Back in the olden times, it was surprising that a hyper-violent action movie starring that guy from ‘Schindler’s List’ could open to huge box office and become one of the biggest hits of the year. But this is 2015, and it’s a little less surprising when a Liam Neeson action movie opens big. ‘Taken 3’ may not have matched the opening weekend of ‘Taken 2,’ but it’s off to a strong start.

Film Weekend Per Screen
1 Taken 3 $40,400,000 $11,241 $40,400,000
2 Selma $11,200,000 (+1,668.9) $5,140 $13,487,000
3 Into the Woods $9,750,000 (-47.9) $3,442 $105,272,000
4 The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies $9,435,000 (-56.6) $2,773 $236,517,000
5 Unbroken $8,368,000 (-53.9)
$2,535 $101,602,000
6 The Imitation Game $7,624,000 (-1.9) $4,868 $40,840,000
7 Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb $6,700,000 (-53.9) $1,988 $99,523,000
8 Annie $4,919,000 (-56.3) $1,722 $79,437,000
9 The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death $4,825,000 (-67.9) $1,854 $22,334,000
10 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 $3,750,000 (-50.4) $1,818 $329,525,000


The latest entry in the critic-proof “Liam Neeson murders a significant portion of the world’s population’ series, ‘Taken 3’ opened with a very strong $40 million. If it follows the track record of its predecessors (and it should), it will probably end up somewhere in the vicinity of $130-$150 million. In any case, it’s definitely going to make $100 million and change, which is the perfect number for a expensive-but-not-too-expensive action movie like this.

In second place, ‘Selma’ exploded into wide release, grossing $11 million and boosting a gross percentage increase of 1,668%. That’s not a bad start for the Oscar contender, but it’s going to need some serious word of mouth if it wants to match the success of other awards season releases. Look to sixth place and ‘The Imitation Game,’ which dropped a microscopic 1.9% and crossed the $40 million mark. ‘Selma’ is a much better film than ‘The Imitation Game,’ but that doesn’t mean much with box office. Next week should give us a clear view of what happens next.

The next few slots are filled with Christmas holdovers still doing solid business. ‘Into the Woods’ earned $9 million, pushing it past the $100 million mark and sending it on the highway to profitability. ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ had its first major dip, grossing $9 million for a $236 million total ($300 million is still a possibility, but we shall wait and see). In fifth place, ‘Unbroken’ continued to prove that we really have no idea what audiences are going to respond to by grossing $8 million and ending the weekend with $100 million.

The back end of the top 10 is a little less interesting and it reeks of desperation. ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ is about to squeak by $100 million, but it’s nowhere close to the grosses of the first two films. ‘Annie’ is still doing decent but unremarkable business. ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death’ took the expected plummet that all horror films see in their second weekend, but falling from first place to ninth feels devastating. And finally, there’s ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1,’ which is another week away from becoming the highest grossing film released in 2014. Unfortunately, it’ll do so while being the lowest grossing film in the franchise by far.