(Photo by Open Roadt/courtesy Everett Collection)

All Liam Neeson Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

After a major film debut with 1981’s Excalibur, Liam Neeson spent the rest of that swingin’ decade slowly climbing the acting ladder. (See him randomly in Krull, The MissionThe Dead Pool, and more, for example.) But after holding his own opposite Patrick Swayze in 1989’s Next of Kin, Neeson was at last upgraded to star for Sam Raimi’s dark superhero movie Darkman…where he spends most of the movie disfigured and fully covered in bandages. Still, Darkman was a financial success, especially for an original superhero IP in this era, and Neeson carried on with lending his baritone gravitas in dramas like the Certified Fresh Husbands and Wives.

In 1994, Neeson nabbed his only Oscar acting nomination with the monumental Schindler’s List, which would go on to win Best Picture for producer Steven Spielberg, who of course also got Best Director. Neeson took on another significant title historical role a few years later with Michael Collins, before entering the pop cultural fray as the decidedly unhistorical (though we suppose it depends on who you ask) Qui-Gon Jinn in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. And after that, just into the 21st century, Neeson appeared in Gangs of New York, Kingdom of Heaven, and Batman Begins. A resume that includes working with Raimi, Spielberg, Allen, Lucas, Scorsese, Scott, and Nolan? Sounds like that’d be a career peak for most…

And yet 2008’s Taken was still to come, which would transform Neeson into the go-to mid-budget action guy, create a cottage industry of similar flicks to follow in its wake. Some were pretty good (Cold Pursuit, A Walk Among The Tombstones), others came out decent (The Commuter, Non-Stop), a few were god-awful (Taken 2, Taken 3), and some were one was amazing (The Grey).

We also recently saw Neeson’s softer side resurface with Ordinary Love, his first romantic film since 2003’s Love Actually and one of the best-reviewed films of his career, proving he remains as versatile as ever. To celebrate his birthday, we take a look back on all Liam Neeson movies ranked by Tomatometer!

#72

The Nut Job (2014)
13%

#72
Adjusted Score: 16603%
Critics Consensus: Hampered by an unlikable central character and source material stretched too thin to cover its brief running time, The Nut Job will provoke an allergic reaction in all but the least demanding moviegoers.
Synopsis: After he accidentally destroys the winter food supply of his fellow Liberty Park residents, Surly (Will Arnett), a squirrel, is... [More]
Directed By: Peter Lepeniotis

#71

Taken 3 (2014)
13%

#71
Adjusted Score: 17468%
Critics Consensus: Hampered by toothless PG-13 action sequences, incoherent direction, and a hackneyed plot, Taken 3 serves as a clear signal that it's well past time to retire this franchise.
Synopsis: Ex-covert operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) and his ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), are enjoying a reconciliation when Lenore is brutally... [More]
Directed By: Olivier Megaton

#70

The Other Man (2008)
15%

#70
Adjusted Score: 15749%
Critics Consensus: Despite the best efforts of a talented cast, The Other Man is talky, witless, and tension-free.
Synopsis: When his shoe-designer wife, Lisa (Laura Linney), disappears while on one of her frequent business trips, computer executive Peter (Liam... [More]
Directed By: Richard Eyre

#69

The Haunting (1999)
17%

#69
Adjusted Score: 20193%
Critics Consensus: Sophisticated visual effects fail to offset awkward performances and an uneven script.
Synopsis: This horror tale focuses on visitors to the secluded mansion of Hill House who have been called to the isolated... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#68
#68
Adjusted Score: 3927%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Scottish miner Danny Scoular (Liam Neeson) loses his job, and, when his past as a political activist prevents him from... [More]
Directed By: David Leland

#67

Taken 2 (2012)
22%

#67
Adjusted Score: 29094%
Critics Consensus: Taken 2 is largely bereft of the kinetic thrills -- and surprises -- that made the original a hit.
Synopsis: Two years ago, retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) used his "particular set of skills" to rescue his daughter,... [More]
Directed By: Olivier Megaton

#66
Adjusted Score: 42864%
Critics Consensus: Amiable yet forgettable, MiB International grinds its stars' substantial chemistry through the gears of a franchise running low on reasons to continue.
Synopsis: The Men in Black have expanded to cover the globe but so have the villains of the universe. To keep... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray

#65

Under Suspicion (1991)
25%

#65
Adjusted Score: 8862%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the late 1950s, British police officer Tony Aaron (Liam Neeson) resigns from the force after sleeping with Hazel (Maggie... [More]
Directed By: Simon Moore

#64

After.Life (2009)
25%

#64
Adjusted Score: 26377%
Critics Consensus: It has an interesting premise and admirable ambitions, but After.Life fails to deliver enough twists or thrills to sustain its creepy atmosphere.
Synopsis: Following a terrible car crash, a woman (Christina Ricci) awakes to find an enigmatic mortician (Liam Neeson) preparing her for... [More]

#63

Third Person (2013)
25%

#63
Adjusted Score: 29027%
Critics Consensus: Third Person finds writer-director Paul Haggis working with a stellar cast and a worthy premise; unfortunately, he fails to fashion a consistently compelling movie out of the intriguing ingredients at his disposal.
Synopsis: An acclaimed novelist (Liam Neeson) struggles to write an analysis of love in one of three stories, each set in... [More]
Directed By: Paul Haggis

#62

Gun Shy (2000)
26%

#62
Adjusted Score: 25905%
Critics Consensus: A dark comedy of the low brow nature -- filled with fart and gay jokes. Even Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock cannot save this failure.
Synopsis: Legendary undercover DEA agent Charlie Mayough (Liam Neeson) has suddenly lost his nerves of steel. On the verge of a... [More]
Directed By: Eric Blakeney

