Ben Affleck and his 1970s styled beard in Argo took on Liam Neeson and his particular set of skills in Taken 2 at the box office with results closer than many prognosticators thought. Taken 2 won for the second straight weekend, Argo topped $20 million, and Sinister closed the top three with a strong finish as well. Together the top three earned over $60 million combined and the top twelve over $122 million. These strong numbers are before the arrival of certain cash cow Paranormal Activity 4 which makes them all the more impressive.
Taken 2 drummed up $22.5 million in its second weekend of release, a 55 percent decline from its opening weekend a week ago. Moviegoers continue to love Liam Neeson in the action hero role and keep turning up at the box office to see him. With $86.8 million in the bank, Taken 2 is assured a finish north of $100 million and could challenge the $145 million put up by the original film.
As expected, Argo featuring Ben Affleck behind and in front of the camera jumped from third place on Friday into a second place finish for its opening weekend. An “A+” CinemaScore rating helped build business through Saturday and Sunday en route to a $20.1 million three-day tally. Expect low percentage drops for Argo over the next several weeks and the potential for its box office run to close in the neighborhood of $75 to $100 million.
The other big newcomer, Sinister, took third place with $18.3 million after finishing first on Friday with the aid of some numbers padding that included Thursday evening showings. Still, the opening is considered strong for Summit Entertainment and the horror genre and will likely lead to Summit investigating more horror opportunities in the near future.
Families continue to check into Hotel Transylvania which added another $17.3 million to its stew of $102.2 million and counting. $150 million is certainly within reach with Halloween still yet to come. If Hotel Transylvania can reach that mark, it will be the highest earning movie ever for Sony Pictures Animation behind the $142.6 million The Smurfs put up.
While Hotel Transylvania continues to perform for Sony, the new Kevin James comedy Here Comes the Boom did not. With a $12 million opening that happens to be the worst of James’ career by several million (The Dilemma was the previous dog at $17.8 million), James might want to consider being a little pickier about his future projects.
Two other newcomers finished in ninth and eleventh place, respectively. Seven Psychopaths only made $4.3 million for CBS Films, while Atlas Shrugged: Part II failed to crack the top 10 with $1.7 million. Both films are on a fast track for the Blu-ray and DVD market.
The remaining top 10 shakes out as follows:
6. Pitch Perfect (Universal) – $9.3 million, $36.1 million to date
7. Frankenweenie (Buena Vista) – $7 million, $22 million to date
8. Looper (Columbia TriStar) – $6.3 million, $51.4 million to date
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Summit) – $2.2 million, $6.2 million to date.
The thriller Alex Cross and creeper Paranormal Activity 4 hit the scene next weekend with the latter an easy pick to win and knock Taken 2 out of the top spot.