LOS ANGELES, USA (AP) — Liam Neeson's Taken 2 has defended its box-office title with a narrow win over Ben Affleck's Argo.
Yesterday's studio estimates put 20th Century Fox's action sequel Taken 2 at No 1 with US$22.5 million in its second weekend. Taken 2 raised its domestic total to US$86.8 million.
Affleck's Argo, an Iranian hostage thriller from Warner Bros, opened in second place with US$20.1 million.
Ethan Hawke's fright flick Sinister, a Lionsgate release about a true crime writer caught up in supernatural horror, debuted at No 3 with US$18.3 million.
Sony's Here Comes the Boom, with Kevin James as a teacher who becomes a mixed martial arts sensation, started weakly at No 5 with US$12 million.
The weekend's other new wide release, CBS Films' crime comedy Seven Psychopaths, also opened to small crowds, taking in $4.3 million to finish at No 9. The movie's ensemble cast includes Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson.
The follow-up to Taken, the hit that established dramatic star Neeson as an action hero, Taken 2 was dinged by critics who called it a replay of the original. The sequel has Neeson's ex-CIA guy up against a gang of Albanian goons out for revenge for their kin that he killed in the first movie.
"It kind of proves that reviews do not matter," said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. "Audiences just continue to eat this up. They just love Liam Neeson in this role."