By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
October 7, 2012
What happens next is arguable. One of the key selling points of Taken 2 is that the original film is among the most revered in recent memory. Critics were not as passionate in their support; Taken is currently rotten at Rotten Tomatoes, albeit narrowly at 58%. Top critics disliked it more than that with only 42% stating their enjoyment for the film, which causes us to wonder exactly what movie they watched.
Taken 2 is even less popular with critics as only 20% of them enjoy it (28% among top critics). The B+ Cinemascore indicates audiences are nowhere as enthusiastic about the sequel as they were the original. So a leggy showing a la the original is out of the question here. Even Taken’s domestic tally of $145 million appears ambitious. Still, Taken 2 is all but certain to cross $100 million and finish in the $125 million range. It could wind up much higher if consumers once again defy expectations and celebrate a straightforward action story done well. Given the $80 million budget and the $55 million overseas debut this weekend, Taken 2 is already a profitable endeavor that will wind up being a huge blockbuster before it’s finished its global run.
Last weekend’s #1 film holds decently as it falls only one spot to second place. Hotel Transylvania, Sony’s animated monster comedy featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez and Kevin James, took in another $26.3 million. That’s a decline of only 38%, which is quite solid for a CGI animated film – particularly when direct competition in Frankenweenie was also hitting the marketplace.
Usually, when movies are in development for six years, disaster is in the offing. Hotel Transylvania had four different directors (or directing teams) attached to helm the project before Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory) finally took over, rewriting the script and reimagining the character design. The decision paid off for the studio, as the film has now grossed $76 million domestically and will have no problem matching and exceeding its $85 million budget.
Third place goes to the expanding Pitch Perfect, which grew its presence from 335 venues last weekend to a fully wide 2,770. Universal’s platforming strategy paid off in a big way. As we know, the choir film featuring Anna Kendrick earned a spectacular $5.1 million last weekend, allowing the studio to build buzz and establish the film as a pop culture must-see. Now with the benefit of easy availability, Pitch Perfect grew to $14.7 million. That’s a 186% increase from its debut frame, though the per location average did decline to $5,320.
With a $17 million budget, Universal already has a money-maker on its hands. So far, Pitch Perfect has earned $21.6 million in North American theaters. It has solid word-of-mouth, which should translate to a decent run over the next few weeks. At Rotten Tomatoes, it ranks at 76% fresh, but its “A” Cinemascore tells you that audiences are eating up the singing, humor and romance that the film brings to the table.