February 1, 2009
Liam Neeson's CIA thriller "Taken" bumped off "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" at the weekend box office, raking in $24.6 million and helping fuel the first $1 billion January in Hollywood history.
North American box office revenues were up nearly 20 percent in January over the same period last year, reaching a record $1.03 billion for the month. Attendance was up 16 percent over last year, said Paul Dergarabedian, president of box-office tracker Media by Numbers.
"This is exactly how you want to start a year," Dergarabedian said Sunday. "I think people feel Movies are a good value for their dollar. Going to a movie is a habit people aren't willing to break."
"Taken" follows Neeson as a former CIA operative trying to track down a group of kidnappers who want to sell his daughter into the sex slave trade.
"We are thrilled. It's an all-audience movie," said 20th Century Fox distribution executive Bert Livingston. "When people come out they are going to talk about it. I think it's going to play for a long time."