Monday Morning Quarterback Part I

By BOP Staff

February 2, 2009

The new NFL definition of clutch.

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You don't mess with the Liam

Kim Hollis: Taken, the Liam Neeson action thriller, earned $24.7 million, making it one of the most successful Super Bowl weekend debuts to date. Why do you think this happened?

Max Braden: As bad as the dialogue was in the trailer, I think audiences saw a decent thriller. But the chance to see Liam Neeson kick the crap out of some bad guys just like Jack Bauer probably explains most of the box office results. Looking over the previous Super Bowl top openers: The Eye, The Messengers, When a Stranger Calls ($21 million in 2006), Boogeyman ($19 million in 2005) it seems this weekend is usually led by horror movies. Given a choice between them, I'd see Taken instead of the others.

Tim Briody: I think the notion of box office dead zones is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Fox decided to eschew the tradition of Super Bowl weekend with Taken and it paid off for them. It helped that it was so slick looking.

Joel Corcoran: I disagree with Max's opinion that the dialogue in the trailer was "bad," but he and Tim hit the main reasons for this film's success. Taken looks like a tight, well-done thriller that is backed by some great trailers. And the timing for the release is perfect. I also think think the trailers do an excellent job of presenting Liam Neeson's character as morally complex, suave, and tough - a type of character he's played very well in the past. Here's a guy who tells his daughter to crawl under the bed so she'll be captured and then speaks to the kidnappers on the phone like he's got a customer service complaint. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? Did he tell the daughter to hide under the bed to save her from the risks of trying to escape? Or is he using her as a way to get to the kidnappers? And what type of man could remain so calm while essentially orchestrating his own daughter's capture?


Brandon Scott: Hey, I think the trailers generated significant interest. There was nothing bad about it. I do fear that the best stuff was shown in the trailer, though. Neeson's voiceover diatribe was great since that trailer launched months back. As for its success, I would tend to agree with Tim. It took a chance, unlike the usual counter-programming for women, and I am definitely glad it worked. I think reasonable reviews helped in this area as well. Joel does ask a lot of questions, though, about Neeson's character. Now I am even more intrigued to see the movie. Doesn't mean I will, but I am more intrigued.

Scott Lumley: C'mon now, who isn't gonna show up for Qui-Gon calmly getting medieval on the bad guys? As a new daddy, I may have to watch this and take notes in case somebody messes with my munchkin.

In all seriousness, it had some stylish and intriguing trailers that promised a slick thriller coupled with some fairly intense violence. On Super Bowl weekend that's like offering candy to schoolchildren. We football fans have to watch something until the big game comes on.

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