#61
#61
Adjusted Score: 33193%
Critics Consensus: Its 3D effects are an improvement over its predecessor's, but in nearly every other respect, Wrath of the Titans fails to improve upon the stilted acting, wooden dialogue, and chaos-driven plot of the franchise's first installment.
Synopsis: Ten years after defeating the Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is living a quieter life as a fisherman and sole parent... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Liebesman

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 37287%
Critics Consensus: An obviously affectionate remake of the 1981 original, Louis Leterrier's Clash of the Titans doesn't offer enough visual thrills to offset the deficiencies of its script.
Synopsis: Perseus (Sam Worthington), the son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), is caught in a war between gods and is helpless to... [More]
Directed By: Louis Leterrier

#59

High Spirits (1988)
27%

#59
Adjusted Score: 26344%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Irish hotelier Peter Plunkett (Peter O'Toole) attempts to fill the chronic vacancies at his castle by launching an advertising campaign... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#58

Before and After (1996)
32%

#58
Adjusted Score: 31360%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The lives of Carolyn Ryan (Meryl Streep), a small-town doctor, and her artist husband, Ben (Liam Neeson), are shaken up... [More]
Directed By: Barbet Schroeder

#57

Krull (1983)
32%

#57
Adjusted Score: 32328%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: On the planet of Krull, an evil creature called the Beast decimates the world's army and kidnaps the lovely Princess... [More]
Directed By: Peter Yates

#56
Adjusted Score: 41958%
Critics Consensus: While it offers a few laughs and boasts a talented cast, Seth MacFarlane's overlong, aimless A Million Ways to Die in the West is a disappointingly scattershot affair.
Synopsis: Mild-mannered sheep farmer Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane) feels certain that the Western frontier is trying to kill him, then he... [More]
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane

#55

Battleship (2012)
34%

#55
Adjusted Score: 42586%
Critics Consensus: It may offer energetic escapism for less demanding filmgoers, but Battleship is too loud, poorly written, and formulaic to justify its expense -- and a lot less fun than its source material.
Synopsis: Lt. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is a weapons officer aboard the destroyer USS John Paul Jones, while his older brother,... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#54
Adjusted Score: 41389%
Critics Consensus: Mark Felt may dramatize the man behind Deep Throat, but its stodgy treatment of history offers little insight into the famous whistleblower.
Synopsis: Lifelong G-Man Mark Felt, aka "Deep Throat," leaks information to the press that helps to uncover the Watergate scandal of... [More]
Directed By: Peter Landesman

#53

The Marksman (2021)
39%

#53
Adjusted Score: 44125%
Critics Consensus: The Marksman benefits from having Liam Neeson in the lead, but this formulaic action thriller should have aimed higher.
Synopsis: Hardened Arizona rancher Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson) simply wants to be left alone as he fends off eviction notices and... [More]
Directed By: Robert Lorenz

#52

Honest Thief (2020)
40%

#52
Adjusted Score: 45865%
Critics Consensus: Guilty of first-degree squandering, Honest Thief returns Liam Neeson to late-period action thriller mode but neglects to supply much of a story.
Synopsis: Hoping to cut a deal, a professional bank robber agrees to return all the money he stole in exchange for... [More]
Directed By: Mark Williams

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 46536%
Critics Consensus: Although it's an objective and handsomely presented take on the Crusades, Kingdom of Heaven lacks depth.
Synopsis: Still in grief over his wife's sudden death, village blacksmith Balian (Orlando Bloom) joins his long-estranged father, Baron Godfrey (Liam... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 40570%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Gen. Douglas MacArthur (Liam Neeson) conducts a covert operation behind enemy lines to infiltrate North Korean headquarters.... [More]
Directed By: John H. Lee

#49

Khumba (2013)
44%

#49
Adjusted Score: 37217%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: After his herd rejects him for having only half his stripes, a young zebra (Jake T. Austin) sets out on... [More]
Directed By: Anthony Silverston

#48

Shining Through (1992)
41%

#48
Adjusted Score: 31151%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Spirited New Yorker Linda Voss (Melanie Griffith) goes to work for international lawyer and secret Office of Strategic Services operative... [More]
Directed By: David Seltzer

#47

Made in Italy (2020)
45%

#47
Adjusted Score: 50085%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A London artist and his estranged son try to mend their relationship as they work together to repair a dilapidated... [More]
Directed By: James D'Arcy

#46

The A-Team (2010)
49%

#46
Adjusted Score: 56211%
Critics Consensus: The A-Team assembles a top-rate cast only to ditch the show's appealingly silly premise for explosive yet muddled blockbuster filmmaking.
Synopsis: A man who loves when a plan comes together, Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) leads a close-knit team of elite operatives.... [More]
Directed By: Joe Carnahan

#45

The Good Mother (1988)
50%

#45
Adjusted Score: 50074%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Boston woman's (Diane Keaton) ex-husband sues for custody of their daughter after an incident over her live-in lover (Liam... [More]
Directed By: Leonard Nimoy

#44
Adjusted Score: 56089%
Critics Consensus: Its leisurely, businesslike pace won't win the franchise many new fans, but Voyage of the Dawn Treader restores some of the Narnia franchise's lost luster with strong performances and impressive special effects.
Synopsis: Visiting their annoying cousin, Eustace, Lucy (Georgie Henley) and Edmund Pevensie (Skandar Keynes) come across a painting of a majestic... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#43
#43
Adjusted Score: 56171%
Critics Consensus: Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks give it their all, but their solid performances aren't quite enough to compensate for The Next Three Days' uneven pace and implausible plot.
Synopsis: Life for John and Lara Brennan (Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks) is miserable after she is convicted of a murder she... [More]
Directed By: Paul Haggis

