1. Taken 2 – $50 million [debut week] Liam Neeson’s (“The Grey“) newfound career direction as an action star gained some major credibility with this surprising and near record-breaking opening for the “Taken” sequel. Neeson’s a likeable star and clearly audiences enjoy seeing him in these roles so expect a ton more of these action-oriented films in Neeson’s immediate future.
2. Hotel Transylvania – $26.3 million [$85 million in total; 2nd week] – The family animated film continues to check-in new audience members and held up well despite competition from a well-respected director who enjoys dabbling in animated films.
3. Pitch Perfect – $17 million [wide release] The musical got an expanded release this week and fared well with the song and dance crowd, although this performed just as well as “Rock of Ages,” which was considered a disappointment with its A-level talent. That only had a total gross of $38 million so it’ll be interesting to see how long an encore this gets.
4. Looper – $12.2 million [$42 million in total; 2nd week] I finally got to see this last week on vacation. The review is pending, but I’ll just say this film deserves better. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so this week.
5. Frankenweenie – $11.5 million [debut week] Tim Burton’s latest stop-motion animated film didn’t spark much interest from families. I figure this is due to the easy sell of the family friendly “Hotel Transylvania” and some parents being weirded out by the concept. The family stop-motion zombie feature “ParaNorman,” scored $14 million on its way to a total gross of $54 million and didn’t have the benefit of a top-level director backing it.