Monday Morning Quarterback Part I
By BOP Staff
January 13, 2015
Kim Hollis: Taken 3 (It Ends Here!) opened with $39.2 million. What do you think of this result?
Jason Barney: The unlikely Liam Neeson action movie streak continues. This opening is fantastic considering there are some factors working against any sort breakout potential. First, even with some fairly solid numbers during the holiday season, no one can deny box office was down for 2014. With January not exactly being a safe realm for blockbusters, Taken 3’s opening right around $40 million is awesome. Franchise fatigue could have set in, but people still bought tickets. Considering the budget was a fairly modest $48 million, this flick will be making money even beyond the marketing costs pretty quickly. For a film to exceed its budget before it reaches its second weekend in theaters is the dream of most studios.
I think there is a larger story at play here, and it’s that Neeson’s career is doing just fine. The movies he has made over the last couple of years have not hurt him one bit. Even efforts like A Walk Among the Tombstones and A Million Ways to Die in the West appear to have at least broken even. Non-Stop was a glorified success considering it was made for $50 million and brought in well over $200 million worldwide. 2012’s Taken 2 isn’t that far in the rearview mirror. That installment was made for $45 million and it brought in a ridiculous $375 million worldwide. Battleship sunk right after leaving the docks, and Wrath of the Titans was not as successful as many had hoped, but even going back four years he was able to propel a film like Unknown to a pretty impressive profit.
The basic idea is this: some of his most recent work may not be the best quality of his career, but Neeson is an actor a lot of people are willing to see. The third installment in a franchise opening in mid January getting this sort of reception? Yeah, I think his career is doing just fine.
Matthew Huntley: I agree with Jason this opening is fantastic, although I would argue Taken 3's numbers are more attributable to the lack of competition and that all other films in the marketplace were merely expanding instead of reaching audiences for the first time, because they're certainly not a reflection of the movie's quality. And speaking of quality, I think Taken 3's poor reviews will make it the only installment in the franchise not to reach $100 million+. I just don't see it having good enough legs, but as Jason pointed out, the film is essentially already a success after one weekend. Even if it stumbles heavily from here on out, it'll cover its production budget and earn back its P&A budget with international and home market numbers. That's more than acceptable for the third film in a redundant franchise such as this.
Felix Quinonez: I think this is a great opening. I thought that audiences had tired of the "Liam Neeson kicks butt" movies a bit. And after the lukewarm reception of Taken 2, I expected this to see a bigger drop off. But $40 million is a great opening and because of its relatively low budget, it doesn't even need to have legs to be successful.