The Top-Earning Films at the Box Office for October 2012

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox
November 20th, 2012

The Top-Earning Films at the Box Office for October 2012

-- October is a funny month for filmgoers, as the movies offered in theaters finish the transition from summer blockbusters to more adult fare. In the fall, studios generally release the films they hope will get awards nominations, particularly Academy Awards, which aren't given out until late February of the following year. Most of those films are released in November and December, leaving October stuck in the lurch. It is mostly populated with horror films and the occasional family or action flick.

The number one spot for October at the box office goes to the action thriller "Taken 2," the sequel to the surprise hit 2008 film "Taken," which helped turn Liam Neeson into an unlikely action hero when most men his age are in the twilight of their career. The film centers on the same character from the original film, CIA operative Bryan Mills (Neeson), who hunts down a pack of human traffickers who have kidnapped his daughter.

In the sequel, the relatives of the kidnappers that Mills murdered in order to save his daughter track the family down in order to extract their revenge. The original film took place in Paris, where Mills traveled to find out the last-known whereabouts of Kim (Maggie Grace) and to track down the crime ring that took her. This time, the action shifts to another European locale, Turkey, because the family is there for a last-minute holiday trip. Mills' work has taken him to Istanbul, and Kim persuades her mom Lenore (Famke Janssen) to join her and Mills there, in the hopes that they can rekindle their burnt-out romance.

Instead of Kim getting kidnapped this time, Lenore is snatched, followed soon after by Mills, who manages to call Kim and tell her to run from their hotel and hide from the men who are about to try and abduct her. Throughout the film, Mills manages to talk to Kim, who must now play the hero, as long as she follows her father's instructions and doesn't get caught in the process. The same intensity and action sequences of the first are present in "Taken 2," which is likely why so many fans of "Taken" flocked to see the sequel.

In the four years that have passed between the releases of the two films, Neeson has seen his demand as an actor increase, which likely helped with the huge $49 million opening weekend the film earned. The charismatic star also did plenty of publicity worldwide, and it paid off. The film opened on October 5, which meant it had almost the entire month to earn its eventual $132 million haul. This sum dwarfs all other films released in October, even the big tally that "Argo," the second-place earner for October, managed.

"Argo" took the second place spot after "Taken 2," which is no surprise judging from the critical acclaim it received. The spy flick, which is based on a true story about an incredible CIA mission in the 1970s, was released on October 12 and earned nearly $20 million during its opening weekend. By the end of the month, it had grossed a healthy $87 million for the entire month, which only helped to increase its Oscar buzz.

In third place is "Paranormal Activity 4," which continues the horror franchise that follows the lives of two haunted sisters in San Diego. This time, the action moves to Nevada, where neighbors of one of the sisters begin to suspect that something is not right with the sister or the young child she claims is hers. The film opened on October 19 with a total of $29 million, and went on to earn $53 million for the entire month.

Another horror movie, "Sinister," took fourth place as the tradition of scary movies being released close to Halloween continues. The film opened a week before "Paranormal Activity 4," on October 12 with an opening weekend total of $18 million, which is a healthy haul for the film, which was made on a small $3 million budget. Rounding out the top five was "Here Comes the Boom" starring Kevin James and Henry Winkler.

Though several of the films will also play into November at movie theaters, it is unlikely that any will score a top five slot again, as the month of Thanksgiving kicks off some big releases, including the much-anticipated family flicks "Wreck-it-Ralph" and "Rise of the Guardians" and "Breaking Dawn 2" which are sure to dominate the November box office.