Neeson outruns Disney musical

12 January, 2015 by Don Groves

The critics may scoff but audiences have no trouble accepting 62-year-old Liam Neeson as an action star.

That’s evident from the powerhouse opening last weekend of Neeson’s Taken 3, which easily beat Disney’s Into the Woods.

Advertisement

The third and supposedly final chapter of the franchise, starring Neeson as former CIA operative Bryan Mills who is framed for the brutal murder of his wife, grabbed $5.58 million and $5.68 million with previews.

Pro-rata that’s much bigger than Taken 3’s US debut of $US39.2 million but no surprise given the second instalment rang up $7.6 million in its first weekend in Oz in 2012 and finished up with $19.5 million.

Nationwide takings edged up by 2% to $27.4 million, according to Rentrak’s estimates, which means the B.O. for the first 11 days of the year is up nearly 14% on the same period in 2014.

Exhibitors were delighted with Into the Wood’s $3.5 million launch and $3.7 million with previews, indicating broad appeal for Rob Marshall's  adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical starring Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden and Anna Kendrick, with a cameo from Johnny Depp.

The madcap antics of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in the Farrelly brothers’ Dumb and Dumber To drew a merry $2.6 million in its first weekend.

Given that the three openers collectively amassed $11.7 million and that the previous session was inflated by New Year’s Day, something had to give and there were significant drops for some titles in their second or third frames.

There will be an even bigger squeeze this weekend with the debuts of Unbroken, Birdman (which has pocketed $370,000 already from previews) and Rob Connolly’s Paper Planes.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies plunged by 57% to $2.7 million in its third outing, scoring $29.3 million thus far.

Fox/DreamWorks Animation's Penguins of Madagascar declined by 31% to $2.45 million in its second weekend, advancing to $8.9 million, while Disney’s Big Hero 6 eased by 26% to $2.3 million in its third, reaching $15 million.

British code-breaking thriller The Imitation Game fell by 38% to $2.6 million, collecting a nifty $8.9 million in 11 days.

Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner ascended to $11.4 million after earning nearly $1.7 in its third campaign, also off by 38%, and should get to $15 million.

St Vincent dropped by 50%, raking in $327,000 in its third chapter and $2.8 million to date.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE Jan 8-11  

 

 

Title

 

Week/ Screens

 

Box Office

 

% +-

 

Total

 

1

Taken 3

1/287

$5,580,607

NA

5,687,737

2

Into the Woods

1/276

3,572,569

NA

 3,722,537

3

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

3/525

 2,721,979

-57

 29,342,826

4

                   Dumb and Dumber To

1/225

2,611,259

NA

2,611,259

5

The Imitation Game

2/250

2,606,160

-38

8,902,459

6

Penguins of Madagascar

2/425

2,455,102

-31

8,873,993

7

Big Hero 6

3/326

2,351,756

-26

14,997,603

8

The Water Diviner

3/285

1,695,677

-38

11,368,081

9

Night at the Museum 3

3/318

1,318,651

-46

10,897,056

10

Paddington 

5/199

628,525

-20

9,082,151

Source: Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.