Taken 2 takes top ticket spot

Posted: October 12, 2012 at 1:54 a.m.

Tim Burton’s stop-motion film Frankenweenie came in fifth at last weekend’s box office and made about $11.4 million.

— Taken 2, a sequel to the 2009 action film featuring Liam Neeson, opened as the top-grossing film in U.S. and Canadian theaters, collecting $49.5 million in ticket sales for 20th Century Fox.

Among the weekend’s other new films, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie was fifth with $11.4 million in sales for Walt Disney Co., researcher Hollywood.com said.

Taken 2 is the third Fox film to open in first place this year, following the science fiction tale Chronicle and the animated Ice Age: Continental Drift. Before last weekend, the studio was ranked fifth in 2012 domestic revenue with $860.9 million, according to researcher Box Office Mojo. Columbia Pictures is first with $1.35 billion.

In Taken 2, Neeson returns as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, drawing on his expertise in weapons and spycraft to rescue his wife, who is kidnapped. The film ties into the first movie as the kidnappers are linked to those Mills battled to rescue his daughter in the original version, which took in $226.8 million worldwide, according to Box OfficeMojo.

Hotel Transylvania, from Columbia, fell to second from first with $27 million in sales. The movie has taken in $77 million since Sept. 28.

Pitch Perfect was third with $14.8 million for Universal Pictures after expanding to more theaters. The film stars Anna Kendrick as a college student who joins an a capella singing group. They find success after she pushes her cohorts to try new arrangements. Brittany Snow and Anna

The time-travel tale Looper, also from Columbia, fell to fourth from second with $12 million. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a hit man working for a mob that operates in the future, when time travel has become possible. To avoid prosecution, the mob sends victims back in time to be killed by a special team of assassins. Gordon-Levitt’s character is assigned to kill his future self. Bruce Willis plays the older version of Levitt’s character.

Burton’s animated Frankenweenie, last week’s fifth- place finisher and inspired by the Frankenstein horror tale, tells the story of a boy who uses his knowledge of science to bring his dog back to life. The Disney film features the voices of Winona Ryder,Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau and Martin Short.

The police drama End of Watch fell to sixth from third with $4 million. The film, from Open Road Pictures, stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as Los Angeles police officers who run afoul of a vicious gang. The film has taken in $33 million since it opened on Sept. 21.

Clint Eastwood’s Trouble With the Curve from Warner Bros., was seventh with sales of $3.8 million. In the film, Eastwood plays aging professional baseball scout Gus Lobel, who tries to keep his job while battling failing eyesight and a trend toward computer based scouting. His daughter, played by Amy Adams, tries to help by accompanying Lobel on a scouting trip.

Ticket sales rose for a second straight weekend, providing studios with more good news after four consecutive declining year-over-year comparisons, according to Hollywood.com. Last month, Ben Mogil, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., cut his estimate for fourth-quarter ticket sales, saying he expects a 3 percent rise. That’s down from an earlier forecast of 5 percent to 6 percent.

MovieStyle, Pages 32 on 10/12/2012