#42

Chloe (2009)
51%

#42
Adjusted Score: 55919%
Critics Consensus: Despite its promising pedigree and a titillating premise, Chloe ultimately fails to deliver the heat -- or the thrills -- expected of a sexual thriller.
Synopsis: Catherine and David Stewart (Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson) are a well-to-do couple living in a posh area of Toronto, but... [More]
Directed By: Atom Egoyan

#41
Adjusted Score: 62032%
Critics Consensus: Burdened by exposition and populated with stock characters, The Phantom Menace gets the Star Wars prequels off to a bumpy -- albeit visually dazzling -- start.
Synopsis: Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) is a young apprentice Jedi knight under the tutelage of Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) ; Anakin... [More]
Directed By: George Lucas

#40

Ethan Frome (1993)
50%

#40
Adjusted Score: 50163%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A farmer (Liam Neeson) with an invalid wife (Joan Allen) falls in love with her cousin (Patricia Arquette) in snowy... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#39

Nell (1994)
55%

#39
Adjusted Score: 55613%
Critics Consensus: Despite a committed performance by Jodie Foster, Nell opts for ponderous melodrama instead of engaging with the ethical dilemmas of socializing its titular wild child.
Synopsis: Cut off from the modern world, Nell (Jodie Foster) is a wild child, who has lived her entire life with... [More]
Directed By: Michael Apted

#38

Seraphim Falls (2006)
55%

#38
Adjusted Score: 58080%
Critics Consensus: A brutal, slow-moving drama that unfolds among some great-looking scenery.
Synopsis: Gideon (Pierce Brosnan), a former Union officer, finds himself the prey of a manhunt led by Carver (Liam Neeson), Gideon's... [More]
Directed By: David Von Ancken

#37

Unknown (2011)
55%

#37
Adjusted Score: 61875%
Critics Consensus: Liam Neeson elevates the proceedings considerably, but Unknown is ultimately too derivative -- and implausible -- to take advantage of its intriguing premise.
Synopsis: After a serious car accident in Berlin, Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) awakes to find his world in utter chaos.... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#36

The Commuter (2018)
55%

#36
Adjusted Score: 67878%
Critics Consensus: The Commuter's cast is better than its workmanlike script - which helps make this reasonably diverting Liam Neeson action thriller worth the price of a matinee ticket or rental, if not a full-price ticket.
Synopsis: Insurance salesman Michael is on his daily commute home, which quickly becomes anything but routine. After being contacted by a... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#35

The Dead Pool (1988)
55%

#35
Adjusted Score: 55952%
Critics Consensus: While it offers its fair share of violent thrills and tough wit, The Dead Pool ends the Dirty Harry series on an uninspired note.
Synopsis: In the fifth installment of the Dirty Harry series, gritty cop Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is fresh off the conviction... [More]
Directed By: Buddy Van Horn

#34

Next of Kin (1989)
56%

#34
Adjusted Score: 48024%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When their brother Gerald (Bill Paxton) is murdered by a Chicago mobster (Adam Baldwin), Truman (Patrick Swayze) and Briar Gates... [More]
Directed By: John Irvin

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 61452%
Critics Consensus: Well-acted if monotonous drama about a transvestite prostitute in London during the 1970s.
Synopsis: As a baby, Patrick (Cillian Murphy) is left by his mother on the steps of the rectory in their small... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#32

Taken (2008)
59%

#32
Adjusted Score: 65056%
Critics Consensus: Taken is undeniably fun with slick action, but is largely a brainless exercise.
Synopsis: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), a former government operative, is trying to reconnect with his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). Then his... [More]
Directed By: Pierre Morel

#31

Run All Night (2015)
59%

#31
Adjusted Score: 66336%
Critics Consensus: Liam Neeson is in typically fine form, but Run All Night suffers from a convoluted plot and workmanlike execution.
Synopsis: Longtime hit man Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson), best friend of mob boss Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), has seen better days.... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Collet-Serra

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 65445%
Critics Consensus: A gripping drama even though the filmmakers have taken liberties with the facts.
Synopsis: Follows Captain Alexi Vostrikov (Harrison Ford) who, at the height of the Cold War, is ordered to take over command... [More]
Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

#29

Leap of Faith (1992)
64%

#29
Adjusted Score: 64131%
Critics Consensus: Steve Martin's layered performance transcends the somewhat undercooked narrative of Leap of Faith.
Synopsis: Touring Christian evangelist Jonas Nightengale (Steve Martin) and his cohorts tend to put on their bogus faith-healing revivals in major... [More]
Directed By: Richard Pearce

#28

The Mission (1986)
67%

#28
Adjusted Score: 67928%
Critics Consensus: The Mission is a well-meaning epic given delicate heft by its sumptuous visuals and a standout score by Ennio Morricone, but its staid presentation never stirs an emotional investment in its characters.
Synopsis: Jesuit priest Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons) enters the Guarani lands in South America with the purpose of converting the natives... [More]
Directed By: Roland Joffé

#27

Love Actually (2003)
64%

#27
Adjusted Score: 71835%
Critics Consensus: A sugary tale overstuffed with too many stories. Still, the cast charms.
Synopsis: Nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love. Among the characters explored are... [More]
Directed By: Richard Curtis

#26
Adjusted Score: 68852%
Critics Consensus: Kahlil Gibran's the Prophet is a thrillingly lovely adaptation of the classic text, albeit one that doesn't quite capture the magic of its source material.
Synopsis: A dissident being kept under house arrest recounts valuable lessons in a series of vignettes while a mischievous young woman... [More]
Directed By: Roger Allers

