LOS ANGELES — Liam Neeson’s return as ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills in “Taken 2″ topped the North American box office for a second straight week, besting the Ben Affleck thriller “Argo,” industry figures showed Monday.
“Taken 2″, whose prequel relaunched Neeson as a Hollywood action star four years ago, took in a healthy $21.9 million between Friday and Sunday, according to movie tracker Exhibitor Relations.
In second place was “Argo,” a political thriller set during the Iranian hostage crisis directed by and starring Affleck, which raked in $19.5 million during its debut weekend.
“Argo” tells the true story of how a CIA agent managed to rescue six Americans who had escaped the embassy in Tehran in 1979 and taken shelter at the Canadian ambassador’s residence.
Another debut film took third place. “Sinister,” the latest in a series of so-called “found footage” horror flicks, took in $18 million.
Animated film “Hotel Transylvania,” in which monsters become Dracula’s guests, took in $17.2 million in its third week of release for fourth place.
“Here Comes the Boom,” a comedy starring Kevin James as a high school teacher who looks to become a mixed martial arts fighter to raise money for his school, debuted in fifth place with $11.8 million in box office receipts.
“Pitch Perfect,” a comedy-musical about a cappella singing groups, followed in sixth place with $9.3 million. “Frankenweenie,” Tim Burton’s latest effort, earned $7.1 million to claim the seventh spot.
In eighth place was “Looper,” a time travel mob movie starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which earned $6.2 million.
“Seven Psychopaths,” a comedy starring Colin Farrell and Christopher Walken, opened in ninth place with $4.2 million.
Rounding out the top 10 was “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” a coming-of-age flick starring “Harry Potter” alum Emma Watson, with $2.15 million in receipts.