park Road. Features games, crafts, puppet show and egg hunt. All children are welcome.

    Sunbury -- Children’s breakfast with the Easter Bunny served 8-10 a.m. at St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 501 Catawissa Ave. Serving pancakes and more — $3 per person.

    Sunbury -- An Easter egg hunt for infants to grade 5 held at noon at St. Luke’s Cemetery. Take Route 890 to Plum Creek Road, go straight onto St. Luke’s Road, cemetery on left. Weather permitting. Everyone gets a prize from the Easter Bunny.

    Watsontown -- An Easter egg hunt begins at 11 a.m. at Holy Spirit Evangelical Lutheran Church, Route 44, between McEwensville and Turbotville. Children age 3 and up to sixth grade are welcome to come and hear the story of Jesus, hunt for eggs, and maybe even win a prize. Free event.

    April 11, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Entertainment Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.