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By Daniel Garris

Fox's Taken 3 led the box office with ease this weekend with a $39.20 million debut. The third installment of the Liam Neeson led franchise outpaced pre-release expectations; marking the third time that the Taken franchise has exceeded expectations. Taken 3 hadn't been expected to open anywhere near as strong as 2012's Taken 2, but instead opened a reasonable 21 percent below the $49.51 million debut of Taken 2. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Taken 3 delivered the third largest opening weekend ever for the month of January (behind only last year's Ride Along and 2008's Cloverfield). The film's debut was especially impressive given that so many holdovers came back down to earth this weekend; due in part to the end of the holiday season and due in part to the strong performance of Taken 3.

Taken 3 opened with $14.88 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.6 million from late night shows on Thursday), increased 5 percent on Saturday to take in $15.62 million and declined 44 percent on Sunday to gross $8.71 million. That placed the film's opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.63 to 1. Taken 3 received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore. It is possible that Taken 3 could take a significant hit next weekend from the nationwide expansion of Warner's highly anticipated American Sniper.

Paramount's Selma placed in a distant second with $11.31 million. While Taken 3 outpaced expectations this weekend, Selma debuted below expectations, which were ultimately inflated due in part to the film's exceptional critical reviews and a larger than originally anticipated location count this weekend. While the Ava DuVernay directed awards season hopeful didn't light the box office on fire this weekend, the film could still hold up extremely well going forward thanks in part to strong word of mouth (the film received an exceptional A+ rating on CinemaScore) and continued awards season buzz. It is also very possible that many initial moviegoers are waiting until the Martin Luther King holiday weekend next weekend to see the film. With that said, that Selma debuted 54 percent below the $24.64 million start of 2013's Lee Daniels' The Butler is certainly underwhelming. Selma has grossed $13.59 million to date.

Selma grossed $3.77 million on Friday, increased a healthy 25 percent on Saturday to gross $4.70 million and fell 40 percent on Sunday to gross $2.84 million. That gave the film a promising weekend to Friday ratio of 3.00 to 1. It should be noted that the reported production budget for Selma was a modest $20 million.

Holdovers occupied positions three through six this weekend with the four films fairly bunched together with one another. Disney's Into the Woods claimed third with $9.55 million. The Rob Marshall directed musical featuring Meryl Streep was down a significant 49 percent. This weekend's hold was lackluster given that the film expanded into an additional 295 locations. Into the Woods surpassed the $100 million mark this weekend and has grossed $105.08 million in 18 days. That places the film 6 percent behind the $111.93 million 18-day take of 2012's Les Misérables.

Warner's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies followed closely behind in fourth place with $9.38 million. The third installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy was down a sharp 57 percent from last weekend. The Battle of the Five Armies has grossed $236.46 million through 26 days of release and is now running just 2 percent ahead of the $231.93 million 26-day gross of 2012's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Unbroken rounded out the weekend's top five with $8.17 million. The Angelina Jolie directed war drama from Universal fell 55 percent from last weekend. Like Into the Woods, Unbroken also surpassed the $100 million domestic milestone this weekend. Unbroken continues to exceed expectations with $101.40 million in 18 days. The film is running 8 percent ahead of the $94.09 million 18-day gross of 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The Imitation Game placed in sixth with $7.21 million. The awards season hopeful from The Weinstein Company held up much better than other films in the marketplace this weekend, as it was down just 7 percent. However, the film did expand into an additional 812 locations this weekend, so its location average did see significant slowing over the frame. The Imitation Game surpassed the $40 million mark this weekend and has grossed a healthy $40.43 million to date.

Warner's Inherent Vice took in $2.77 million to place in eleventh among all films. The Paul Thomas Anderson directed film generated a respectable per-location average of $4,300 from 645 locations. The film performed towards the higher end of expectations, which were subdued from the film's modest performance in platform release. Inherent Vice performed 37 percent softer than the $4.39 million take of 2012's The Master during its first weekend of major release (in 788 locations). Inherent Vice has grossed $4.35 million to date.

Fellow Warner Bros. release American Sniper continued to impress in platform release with $579,518 from just 4 locations. That gave the Clint Eastwood directed awards season hopeful starring Bradley Cooper a massive per-location average of $144,880. American Sniper has grossed $3.17 million to date. As mentioned, the film will expand into nationwide release this coming Friday.