#25
Adjusted Score: 73677%
Critics Consensus: The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is an entertaining family adventure worthy of the standard set by its predecessor.
Synopsis: One year after their previous adventure, the Pevensie children (Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes, William Moseley, Anna Popplewell) return to the... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#24

Suspect (1987)
67%

#24
Adjusted Score: 66728%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Carl Anderson (Liam Neeson), a deaf, mute and homeless war veteran, is arrested for the murder of a prominent judge's... [More]
Directed By: Peter Yates

#23
Adjusted Score: 73750%
Critics Consensus: A Walk Among the Tombstones doesn't entirely transcend its genre clichés, but it does offer Liam Neeson one of his more compelling roles in recent memory, and that's often enough.
Synopsis: Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson), formerly part of the NYPD, now works as an unlicensed private detective. His latest client is... [More]
Directed By: Scott Frank

#22

Cold Pursuit (2019)
68%

#22
Adjusted Score: 79210%
Critics Consensus: Cold Pursuit delivers the action audiences expect from a Liam Neeson thriller -- along with humor and a sophisticated streak that make this an uncommonly effective remake.
Synopsis: Nels Coxman's quiet life as a snowplow driver comes crashing down when his beloved son dies under mysterious circumstances. His... [More]
Directed By: Hans Petter Moland

#21

Rob Roy (1995)
73%

#21
Adjusted Score: 74417%
Critics Consensus: Rob Roy is an old-fashioned swashbuckler that benefits greatly from fine performances by Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, and Tim Roth.
Synopsis: In 18th century Scotland, Robert Roy MacGregor (Liam Neeson) is the head of a proud Highlands clan that herds cattle.... [More]
Directed By: Michael Caton-Jones

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 79189%
Critics Consensus: Though flawed, the sprawling, messy Gangs of New York is redeemed by impressive production design and Day-Lewis's electrifying performance.
Synopsis: Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a young Irish immigrant released from prison. He returns to the Five Points seeking revenge... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#19

The Bounty (1984)
74%

#19
Adjusted Score: 73806%
Critics Consensus: Thanks in large part to its cast, and Anthony Hopkins in particular, The Bounty's retelling of the mutiny on the HMS Bounty is an intelligent, engaging adventure saga.
Synopsis: Captain Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) struggles to restore discipline among the crew of the HMS Bounty after the ship has an... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#18

Les Miserables (1998)
75%

#18
Adjusted Score: 76845%
Critics Consensus: This intelligent, handsomely crafted adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel condenses the story's developments without blunting its emotional impact.
Synopsis: After serving a lengthy prison sentence, Jean Valjean (Liam Neeson) turns his life around after an act of kindness opens... [More]
Directed By: Bille August

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 75999%
Critics Consensus: Oliver Hirschbiegel's dramatic take on "The Troubles" is an actor's showcase -- and Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt are more than up to the challenge.
Synopsis: In 1970s Northern Ireland, young Joe Griffin watches in horror as the teenage leader of a UVF cell shoots Joe's... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Hirschbiegel

#16
Adjusted Score: 83788%
Critics Consensus: With first-rate special effects and compelling storytelling, this adaptation stays faithful to its source material and will please moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: During the World War II bombings of London, four English siblings are sent to a country house where they will... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#15

Michael Collins (1996)
78%

#15
Adjusted Score: 79493%
Critics Consensus: As impressively ambitious as it is satisfyingly impactful, Michael Collins honors its subject's remarkable achievements with a magnetic performance from Liam Neeson in the title role.
Synopsis: In the early 20th century, Michael Collins (Liam Neeson) leads the Irish Republican Army with the help of his friends... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#14

The Grey (2012)
79%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86838%
Critics Consensus: The Grey is an exciting tale of survival, populated with fleshed-out characters and a surprising philosophical agenda.
Synopsis: Following a grueling five-week shift at an Alaskan oil refinery, workers led by sharpshooter John Ottway (Liam Neeson) are flying... [More]
Directed By: Joe Carnahan

#13

Excalibur (1981)
74%

#13
Adjusted Score: 80413%
Critics Consensus: John Boorman's operatic, opulent take on the legend of King Arthur is visually remarkable, and features strong performances from an all-star lineup of British thespians.
Synopsis: The magical sword of Excalibur starts off in the hands of British lord Uther Pendragon (Gabriel Byrne) and then, years... [More]
Directed By: John Boorman

#12

Silence (2016)
83%

#12
Adjusted Score: 103532%
Critics Consensus: Silence ends Martin Scorsese's decades-long creative quest with a thoughtful, emotionally resonant look at spirituality and human nature that stands among the director's finest works.
Synopsis: Two 17th-century Portuguese missionaries, Father Sebastian Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garupe (Adam Driver), embark on a perilous journey... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#11

Darkman (1990)
83%

#11
Adjusted Score: 87217%
Critics Consensus: Gruesome and deliciously broad, Sam Raimi's Darkman bears the haunted soulfulness of gothic tragedy while packing the stylistic verve of onomatopoeia springing off a comic strip page.
Synopsis: When thugs employed by a crime boss lead a vicious assault on Dr. Peyton Wilder (Liam Neeson), leaving him literally... [More]
Directed By: Sam Raimi

#10

Batman Begins (2005)
84%

#10
Adjusted Score: 95916%
Critics Consensus: Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.
Synopsis: A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he's trained in the martial arts by Henri... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#9

