Looking at the winners and losers from this weekend’s box office:
WINNER: Liam Neeson. The 60-year-old star put the cherry on top of his late-career action hero run with the $50 million opening of “Taken 2,” doubling the opening of the first “Taken” movie back in 2008 and confirming that audiences either really like Neeson or really hate Albanians. Despite dismal reviews — the movie really is horrible — the sequel scored big with audiences, and suddenly “Taken 3″ doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Maybe the next one will address Neeson’s daughter’s supposed singing career, which was completely left out of “Taken 2.” (Suggestion for “Taken 3″: Set it in L.A. No one is going to believe that Neeson’s daughter will ever leave the country again.)
LOSER: Besides Albanians, the big loser at this weekend’s box office was “Frankenweenie.” Tim Burton’s black-and-white stop motion kiddie horror tale was admired by critics — our Tom Long gave it a B+ and called it “an awfully good wacky horror cartoon” — but it opened in 5th place to just $11.5 million, getting walloped by “Hotel Transylvania” and marking Burton’s second underperforming sort-of-horror-sort-of-comedy of the year. Burton has been in remake mode for years — even “Frankenweenie” is a remake of his own 1984 short-film — so maybe it’s time for him to go back to the old drawing board and whip up something original.
NOT SO ‘GLEE’-FUL: “Pitch Perfect,” which expanded this weekend from last weekend’s limited release and landed in 3rd place with a solid-but-not-extraordinary $14.7 million. That brings its two-week cume to $21.6 million, which means it won’t become the breakout hit it deserves to be. Suggestion: Center the sequel around the great Adam DeVine and watch the money roll in!
Box Office Top 10 (weekend estimates, with cumulative totals in parentheses)
1. Taken 2, $50 million ($50 million)
2. Hotel Transylvania, $26.3 million ($76 million)
3. Pitch Perfect, $14.7 million ($21.6 million)
4. Looper, $12.2 million ($40.3 million)
5. Frankenweenie, $11.5 million ($11.5 million)
6. End of Watch, $4 million ($32.8 million)
7. Trouble With the Curve, $3.9 million ($29.7 million)
8. House at the End of the Street, $3.7 million ($27.5 million)
9. The Master, $1.8 million ($12.3 million)
10. Finding Nemo 3D, $1.6 million ($39 million)