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By Alex Edghill

After a one week break the Minions are back on top of the weekly Facebook like-increase chart. It was the only film on the week to see a like increase north of 100,000. It has seen a 1.3 million like increase over the last two months which is second only to Fifty Shades Of Grey's 1.6 million. Unlike Grey though, this has been a much slower burn with consistent returns of 100,000+ new likes every week over the last two months. No other film can come close to matching that (7 out of the last 8 weeks Minions has been over 100k new likes, next closest competitor is Cinderella with 3 out of 8. Hard to argue that this has a good chance of being in the top 10 on the year.

Ant-Man had a big trailer this past week but it really didn't translate well to Facebook as its overall like total stands at only 128k even after the trailer has been out almost a full week. The actual bump it got from the trailer was around 30k which was decent but considering the appeal of Marvel films in general its hard to say that its not even a little disappointing. Its Twitter and YouTube numbers are very strong so perhaps the marketing effort for Facebook is just lagging. Its page hasn't even been verified as official yet which will only hurt its recognition but I have faith in the franchise as a whole and would expect subsequent trailers to see 50-75k+ new likes as its release approaches..

Facebook Top 15 Movies by Like Increase for the Week Ending Sunday January 11th

Rank Release Movie Likes Previous Change % Change
1 07/10/15 Minions 28,234,446 28,121,968 112,478 0.40%
2 03/13/15 Cinderella (2015) 13,342,975 13,247,415 95,560 0.72%
3 02/13/15 Fifty Shades of Grey 6,984,282 6,908,041 76,241 1.10%
4 01/09/15 Taken 3 5,239,213 5,163,920 75,293 1.46%
5 06/26/15 Ted 2 21,068,474 20,997,415 71,059 0.34%

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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb used a great opening in China, where it earned $26.7 million from 3,887 screens, to lift its overseas total to $148.6 million. The total weekend tally outside of North America brought in $46.2 million from 47 markets. Russia also contributed a strong start out of the gate with a $6.2 million debut from 1,690 screens. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb has grossed a global total of $248 million.

Taken 3 also enjoyed a strong weekend overseas, bringing in $1 million from 36 markets. The United Kingdom contributed a $10.9 million debut from 800 screens, followed by a $4.8 million bow from 287 screens in Australia. Taken 3 has already earned $52.3 million overseas and $92.6 million worldwide.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies brought in $21.8 million over the weekend. The film has now grossed a total of $545.3 million outside of North America, with China scheduled for a January 23 release.  Top markets include Germany ($74.4M), the UK ($61.1M), France ($44.2M), Russia ($29.3M), Australia ($23.8M), and South Korea ($22M). The film has grossed $781.6 million globally.

Exodus: Gods and Kings earned $15 million from 41 markets, lifting its overseas cume to $168.1 million. The film has grossed a total of $231.6 million globally. Ridley Scott's Biblical epic expands to Italy next weekend

Big Hero 6 grossed $12.6 million from 54 territories this weekend. The film's leading markets include Japan ($44.4M), Russia ($20.2M), Mexico ($16.9M), Australia ($11.9M), and Italy ($11.3M). Big Hero 6 has grossed $194.5 million overseas and $408.9 million worldwide.

Penguins of Madagascar crossed the $200 million mark overseas after finishing the weekend with $9 million from 29 markets. The animated film has grossed a total of $207.9 million outside of North America and $287.7 million worldwide.

Seventh Son brought in $8.1 million from 34 territories over the weekend, including #1 openings in the Philippines, Bulgaria, Egypt, the Middle East and United Arab Emirates. Russia continues to lead all global markets after a second consecutive first place finish, bringing its market cume up to $15 million Seventh Son has grossed $35.7 million worldwide ahead of its North American release. The film will expand to 28 more territories over the next few months.

Unbroken added $5.7 million from 24 territories, raising its overseas cume to $14 million. France enjoyed a #2 debut behind domestic hit La Famille Belier with $1.5 million at 315 dates. The film took the #4 spot in its South Korean premiere with $1.4 million from 297 dates. Unbroken has grossed $115.7 million worldwide with 39 territories left in its overseas run.

Ouija continues to score scares around the world, bringing in $5.4 million from weekend screenings. The film opened in first place in Mexico with a $2.7 million take at 633 dates. The horror flick has grossed $33.5 million outside of North America and $84.3 million worldwide.
 
The Theory of Everything took in $5.1 million from 12 territories. A strong $3.9 million holdover weekend in the United Kingdom lifts the film to a $12.3 million market total after 10 days in the UK. The biopic has grossed a total of $20.3 million outside of North America and $46.1 million worldwide. The film will expand to 45 more territories over the next several months.

American Sniper continues its successful run in Italy. The film added $4.2 million from 492 screens to its market total, claiming the top spot at the box office. American Sniper is now director Clint Eastwood's highest grossing film of all time in Italy.

