Taken 3 Beats Out Selma to Take Friday Box Office Race

Posted by at 9:53 pm on January 10, 2015

Liam Neeson and “Taken 3” are going out with guns blazing at the box office, but the highly regarded awards hopeful “Selma” is sputtering in is nationwide expansion.

The final installment of the vengeance series that turned the 62-year-old Neeson into an action hero six years ago opened at No. 1 Friday with an estimated $14.7 million. That projects to a muscular three-day total north of $35 million for 20th Century Fox’s “Taken 3,” which was produced and financed by EuropaCorp,, and it will knock “The Hobbit” out of the top spot after three weeks and easily outpace the weekend’s other wide opener, the civil rights drama “Selma.”

Paramount Pictures expanded its Oscar frontrunner “Selma” from 22 to 2,179 theaters Friday and it finished second with an estimated $3.7 million. That projects to a soft $11.1 million three-day total, under the expectations of analysts and the studio. By comparison, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” opened to $24.6 million last year, but that was in far more theaters (2,933) and August, a less-competitive slot for awards hopefuls.

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