Box Office Report: 'Taken' scores a touchdown

With an unexpectedly big gross of $24.6 million, according to Sunday’s early estimates, Liam Neeson’s kidnapping thriller Taken was the easy victor at the box office on this Super Bowl weekend.

That’s a particularly impressive feat for a male-baiting film whose key audience has had plenty of distractions during this national football holiday frame. To be sure, the movie drew an A- CinemaScore review from a crowd that was nearly three-fifths men and 70 percent over the age of 25 — an almost exact mirror of the big game’s core demographic. For Neeson, who hasn’t starred in a major Hollywood release since 2005’s Batman Begins and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (to which he lent his voice), this is a nice turn of events, indeed: The $24.6 mil premiere is the fifth best of his career, and, really, the top debut ever for a flick featuring him as a solo lead star.

Certainly, Taken‘s weekend sum could decrease slightly after the Super Bowl is played tonight and the actual final Friday-to-Sunday box office figures are calculated, but the film has no chance of falling out of first place. That’s because its next closest competitor was two-time champ Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which brought in $14 mil and fell to No. 2. With $83.4 mil in the bank to date, the Kevin James comedy is basically assured of becoming the first 2009 release to gross $100 mil.

The Uninvited (No. 3) was next, with a decent $10.5 mil — exactly the kind of first-weekend number that all Asian horror remakes seem to get these days. Hotel for Dogs (No. 4 with $8.7 mil) and Gran Torino (No. 5 with $8.6 mil) rounded out the top five. (At $110.5 mil and counting, Gran Torino is now the top-grossing movie of Clint Eastwood’s career.) And the other big new release, the Renee Zellweger comedy New in Town — the kind of female-friendly counterprogramming that studio bigwigs typically expect to do well on weekends like this — got little love at No. 8, earning just $6.8 mil.

Among Best Picture nominees, Slumdog Millionaire once again fared best, banking $7.7 mil at No. 6, while all the others fell outside of the top 10 (i.e. they all banked less than about $3.7 mil a piece). That result is a tad disappointing for The Reader and Milk, as both movies expanded somewhat wide this weekend (they grossed $2.4 mil and $1.4 mil, respectively).

Overall, the cumulative box office was essentially flat with the same frame a year ago, when the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert film came out of nowhere to be the big winner. Just like the Arizona Cardinals will do tonight.

More Box Office News:

Box Office Preview: Taken vs. The Super Bowl’s Box Office Chart
Paul Blart edges out Underworld 3 to win the weekend
Paul Blart: Mall Cop wins the weekend
Gran Torino drives away with a win

addCredit(“Stephanie Branchu”)


Comments (7 total) Add your comment
  • Dr.Meow

    Waka Waka WHAATTT did you say about the steelers?Arrgh

  • Ceballos

    Joshua, if you predict football games as well as you do the box office (you were right that Taken would be #1, but were almost $10 million off!), you have to like the Steelers chances tonight.

  • JR

    May want to check your facts. That is nowhere near Eastwood’s top grossing films. Steelers by 10 at least.

  • Mike

    Actually JR it IS the highest grossing Clint Eastwood movie, unless you want to start adjusting for inflation.

  • KOZ

    Saw Taken and I’m glad that it is #1.

  • Brian

    Out of all the excellent movies Clint’s made, it boggles my mind how Grand Turdino has wound up on top. Blech.

  • @Brian

    Agreed. That movie was so disappointing. So, so disappointing.

Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos in Movies


From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by VIP