Box office roundup – Oct. 6, 2012 – "Taken 2" easily grabs box office crown

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.

Sony Pictures

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.

Peter Iovino/Universal Studios
(From left) Lilly (HANA MAE LEE), Fat Amy (REBEL WILSON), Cynthia Rose (ESTER DEAN), Beca (ANNA KENDRICK) and Stacie (ALEXIS KNAPP) in “Pitch Perfect,” an out-loud comedy that’s loaded with new takes on old favorites to hits of right now that are seamlessly mixed together, mashed-up and arranged like you’ve never heard before.

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.

Alan Markfield/Sony Pictures Publicity
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as “Joe” in TriStar Pictures, Film District and End Game Entertainment’s action thriller “LOOPER.”

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.

Walt Disney Pictures
Surrounded by equipment in his attic lab, Young Victor (voiced by Charlie Tahan) attempts to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life with lessons he learned about electricity from his science teacher Mr. Rzykruski (voiced by Martin Landau).

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.