Box Office Taken by Liam Neeson’s Angry Dad


The Box Office Report has been updated with studio estimates for the weekend. Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films and then check back on Monday for the final figures based on actual box office.

After two weeks at #1, Kevin James’ Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Sony) was dethroned by an unlikely action-thriller produced and co-written by Luc Besson. Starring Oscar-nominated actor Liam Neeson, the high concept action thriller Taken exceeded expectations for Super Bowl weekend by grossing an estimated $24.6 million out of the gate in 3,183 theaters. Having been released last year just about everywhere except for the United States and Canada, the movie which features Neeson as a former government operative whose daughter Maggie Grace is kidnapped while on holiday, was able to build upon early buzz from other territories as well as strong commercials.

Dropping to second place, the family comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop brought in a respectable $14 million in its third weekend to bring its total box office to $83.4 million.

In the past, horror movies have done very well over Super Bowl weekend, justifying DreamWorks’ release of the ghostly The Uninvited, although it only made $10.5 million in its moderate release into 2,344 theaters, not exactly making waves compared to past Super Bowl horror offerings.

The family comedy Hotel for Dogs (DreamWorks) continued to be unstoppable, as it held onto fourth place for a second weekend with $8.7 million to bring its total box office to $48 million.

Clint Eastwood’s highest-grossing movie to date Gran Torino (Warner Bros.) dropped down to fifth place, just $100 thousand behind the canine comedy, with a total gross of $110 million amassed since opening in December.

Danny Boyle received a coveted honor from his peers in the Directors’ Guild (DGA) yesterday for his work helming the Mumbai epic Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), which showed the smallest drop-off for a movie in the Top 10, adding another $7.7 million to its total gross of $67 million in sixth place.

The dark action prequel Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Screen Gems) took a massive tumble in its second weekend with the prospect of facing two strong new genre movies. It dropped from 2nd to 7th place with a weekend gross of $7.2 million and $33 million total.

Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. were paired in the fish out of water romantic comedy New in Town (Lionsgate), which brought in a mere $6.8 million in its opening weekend in less than 2,000 theaters, averaging less than $3,500 per site.

The top 10 was rounded out by Lionsgate’s horror remake My Bloody Valentine 3D and the New Line fantasy film Inkheart with $4.3 and $3.7 million, respectively.

Three Oscar-nominated movies expanded nationwide this weekend with Stephen Daldry’s The Reader, starring Kate Winslet, coming out just ahead of Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke, both earning roughly $2.4 million over the weekend.

Having already been playing in many cities since Thanksgiving, Gus Van Sant’s Milk finally expanded nationwide into 882 theatres, hoping to capitalize on its own Oscar nominations, but ended up in 18th place with just $1.4 million.

Click here for the full box office results of the top 12 films.