LOS ANGELES—Liam Neeson’s return as ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills in “Taken 2″ easily topped the North American box office on its opening weekend, industry estimates showed Sunday.
The film, whose prequel relaunched Neeson as a Hollywood action star four years ago, took in a healthy $50 million between Friday and Sunday, said movie tracker Exhibitor Relations.
The plot in “Taken 2″ sees Mills kidnapped in Istanbul by the family of the Albanian gangsters who he killed when searching for his daughter, played by Maggie Grace, in “Taken.” This time round, Grace searches for Mills.
In second place this weekend was “Hotel Transylvania,” where animated monsters become Dracula’s guests, taking in $26.3 million — down from the top spot one week ago.
“Pitch Perfect,” a teen comedy-musical, was in third, up three places, with $14.7 million in takings, according to the estimates.
In fourth place, with $12.2 million, was “Looper,” a mob movie starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, just ahead of “Frankenweenie,” Tim Burton’s latest effort, which earned $11.5 million.
Cop drama “End of Watch” with Jake Gyllenhaal was in sixth place, down from third, on lowly takings of $4 million, followed by Clint Eastwood’s “Trouble with the Curve,” about a baseball recruiter losing his sight, on $3.9 million.
Fright flick “House at the End of the Street” brought in $3.7 million this weekend, falling to eighth spot from fifth, while “The Master,” about the rise of a religious leader in the United States in the 1950s, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, earned $1.8 million in ninth place.
Rounding out the top 10 was the 3D version of pioneering 2003 animated movie “Finding Nemo,” which took an estimated $1.6 million at the box office.