Liam Neeson’s Taken 2 Manhandles Tim Burton with $18.6 Million at Friday Box Office

Liam Neeson's Taken 2 Manhandles Tim Burton with $18.6 Million at Friday Box OfficeLiam Neeson flexed a particular set of box office money making skills on Friday as Taken 2 shrugged off the competition and charted a course for a legitimate shot at acquiring an October opening weekend record. Tim Burton’s critically praised Frakenweenie, however, failed to draw crowds and barely opened in the top five.

Taken 2 may have come into its opening weekend with a dismal 19 percent approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, but as is often the case with a disconnect between critics and moviegoers, people lined up in droves to witness Liam Neeson’s latest butt-kicking adventure. The sequel opened to $18.6 million during its first 24 hours of release, nearly double the original’s $19.4 first day haul. If this momentum carries through Sunday, Taken 2 and Liam Neeson are looking at a $50 million opening weekend.

Should Taken 2 reach or surpass $50 million, it will be in record-setting territory. The current top opening weekend belongs to Paranormal Activity 3 with $52.6. million. That record is certainly within reach.

Hotel Transylvania coughed up its throne but still managed a strong $6.5 million on its second Friday of release, a 41 percent decline from its opening day. It should easily top $20 million for the weekend and has a running total of $56.2 million and counting through eight days of release.

Pitch Perfect expanded to a wide release on Friday and earned $4.9 million as a result. It should wrap the weekend in the neighborhood of $13 to $15 million.

Looper took fourth place with $3.5 million off a 49 percent decline, no doubt affected by the arrival of Taken 2. Its total now stands at $31.6 million.

Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie opened unusually far away from Halloween and suffered as a result. The quirky filmmaker’s latest foray into the macabre could only lure $3.3 million out of moviegoers in its debut. That’s lower than the $4.6 million fellow stop-motion flick ParaNorman earned in August and a clear indication that Tim Burton’s name as a brand isn’t nearly the draw it once was.

Check back tomorrow to see if Liam Neeson and Taken 2 can successfully top $50 million or even set a record, and if Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie was able to come back from the dead with the aid of weekend matinee audiences.

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