A Monster Calls (2016)
86%

#9
Adjusted Score: 105962%
Critics Consensus: A Monster Calls deftly balances dark themes and fantastical elements to deliver an engrossing and uncommonly moving entry in the crowded coming-of-age genre.
Synopsis: Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is dealing with far more than other boys his age. His beloved and devoted mother (Felicity Jones)... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#8
Adjusted Score: 103035%
Critics Consensus: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs avoids anthology pitfalls with a consistent collection tied together by the Coen brothers' signature blend of dark drama and black humor.
Synopsis: An anthology of six short films that take place in 19th-century post-Civil War era during the settling of the Old... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

#7

Kinsey (2004)
90%

#7
Adjusted Score: 96185%
Critics Consensus: A biopic of the sex researcher is hailed as adventurous, clever, and subversive, with fine performances by Liam Neeson and Laura Linney.
Synopsis: Biology professor Alfred Kinsey (Liam Neeson) has a perfectly respectable life teaching and doing research at Indiana University along with... [More]
Directed By: Bill Condon

#6

Widows (2018)
91%

#6
Adjusted Score: 116986%
Critics Consensus: Widows rounds up a stellar ensemble for a heist thriller that mixes popcorn entertainment with a message - and marks another artistic leap for director Steve McQueen.
Synopsis: A police shootout leaves four thieves dead during an explosive armed robbery attempt in Chicago. Their widows -- Veronica, Linda,... [More]
Directed By: Steve McQueen

#5

Ponyo (2008)
91%

#5
Adjusted Score: 96828%
Critics Consensus: While not Miyazaki's best film, Ponyo is a visually stunning fairy tale that's a sweetly poetic treat for children of all ages.
Synopsis: During a forbidden excursion to see the surface world, a goldfish princess encounters a human boy named Sosuke, who gives... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#4

Ordinary Love (2019)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 100529%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson, Ordinary Love wrings heartrending drama out of one couple's medical travails.
Synopsis: Joan and Tom have been married for many years. An everyday couple with a remarkable love, there is an ease... [More]

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 96165%
Critics Consensus: Husbands and Wives is a blistering, emotionally raw snapshot of two marriages self-destructing.
Synopsis: Gabe (Woody Allen) and his wife, Judy (Mia Farrow), are shocked to discover that their best friends, Sally (Judy Davis)... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#2

The LEGO Movie (2014)
96%

#2
Adjusted Score: 105885%
Critics Consensus: Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages.
Synopsis: Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary LEGO figurine who always follows the rules, is mistakenly identified as the Special -- an... [More]

#1

Schindler's List (1993)
98%

#1
Adjusted Score: 108404%
Critics Consensus: Schindler's List blends the abject horror of the Holocaust with Steven Spielberg's signature tender humanism to create the director's dramatic masterpiece.
Synopsis: Businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) arrives in Krakow in 1939, ready to make his fortune from World War II, which... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

In 2019, Rotten Tomatoes turns 21, and to mark the occasion we’re celebrating with a series of features that look back at the brightest moments on screen of the past two decades – and one year – and the things that have us excited for the future. 

They’re the lines you’ve worn on T-shirts and Photoshopped into memes. They’re the lines you’re maybe a little sick of, but can’t stop loving. Before they were famous, though – before they were parodied on SNL and printed onto ironic mugs – they were words on a page and then words in a movie you were hearing for the first time, and they stuck. Maybe they were hilarious (poor Gretchen, “fetch” never happened), or maybe they were chilling (“I see dead people”). Maybe they were delivered just right (“Why… so… serious?”). Here, we’re looking back at the 21 most memorable lines from the movies since August 1998, the year that Rotten Tomatoes came into this world. If we missed a favorite of yours, let us know in the comments.


The Sixth Sense (1999)

Neither M. Night Shyamalan nor Haley Joel Osment knew that the intensely whispered “I see dead people” would become the center of Disney’s marketing push for The Sixth Sense – and the subject of parodies for decades. Talking recently to Rotten Tomatoes, Osment said he was just thankful Twitter hadn’t been invented at the time the film came out, when he was 11.


Notting Hill (1999)

When you pair America’s sweetheart with Britain’s reigning rom-com king, you have to bring your A-game, and writer Richard Curtis did just that for Notting Hill. With this heartbreaking line, he manages to somehow get us rooting for one of the world’s richest and most glamorous movie stars, and screaming with frustration at the regular “fairly level-headed bloke” whose love she’s asking for.


American Pie (1999)

Paul and Chris Weitz’s surprisingly sweet teen sex comedy gave us one of the late ’90s most indelible movie images (the pie!), and chased that up with one of the decade’s most memorable movie lines. And one that’s got a sex-positive ring: “What?” asks Alyson Hannigan’s Michelle flatly after revealing where she sometimes puts her flute. “You don’t think I know how to get myself off?”


Fight Club (1999)

From Chuck Pahalniuk’s pen to Brad Pitt’s mouth and into the minds of college students all over the country…


Galaxy Quest (1999)

It was only appropriate that this cult spoof of Star Trek and its legion of Trekkie fans would have its own live-long-and-prosper–style catchphrase. It is delivered with Shatnerian levels of cheese and determination by Tim Allen, playing Jason Nesmith, who’s playing Commander Quincy Peter Taggart.


Office Space (1999)

We could run through an entire stack of Post-Its writing down our favorite lines from Mike Judge’s cult favorite, but this chipper, grating, morning greeting wins out – an encapsulation of the deep, smiley rage suppression that gives Office Space its kick.


Erin Brockovich (2000)

When Ed (Albert Finney) asks Julia Roberts’ Erin Brockovich, “What makes you think you can just walk in there and find what we need?”, she fires off this line and a look that says, Seriously, you need to ask? The resourceful real-life Erin Brockovich has said she did use the line with the real-life Ed – probably more than once.