Fury grossed $4.2 million over the weekend, taking its overseas cume up to $115.6 million. The war drama took a #1 debut in Spain, where it grossed $1.8 million from 385 screens. Fury has grossed $201.1 million worldwide.

Into the Woods opened in the UK with a $3.8 million haul, leading the weekend's $7.6 million overseas haul from 15 territories. The musical has grossed $15.3 million overseas and $120.5 million worldwide.

Horrible Bosses 2 earned $3.1 million from 30 territories over the weekend. The film has grossed a total of $52 million outside of North America and $105.8 million globally.  

Birdman brought in $2.4 million from 4 markets as awards season heats up. The Oscar contender has grossed $7.9 million overseas and $34.1 million globally.

Annie brought in $1.4 million from 19 territories this weekend. The musical has now grossed a total of $19.4 million overseas, without counting China's results from more than 6,000 screens. Annie has grossed $98.8 million globally.

 

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Sunday Update: Fox's Taken 3 led the box office with ease this weekend with an estimated debut of $40.4 million. The third installment of the Liam Neeson led franchise outpaced pre-release expectations; marking the third time that the Taken franchise has exceeded expectations. Taken 3 hadn't been expected to open anywhere near as strong as 2012's Taken 2, but instead opened a reasonable 18 percent below the $49.51 million debut of Taken 2. Without adjusting for ticket price inflation, Taken 3 delivered the second largest opening weekend ever for the month of January (behind only the $41.52 million take of last year's Ride Along). The film's debut was especially impressive given that so many holdovers came back down to earth this weekend; due in part to the end of the holiday season and due in part to the strong performance of Taken 3.

Taken 3 opened with $14.8 million on Friday (which included an estimated $1.6 million from late night shows on Thursday), increased 5 percent on Saturday to take in $15.6 million and is estimated to decline 36 percent on Sunday to gross $10.0 million. That places the film's estimated opening weekend to Friday ratio at 2.73 to 1. Taken 3 received a solid B+ rating on CinemaScore. It is possible that Taken 3 could take a significant hit next weekend from the nationwide expansion of Warner's highly anticipated American Sniper.

Paramount's Selma placed in a distant second with an estimated $11.2 million. While Taken 3 outpaced expectations this weekend, Selma debuted below expectations, which were ultimately inflated due in part to the film's exceptional critical reviews and a larger than originally anticipated location count this weekend. While the Ava DuVernay directed awards season hopeful didn't light the box office on fire this weekend, the film could still hold up extremely well going forward thanks in part to strong word of mouth (the film received an exceptional A+ rating on CinemaScore) and continued awards season buzz. It is also very possible that many initial moviegoers are waiting until the Martin Luther King holiday weekend next weekend to see the film. With that said, that Selma debuted 54.5 percent below the $24.64 million start of 2013's Lee Daniels' The Butler is certainly underwhelming. Selma has grossed $13.49 million to date.

Selma grossed $3.78 million on Friday, increased a healthy 24 percent on Saturday to gross $4.7 million and is estimated to decline 42 percent on Sunday to gross $2.72 million. That gives the film an estimated weekend to Friday ratio of 2.96 to 1. It should be noted that the reported production budget for Selma was a modest $20 million.

Holdovers occupied positions three through six this weekend with the four films fairly bunched together with one another. Disney's Into the Woods claimed third with an estimated $9.75 million. The Rob Marshall directed musical featuring Meryl Streep was down a significant 48 percent. This weekend's hold was lackluster given that the film expanded into an additional 295 locations. Into the Woods surpassed the $100 million mark this weekend and has grossed $105.27 million in 18 days. That places the film 6 percent behind the $111.93 million 18-day take of 2012's Les Misérables.

Warner's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies followed closely behind in fourth place with an estimated $9.44 million. The third installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy was down a sharp 57 percent from last weekend. The Battle of the Five Armies has grossed $236.52 million through 26 days of release and is now running just 2 percent ahead of the $231.93 million 26-day gross of 2012's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Unbroken rounded out the weekend's top five with an estimated $8.37 million. The Angelina Jolie directed war drama from Universal fell 54 percent from last weekend. Like Into the Woods, Unbroken also surpassed the $100 million domestic milestone this weekend. Unbroken continues to exceed expectations with $101.60 million in 18 days. The film is running 8 percent ahead of the $94.09 million 18-day gross of 2008's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The Imitation Game placed in sixth with an estimated $7.62 million. The awards season hopeful from The Weinstein Company held up much better than other films in the marketplace this weekend, as it was down just 2 percent. However, the film did expand into an additional 812 locations this weekend, so its location average did see significant slowing over the frame. The Imitation Game surpassed the $40 million mark this weekend and has grossed a promising $40.84 million to date.

