Liam Neeson may have turned 60 this year, but its the best of times for the Irish actor. This week he has another blockbuster to add to his rapidly expanding list.
Taken 2, the sequel to the 2009 thriller, garnered an astounding $50 million from 3,661 theaters this weekend, making it the third-best ever opener in the month of October, behind 2011′s Paranormal Activity 3 and 2010′s Jackass 3D.
It's fair to say his films have not been the Oscar attracting fare of his last few decades, with hoary titles like Battleship, Wrath of the Titans, The Grey, and The Dark Knight Rises making the list. But they have been immensely profitable, and in Hollywood that equals success.
Now with Taken 2, Neeson has another blockbuster under his belt, with the film earning more than twice as much as the original Taken did in its opening weekend. The original Taken opened with a respectable $24.7 million in 2009, but then it did something remarkable: it repositioned Neeson as an action movie star with significant crowd appeal. Through word-of-mouth, the sleeper film eventually pulled $145 million total.
According to CNN, it's too early to say whether Taken 2 will match its predecessor's gross, which is a challenge for most sequels.
Reviews have been harsh and critics have groused that Taken 2's storyline adheres too closely to the original. But Fox spent just $42 million to make the film, so it's already done the business for everyone involved.
Here's the trailer for "Taken 2":