The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Some consider it blasphemy that Peter Jackson added this line as a climax to Gandalf’s defiant verbal smackdown of the fiery Balrog; in the original Tolkien book, Gandalf only says “you cannot pass” (which he also says, though less iconically, as he starts his speech in the film). Jackson’s addition became one of the best “f—k yeah!” moments in the original movie trilogy and went on to spawn thousands of memes.


Training Day (2001)

Denzel Washington won an Oscar for playing corrupt narcotics cop Alonzo in Atonine Fuqua’s Training Day, and it might have been his delivery this line – puffed-up and chest-pounding as he realizes power is slipping away – that got any hesitant Academy voters across the line.


The Incredibles (2004)

It’s unfair to say that Edna Mode (voiced by Incredibles writer-director Brad Bird) steals Pixar’s superhero smash – there are too many awesome elements and characters for one to dominate – but she comes very, very close. She’s full of one-liners and shady zingers, but it’s her golden rule (“No capes!”), and the various anecdotes that led to it (R.I.P. Thunderhead), that people remember most fondly.


Mean Girls (2004)

Mean Girls’ Regina George (Rachel McAdams) is the queen bee of her group, and this was perhaps her sharpest stinger. Irony is, while “fetch” didn’t happen, this line caught on in a big way.


300 (2006)

On paper, there’s nothing particularly special about this line – it’s kinda just a statement of fact (it is Sparta, after all – not Athens or Thermopylae, and definitely not madness, nor blasphemy). But coming out of Peak Gerard Butler’s mouth as a kind of gravelly scream for the ages, and accompanied by that iconic slow-mo kick, it’s gone down in film history. Watching this moment, we are all Sparta (even those of us without six packs).


Black Panther (2018)

This greeting of the Wakandan people, and the accompanying gesture, infiltrated popular culture following the release of mega-hit Black Panther in February 2018. (The film’s stars were asked to do the gesture so frequently on red carpets and during interviews, memes began to circulate showing a bored-looking Chadwick Boseman – who plays the titular hero – giving a perfunctory version of the cross-armed symbol.) Interestingly, the most memorable use of the phrase might come in Infinity War, and not Black Panther, when T’Challa shouts the phrase as he leads his Wakandans into battle against Thanos’s forces.


Brokeback Mountain (2005)

When Jake Gyllenhaal said these words to Heath Ledger while shooting Brokeback Mountain, he probably had no idea what a life they would go on to have: first as a wrenching moment between their characters, Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar; then as a source of parody and a meme (mostly among those too immature to cope with the film); finally, and most recently, as a shorthand for the film itself, and what it meant to the LGBTQ community to see a gay couple portrayed authentically and without judgment in a major release.


The Hunger Games (2012)

There are plenty of action-packed, effects-enhanced, and completely thrilling moments throughout the Hunger Games franchise, but few are as simultaneously inspiring and terrifying as the quiet scene in which Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) steps forward to take her young sister’s place in the Games. The line is lifted directly from the same scene in first book of Susanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy.


Snakes on a Plane (2006)

You may not recall the insane hype around Snakes on a Plane in the lead up to its release – an irony-fueled internet buzz-wave that stemmed, essentially, from the absurdity of its premise-capturing title. You may not even remember much of the film itself. But there is no way you forgot this line, spoken by profanity wizard Samuel L. Jackson in one of those legendary B-movie inspiration speeches he’s so masterful at delivering. (Fun fact: The line has aired on FX as the more-safe-for-work “monkey-flying snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane.”)


Taken (2008)

It was in 2009, while in his mid 50s, that Liam Neeson discovered a very particular set of skills – gravelly line-readings, a death-stare for the ages, and a capacity for rapid-fire action – that would launch a whole new chapter of his career: Liam Neeson, Action Star! And while the past decade has been littered with Neeson action programmers (right up to 2019’s Cold Pursuit), none have matched Taken for its intensity, impact, and the power of that oft-quoted bedroom scene.


The Dark Knight (2008)

Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s second Batman film might well have given us the best comic-book movie villain ever. The character’s most famous line – “Why so serious?” – became iconic even before the film’s release, centering one of the most effective marketing campaigns of recent decades.


There Will Be Blood (2007)

Speaking of Oscar winners… This rather surprising analogy for oil drainage, spoken by Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview, was inspired by real-life words to congress from then Secretary of the Interior, Albert Fall, spoken during a 1920s Congressional investigation. Or so Paul Thomas Anderson has said – the original quote has not been found.


Zoolander (2001)

The best stupid movie of the past 21 years? Maybe. (Step Brothers would give it a definite run for its money.) But Zoolander is probably the most quotable, thanks to brilliant bites of silliness like this.


The Fast and the Furious (2001)

The Furious franchise has evolved greatly over the years, shifting gears (sorry!) from smallish-scale Point Break-alike to globe-trotting stunt spectacular, each entry one-upping the other in terms of scale and ludicrousness. What keeps the whole thing grounded, and provides the through-line from 2001 right through to this year’s Hobbs and Shaw? Family, of course, but also the dedication to awesome cheese perfectly encapsulated by this line/mantra/religion. Us too, Dom, us too.

Photos courtesy of Buena Vista, Universal, Twentieth Century Fox, DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Walt Disney, Paramount, Marvel Studios, Focus Films, Lionsgate, Paramount Vantage.


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They’ve been a long time coming, but Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are reaching the climax with Fifty Shades Freed, opening wide this Friday. And if history is any indication (Grey and Darker are 25% and 10% respectively on the Tomatometer), Freed won’t be hitting the spot with critics, prompting this week’s gallery of the most Rotten movie trilogies ever.

