Taken, The Uninvited: Bad Movies Make Money

Fox's action-thriller “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson, grossed about $9.5 million from 3,183 theaters at the Friday box-office to score the best opening day ever for Super Bowl weekend.  Male-driven pictures have avoided the Super Bowl frame, but Fox decided to break that tradition in a move that will likely result in other studios doing the same, considering the strength of “Taken.”

“Taken,” starring Liam Neeson as a former government operative who goes to any length to save his kidnapped daughter, is on track to tackle the second-best opening weekend gross for a film daring to bow on Super Bowl weekend, when Sunday traffic can fall off by as much as 75% from Saturday.

Paramount's new horror entry “The Uninvited” performed more in line with Super Bowl openings, grossing $4.4 million from 2,344 runs on Friday.

Lionsgate's Renee ZellwegerHarry Connick Jr. romantic comedy “New In Town,” the weekend's third opener, couldn't compete with three holdovers–Sony's surprise hit “Paul Blart Mall Cop,” Warner Bros.' “Gran Torino” and Sony's “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.” “New In Town” grossed about $2.4 million from 1,941 runs.

Among Oscar best picture contenders, Fox Searchlight's “Slumdog Millionaire”  remained the box office leader, grossing an estimated $2.3 million from 1,633 theaters for a domestic cumulative of $61.9 million in its second weekend in wide release.

Bets picture nominees “The Reader,” from the Weinstein Co., and Focus Features' “Milk” both expanded nationwide this weekend.  “The Reader” grossed an estimated $680,000 from 1,002 runs for a per location average of $685 and a total of $11 million.

“Milk,” expanding to 822 theaters, grossed an estimated $415,000 for a per location average of $470 and cumulative of $22.2 million.

“Frost/Nixon,” expanding nationwide last weekend, grossed an estimated $420,000 on Friday from 1,105 runs for a location average of $380 and a total of $13.3 million.