I expected it to do well, but $50 million for Taken 2 is downright shocking. Its opening is more than twice that of the original ($24.7 million) and good enough for the third best October opening of all time, behind Paranormal Activity 3 and Jackass 3D. This despite the fact that, as it was astutely pointed out to me over the weekend, they missed a golden opportunity to call it “Taken Too!”
Exit polling indicated that the audience skewed older (56 percent were 25 years of age and up) and was pretty evenly split between men and women (52 percent male), which suggests Taken 2 was a good date night choice. [!?!] Reviews are god-awful (20 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but moviegoers were much more forgiving—they awarded Taken 2 a “B+” CinemaScore, which means the movie may not fall like a rock next weekend. Still, it’s going to be a lot more front-loaded than its predecessor, and matching Taken’s $145 million domestic total is going to be a real challenge. [BoxOfficeMojo]
I thought the first one was mostly just kind of boring and the sequel seemed, shall we say, contrived (they took his daughter… again!), but I can’t argue the appeal of Liam Neeson being a badass. In fact, after last week’s appearances on ESPN and the subsequent revelations about him punching children, I support all future Liam Neeson press tours, no matter how stupid the movie.
Meanwhile, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie opened worse than Paranorman, and almost as bad as Pirates! Band of Misfits. Hasn’t the clay industry suffered enough?!
Frankenweenie took fifth place this weekend with a disappointing $11.5 million debut. That’s way off from Tim Burton’s last stop-motion animated movie Corpse Bride, which earned $19.1 million in its nationwide expansion. It’s also lower than ParaNorman‘s $14.1 million, and only a tad up on April’s stop-motion bomb The Pirates! Band of Misfits ($11.1 million). [BoxOfficeMojo]
Other complicating factors include the decision to open it just a week after Hotel Transylvania, which is still doing big numbers. But that aside, either kids aren’t as into clay as they used to be, or they’re not nearly as fascinated by the concept of dead things conversing with the living as adults seem to think they are.