If anyone ever goes missing, Bryan Mills is the one to call. Liam Neeson played Bryan in the three Taken movies. In NBC’s Taken TV series, created by Homeland writer Alex Cary, Clive Standen plays a young Bryan Mills early in his career as a rescuer.

Bryan blips on the radar of National Intelligence when he foils a train hijacking, although it costs him his sister’s life in the crossfire.

Jennifer Beals plays Christina Hart, who recruits Bryan to put his very particular set of skills to use on a national scale.

Beals spoke with Rotten Tomatoes recently ahead of the Taken premiere. Here are 11 things she revealed about her brand new character in the world of Taken.


1. WHAT CHRISTINA TEACHES BRYAN

Bryan was a lone wolf in the Taken movies, but he came from a background of elite teamwork. Christina is instrumental in teaching Bryan to work together.

“I think she needs to teach him discipline certainly,” Beals said. “He needs to learn how to work with a team. In the beginning, he’s not a very astute team player, but he learns eventually.”


2. CHRISTINA MUST BE PATIENT WITH BRYAN

This is not a movie. Taken has an episode to do every week, so it will take more than one mission for Bryan to really learn the lesson.

“He gets the lesson and forgets the lesson, he gets the lesson, he forgets the lesson,” Beals said. “We’re working on repeating the positive outcome.”


3. CHRISTINA IS A MYSTERY

Taken is pulling back the curtain on Bryan Mills’ mysterious past, but behind his curtain there’s Christina’s curtain. Beals has inferred a little bit on her own.

“We don’t get a lot of her backstory yet,” Beals said. “I have no doubt that she thinks she’s the smartest person in the room nine times out of 10. Every now and again she’ll meet that person who she wants to learn from or study with, I guess. She’s got some issues in that regard.”


4. CHRISTINA IS MISSING OUT ON A FAMILY

The whole point of the Taken movies was that Bryan screwed up his family, but he was the one they needed in a crisis. Beals suspects Christina may have sacrificed her personal life for the agency. Of course, the needs of a weekly show probably mean retirement is not in her future.

“I think this is somebody who has taken this job at great personal sacrifice and is beginning to long for a life outside the agency,” Beals said. “We’ll see what happens. I don’t know that she could ever really leave, but maybe she can create something else for herself and try to create a life that could be in tandem with her chosen profession.”


5. CHRISTINA GETS VULNERABLE

When Beals appears in the premiere of Taken, she’s a confident, tough-as-nails boss. It may be surprising to see her become vulnerable in only the second episode. It certainly surprised Beals when Christina’s relationship with a former agent proved to be so emotional.

“That’s a very vulnerable episode,” Beals said. “It was interesting because it wasn’t how I had imagined her originally. When Alex started talking to me about the relationship that I had with this other agent, I thought it was interesting to reveal you may have tried to harden yourself to get through the day knowing all the things that you know about security. When you lose someone or when someone is taken from you, it’s still painful. It doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your heart. It’s still there somewhere.”


6. IT’S NOT JUST THE BRYAN MILLS SHOW

Tune in for Bryan Mills. Stay for the rest of the team, including John (Gaius Charles), Scott (Michael Irby), Vlasik (Monique Gabriela Curnen), and Riley (Jennifer Marsala). Christina knows how to get the best out of her agents and use them strategically together.

“We have our black ops team who does the action, which is a group of predominantly men, but I have one gal on the team who is a total badass,” Beals said. “Then we have our team at the office who is coordinating everything electronically.”


7. CHRISTINA IS THE LEADER

Christina also embodies good leadership. She doesn’t tell her team members what to do. She allows them to contribute their unique skills.

“It doesn’t feel powerful in that I’m the authority,” Beals said. “It feels powerful in that I’m trying to empower other people to be the very best they can be — that’s when I know I’m doing a good job as a leader. You kind of stay out of the way a little bit at times, to let them have the conversation, to let them see if they can figure out what the strategy is without me dictating.”


8. IT’S TRUE THAT INTELLIGENCE AGENTS ARE HARD TO MANAGE

Taken is not a documentary on intelligence work. It’s action-packed entertainment, but there is a basis in truth. Because of the nature of intelligence work, many of the recruits have to be specially trained to follow the rules.

“What I was surprised by when I was reading some of the material — and what I didn’t think about was — people who come to the intelligence community often have an issue with authority,” Beals said. “So in combination with the fact that they are naturally secretive, to organize the agency is very hard. How do you get people to come forward with what they know and trust you as an authority figure to organize the agency? It becomes quite a difficult task.”


9. CHRISTINA TALKS THE TALK

Part of Beals’ research included learning the technical jargon of intelligence work. She really had to cram because she was cast less than a week before filming.

“Yes, there’s a lot of technical jargon,” Beals said. “You’re really having to learn the lexicon of that world.

“I was cast at the last second, and I was given a small truckload of reading to do by Alex Graves who directed our pilot, who’s a friend. He directed the pilot on Proof, a show that I did for TNT. He and I are friends, and I trust him completely, and I said, ‘OK, I’ve got to go shoot in five days. I know that you have a reading list that you refer to. Tell me, what do you want me to read right now?’”


10. CHRISTINA CAN THROW DOWN TOO

Christina’s day-to-day duties are to manage the team. They can be the ones fighting bad guys in close quarters and shooting guns. When Christina does spring into action, nobody better mess with her.

“I was in a stunt where a car flips upside down, and I’m supposed to get out of the car and pull my fellow actor out of a burning car,” Beals said. “The car was only supposed to be burning on the top, and I asked if there was going to be anything inside the car. They said, ‘No, there won’t be any flames or anything inside the car.’ When I went to go pull this person out of the car, the interior of the car burst into flames. That was completely unexpected, and we just rolled with it, and I pulled the person out of the car as quickly as I possibly could.”


