“Taken 3” snags box-office crown with $40M debut

taken 3 movie picture - liam neeson1. Taken 3 – $40.4 million – The year’s first blockbuster has arrived and surprise surprise, it’s from Mr. Action Superstar himself Liam Neeson, who continues to show his formidable presence at the box office. Since “Taken’s” release in 2009, 12 of Neeson’s 14 wide releases have opened to at least $16 million. Despite scathing reviews from critics, “Taken 2” opened to $49 million (en route to a total $139 million). “Taken 3” likely won’t do that well, but is on a good pace to crack at least $100 million. With the film budgeted for $48 million, this film is going to make a very nice profit.

Selma movie - Corey Reynolds, David Oyelowo and Colman Domingo2. Selma – $11 million [$13 million since Dec. 25] After a limited release on Christmas, the Martin Luther King Jr. drama expanded to 2,179 theaters and had a disappointing second place finish. Unlike “Taken 3,” this has been a critical darling – scoring an excellent 98% on rottentomatoes.com – but the trick now is getting the audience to see it. The film potentially has a big weekend coming up with MLK weekend and potential Oscar nominations (nominees will be announced Thursday and “Selma” arguably would benefit the most from Oscar selections).

INTO THE WOODS3. Into the Woods – $9.8 million [3rd week; $105.3 million] The Disney family drama dropped a spot to third place and crossed over the $100 million and remained as the last Christmas release standing. It continues to be a force and will likely stay in the Top 5 through the month.

4. The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies – $9.4 million [4th week; $236 million in total] The Hobbit finale finally got knocked from its perch after having

5. Unbroken  $8.4 million [3rd week; $101.6 million] Angelina Jolie’s Oscar hopeful also cracked the $100 million mark and easily made back its $68 million budget.