Warner's Inherent Vice took in an estimated $2.9 million this weekend to place in eleventh among all films. The Paul Thomas Anderson directed film generated a respectable per-location average of $4,496 from 645 locations. The film performed on the higher end of expectations, which were subdued from the film's modest performance in platform release. Inherent Vice performed 34 percent softer than the $4.39 million take of 2012's The Master during its first weekend of major release (in 788 locations). Inherent Vice has grossed $4.48 million to date.

Fellow Warner Bros. release American Sniper continued to impress in platform release with an estimated $550,000 from just 4 locations.  That gave the Clint Eastwood directed awards season hopeful starring Bradley Cooper a massive per-location average of $138,750.  American Sniper has grossed $3.15 million to date.  As mentioned, the film will expand into nationwide release this coming Friday.

Saturday Update: Fox reports that Taken 3 grabbed $14.7 million on opening day, including Thursday night's $1.6 million start. The Liam Neeson action sequel was off 20 percent from Taken 2's $18.36 million opening day in October 2012, although these early numbers are still at a more-than-healthy level for the franchise entry. Unfortunately, critics haven't warmed to the film (giving it an 11 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), although early audience word of mouth is relatively stronger with a 73 percent Flixster score this morning (by comparison, The Equalizer was at 81 percent one day after release). It could be argued that franchise fatigue has set in for the series, but Fox's marketing team (alongside Neeson's drawing power) gave audiences enough reason to come back again with the promise of advancing the story by killing off a major supporting character to drive the plot . BoxOffice is projecting a solid opening weekend of $39.5 million.

Paramount's Selma expanded into wide release this weekend with $3.8 million from 2,179 theaters on Friday. The Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic had been performing well in limited release for the past two weeks on the heels of excellent reviews -- it current stands at 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Selma's audience score is at a strong 87 percent this morning, indicating mainstream crowds are slowly but surely beginning to embrace the drama. CinemaScore was an "A+". With MLK Day to follow next week, and the film's timely nature following recent real world events, expect some back-loading that gives Selma an enduring run beyond this weekend. BoxOffice is projecting a $12 million weekend.

Unbroken added $2.6 million yesterday, boosting its total to $95.8 million as it approaches the $100 million domestic threshold (which it will cross by the end of this weekend). BoxOffice projects an $8.5 million frame.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies fell out of first place for only the second day since its opening in December. The finale took in $2.47 million yesterday, giving it a 24-day total of $229.55 million. BoxOffice projects $9.5 million this weekend.

Into the Woods brought in $2.46 million on Friday, bringing its total up to $98 million. The Disney musical will cross $100 million domestically on Saturday. BoxOffice projects a $9.4 million weekend.

In its expansion to 1,566 theaters (nearly double its previous count), The Imitation Game continues to maintain strong momentum as it earned $2.15 million yesterday. The film's run is closely mirroring that of The King's Speech four years ago (both films were release by The Weinstein Company). To date, Imitation has tallied $35.4 million and should total $8 million this weekend.

Check BoxOffice on Sunday for official weekend estimates from the studios.

Friday Update #2: Sources tell BoxOffice that Taken 3 is on pace for north of $35 million during its debut frame. That's a drop from the $49 million that Taken 2 posted, but its very healthy on its own terms. We expect overseas returns to make up for any domestic dip.

Selma should hit at least $15 million this weekend--a solid haul for the drama's wide expansion. The opening weekend is not as important for Selma because word of mouth will keep it alive for weeks to come.

Check back tomorrow for official studio estimates and updated projections.

Friday Update #1: Sources report that Taken 3 bowed to $1.6 million from early shows last night, a strong start for the Liam Neeson action sequel to lead off the weekend.

By comparison, Taken 2 earned $1.5 million from preview shows, as part of a $49.5 million weekend, back in October 2012. Taken 3's initial haul is also in line with last September's The Equalizer ($1.5 million Thursday night / $34.1 million weekend). Based on early results and strong online tracking, Taken 3 looks poised to top $30 million through Sunday.

Also opening this weekend in wide release is the critically acclaimed Selma, which took in a healthy $400,000 last night. The film started in limited release two weeks ago and has accumulated $2.2 million from just 22 theaters during that time. Selma currently boasts an impressive 99 percent Rotten Tomatoes score from 115 critics.

More updates as they come.

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