Box Office: ‘Taken 3’ makes $40.4 million to dethrone ‘Hobbit 3’ for no. 1

The reign of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is over. America has a new no. 1 film at the box office and it stars Liam Neeson with a special set of skills. To no one's surprise, that movie is “Taken 3” which ruled the weekend with $40.4 million.   That would be significantly lower than the $49.8 million “Taken 2” earned in Feb. 2013, but still more than the $24.7 million the first “Taken” opened to in January, 2009.  Directed once a gain by Oliver Megaton, “Taken 3” has earned the worst reviews of the series with just a 26 on Metacritic and a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Still, with the four-day MLK weekend upcoming the film should easily find its way to $100 million plus domestic.

Jumping to second place was Ava DuVernay's critically acclaimed drama “Selma.” The Paramount Pictures release expanded to 2,179 theaters and pulled in and OK $11.2 million. It's earned $13.4 million since opening in limited release on Christmas Day.  Like “Taken 3,” the filmmakers behind this potential Oscar contender will look for a kickstart with the extended Martin Luther King Day holiday.

“Into the Woods” had a nice Saturday matinee bump which helped it earn $9.7 million over the three-day and $105.2 million to date. It becomes the ninth movie musical in history to earn over $100 million and the seventh this century.

Peter Jackson's previously mentioned “Hobbit” finale earned another $9.4 million for an impressive $236.5 million overall.  The Warner Bros. and MGM release has made a massive $753 million worldwide so far.

Not far behind “The Hobbit” in fifth place was “Unbroken.” The Angelina Jolie drama continued its impressive run with another $8.3 million and $101.6 million to date.

Expanding to just 645 theaters was Paul Thomas Anderson's “Inherent Vice.” For the most part critics have raved about Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's trippy novel, but audiences have had a mixed response.  “Vice” earned an OK $2.9 million over the frame. Since opening last month in limited release “Vice” has now made $4.4 million overall. Without significant Oscar nods this Thursday “Vice” may have a hard time matching the box office of Anderson's last flick, “The Master,” which ended up with $16.3 million when all was said and done.  

New films opening on Friday include “Blackhat,” “The Wedding Ringer” and “Paddington.” “American Sniper” will expand to nationwide release.

Look for final weekend estimates tomorrow on HitFIx.