Audiences were excited to see Liam Neeson return as a retired CIA agent with a very particular set of skills.
"Taken 2" dominated the competition and earned an estimated $50 million over the weekend, according to The Associated Press, despite negative reviews by critics.
The movie sees Neeson reprising his role as retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, whose ex-wife has been kidnapped and whose daughter is on the run. The sequel also stars returning actresses Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen.
The sequel's haul is nearly double that of its 2009 predecessor "Taken," which opened with $24.7 million in its U.S. debut in early 2009. The original film went on to gross $145 million domestically and solidified Neeson, now 60, as an action star.
In second place is the previous box office champ "Hotel Transylvania." The CGI animated film, which features the voices of Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez, earned $26.3 million over the weekend. That total raises its domestic sum to $76 million.
"Pitch Perfect," which opened nationwide this weekend after a limited release debut last week, came in third place with $14.7 million. The musical movie about a college female a capella group stars Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson.
Coming in fourth place this week is the sci-fi thriller "Looper" with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The movie, which features time travel and gangsters, earned an additional $12.2 million in its second weekend in theaters. That sum lifts its domestic haul to $40.3 million.
Debuting in fifth place is the Tim Burton animated monster feature "Frankenweenie." The movie is about a boy who brings his dog back to life and is based on a 1984 live-action short also by Burton. The film has earned $11.5 million so far.
Watch the trailers for "Taken 2," "Pitch Perfect," "Frankenweenie," "Butter" and "The Paperboy" below.