The normally slow month of October kicked off strong with the sequel to Luc Besson’s action-thriller hit Taken 2, once again starring Liam Neeson as a highly-skilled special agent trying to protect his family. Co-starring Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace, the anticipated sequel opened with $50 million in 3,661 theaters. Going by early estimates, it’s the third-highest opening movie for October, following last year’s Paranormal Activity 3 and Jackass 3D.
Sony Pictures Animation’s animated hit Hotel Transylvania, featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg and others, dropped to second place with a substantial $26.3 million in 3,352 theaters. Down just 38% from its opening weekend, the surprise hit has grossed $76 million in ten days. At the same time, it added another $13.1 million overseas in 22 markets this weekend, bringing its international gross to $29.3 million and worldwide total to $105.3 million.
Universal’s a capella comedy Pitch Perfect, starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins, expanded nationwide into 2,770 theaters after a strong opening in limited release last weekend. That strategy paid off as it moved up to third place with a strong $14.7 million, averaging just over $5,000 per site, and bringing its gross to $21.6 million. Produced for a relatively small budget of $17 million, the film is going to be quite profitable for Universal.
Rian Johnson’s sci-fi action-thriller Looper (FilmDistrict/Tristar), starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, held up well in its second weekend, dropping just 41% and taking fourth place with $12.2 million, bringing its domestic total to $40.3 million.
Director Tim Burton can’t catch a break as he released his third movie of the year, the stop-motion animated Frankenweenie, and it became his third bomb of the year, opening in fourth place with just $11.5 million in over 3,000 theaters with $1.3 million of that amount coming from the film’s IMAX showings. It averaged a measly $3,800 per site despite the higher ticket prices for 3D and IMAX.
David Ayer’s police drama End of Watch (Open Road), starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, dropped to sixth place with $4 million, staying just ahead of the Clint Eastwood-Amy Adams baseball drama Trouble with the Curve (Warner Bros.), which took seventh place with $3.9 million. The former is also ahead in terms of total gross with $32.8 million to “Curve’s” $29.7 million.
Jennifer Lawrence’s horror-thriller House at the End of the Street (Relativity) dropped to eighth place with $3.7 million and a total gross of $27.5 million.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s drama The Master, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams, remained in ninth place with $1.8 million, down 31% from last weekend. It has grossed $12.3 million to date.
Disney’s Finding Nemo 3D (DisneyPixar) rounded out the Top 10 with $1.6 million, down 61% from last week, with a total gross of $38.9 million since opening last month.
The Top 10 grossed an estimated $129.7 million, which was up 38% from the same weekend last year when Hugh Jackman’s Real Steel (DreamWorks) won the weekend with $27.3 million with George Clooney’s The Ides of March taking second with $10.5 million.
Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Summit), starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson, continued to move up the ranks as it expanded into 221 theaters this weekend, which moved it up to #11 with $1.5 million for the weekend and $3.3 million grossed to date.
As far as the new limited releases, the Sundance movie The Oranges (ATO Pictures), starring Hugh Laurie and Leighton Meester, opened in 110 theaters where it grossed $180 thousand. Precious director Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy (Millennium Entertainment), starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman and John Cusack took in $110 thousand in its limited release into 11 theaters.
Click here for the full box office estimates of the top 12 films.