Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
October 9, 2012
Actually, we think this was Taken 4
Kim Hollis: Taken 2 opened to $49.5 million this weekend. What are your thoughts on this result? Do you consider this to be a needless sequel?
Felix Quinonez: It more than doubled the opening of Taken so I say it's a huge win. Since it has already made back its $45 million production budget, I'm guessing Taken 3 is already green lit. Also, the daily numbers seem a bit encouraging. I was expecting it to have a pretty big Friday-to-Saturday drop, but it actually picked up a bit and its 35% drop on Sunday is not bad at all. And while its "B+" cinemascore isn't amazing it is encouraging. I still don't think it'll have great legs but maybe it won't be as completely front-loaded as I initially thought. Although I haven't seen it, I'd say it looks and, judging by the reviews, sounds like the definition of a needless sequel. But I will see it cause I love Neeson.
Max Braden: That's big. On paper you could say there's no sense to a sequel that keeps kidnaps the man's family, but it worked for Die Hard. I'd say a needless sequel would be one nobody asked for. Even though this sequel was a repeat of the first movie, that's obviously what people were asking for - more of the same. They got what they wanted, and so did the studio.
Edwin Davies: This is pretty spectacular, no two ways about it. Neeson's action-hero phase has been fairly muted since Taken came out, with only Clash of the Titans surpassing Taken's $145 million, and everything else falling between $20 million and $80 million. Basically, the fact that Taken 2 earned almost as much in three days as The Grey made in its entire run confirms that whilst Neeson has become something of a draw for action schlock, everyone was kind of waiting for a real sequel to Taken, rather than the series of sort-of Taken sequels we've seen since. I doubt that it will have good legs since this big an opening weekend will eat up a fair amount of demand, and because it's getting bad reviews and kind of ho-hum word-of-mouth, so it'll likely shoot under its predecessor's total by $10-20 million. Still, that's nothing to sniff at, and the foreign numbers will no doubt be very healthy indeed.
In terms of whether this is a "needless" sequel, I think it's perfectly appropriate. The first Taken was exactly the sort of should-have-been-straight-to-DVD-but-somehow-isn't fare that Luc Besson has been putting out for years in terms of its boilerplate plot, grim tone and overall quality. It was elevated by Liam Neeson's performance, but other than that it wasn't a particularly impressive film, artistically speaking. Taken 2 is more of the same, i.e. a straight-to-DVD sequel that happens to be playing in over 3,000 theaters.
Jason Barney: Taken 2 starting with $50 million is a huge opening and it just shows how much goodwill the original film had. Just think of some of the summer blockbusters that thought they would do better than this, when people are jazzed about going to the movies. Here we are in the middle of October, with the box office emerging from one of the most putrid Septembers of all time, and Taken 2 earned more money in the first three days than films like Battleship or Dark Shadows. This is a better opening than Ice Age 4, and in the ball park of Prometheus's $51 million, Snow White's $56 million, and MIB 3's $54 million. Anyone involved in the project has to be feeling really good. They pulled off summer blockbuster numbers in a usually soft part of the movie schedule.