11. BEALS IS A HERO IN REAL LIFE

Even more impressive than the car stunt, Beals actually helped save a life for real. Because she’s played doctors on shows like Proof and The Night Shift, she knew what to do when she drove by an automobile accident. She said the driver did not know she was the Jennifer Beals of movies and television.

“When we were shooting Taken, I was on the freeway, and I came across a truck that had flipped over. I was the third person at the scene of the accident. The driver had crawled out of the truck, and his head was bleeding, and he was obviously disoriented. I ran out of my car with a bottle of water. I applied pressure to the wound, and I got on the phone and got the medics there, but in the meantime was sitting there picking glass out of the wound. These guys came and had an emergency medical kit in their car. He was OK. He was fine. I gave him some water and cleaned up his wound a bit, then the paramedics did all the real work afterwards.”

Taken premieres Monday, February 27 at 10 p.m. on NBC. Read our interview with Clive Standen here.


Hart and Johnson: The world’s two unlikeliest megastars join forces this week for Central Intelligence, playing former high school classmates who reunite and get embroiled in international action courtesy of the CIA. Since its inception in 1947, Hollywood has committed plenty of celluloid around the agency’s foundation of espionage and top-secret missions, inspiring this week’s gallery: the best and worst CIA agents in movie history.

This week on DVD, Liam Neeson (you know, the veteran Irish actor who your grandmother thinks looks nice) opens a can of whoop ass on unsuspecting kidnappers, much to our delight (Taken), while Michael Sheen (you know, the esteemed Welsh star of such Oscar contenders as The Queen and Frost/Nixon) plays a medieval werewolf in love in a fantasy-action prequel (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans). Elsewhere, Richard Kelly is chuckling to himself as an unofficial sequel to his cult hit Donnie Darko hits shelves (S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale), A-listers visit the depths of Direct-To-DVD Land, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles squeeze a few bucks from our pocketbooks, and Trekkies get a cornucopia of new nerdy delights.

Taken — 56%

Liam Neeson WANTS HIS DAUGHTER BACK in Taken, this week’s gloriously unapologetic exploitation thriller about a former CIA agent whose daughter (LOST‘s Maggie Grace) is kidnapped by slave traders while on holiday following U2’s world tour. Never mind the strangely coincidental plot points (these thugs definitely crossed the wrong dad), Taken delivers one of the most gleefully violent, guilty pleasure viewing experiences of the year. Who doesn’t want to see the 56-year-old former Darkman breaking necks, Jason Bourne-style? Watch an exclusive making-of video below.

Next: We’re likin’ Michael Sheen in Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans — 32%

In the third installment of the uber-slick Underworld series, we go back — way back — to the very beginnings of the bitter blood feud between Lycans and vampires through which Kate Beckinsale‘s black leather-clad Selene blasts her way in Underworld and Underworld: Evolution. And like all good vampire vs. werewolf stories (Twilight, anyone?), it all started with a love story. The ever-versatile Michael Sheen reprises his role as Lucien, a werewolf who leads his people in a slave rebellion against a class of vampire masters led by Viktor (Bill Nighy); when Lucian falls in love with Viktor’s daughter, Sonja (Beckinsale doppelganger Rhona Mitra)… well, we all know it can’t end well. A filmmaker commentary and featurettes highlight the DVD, with additional materials and a digital copy available on Blu-ray.

Next: S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale

S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale — N/A

If you thought Richard Kelly‘s cult hit Donnie Darko had its fair shake of “WTF?” moments, just try and wrap your mind around director Chris Fisher‘s direct-to-video sequel, S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale. Made without the involvement of Kelly himself, S. Darko follows Donnie’s younger sister, Samantha (played again by Daveigh Chase), who has left behind her Sparkle Motion days, become disconnected from her family, and is on a road trip with pal Corey (Step Up 2‘s Briana Evigan). Stranded in Utah, the girls endure dreamlike encounters with a bunch of locals, including the apparently disturbed “Iraq Jack” (One Tree Hill‘s James Lafferty) and a nerdy love interest (Twilight‘s Jackson Rathbone). Critics say, however, that Fisher’s sequel borrows too heavily from its predecessor and plays like feature film fan fiction, so we only recommend it for the most fervent Darko fans.

Next: Galaxy Quest: Deluxe Edition

Galaxy Quest: Deluxe Edition — 90%

By Grabthar’s hammer, Galaxy Quest hits shelves this week in a Deluxe Edition! The re-issue arrives just in time to remind Trekkies just how lovingly the parody addressed the nature of Star Trek fandom. Tim Allen plays the Shatner-esque Jason Nesmith, a washed-up actor still basking in the glow of his popular star vehicle, Galaxy Quest, when a band of dorky real aliens (led by the awesomely rubber-faced Enrico Colantoni) enlist him to save their planet. Pick up the Deluxe Edition for great extras, like Sigourney Weaver‘s backstage rap (featuring Sam Rockwell on the beat box) and a Thermian audio track. And remember: Never give up, never surrender!

Next: Ashton Kutcher nabs a cougar in Personal Effects

Personal Effects — N/A

Ashton Kutcher takes a break from Punking, Twittering, and making terrible romantic comedies with this direct-to-video clunker, in which he stars as a promising college wrestler whose career is cut short when his twin sister is killed. Grieving in his hometown while awaiting the perpetrator’s trial, he enters into a May-December romance with a widow from his therapy group (Michelle Pfeiffer), whose deaf son is dealing with his own seething rage. As you might expect, lives collide, tragedy looms, and few viewers will actually care. A single making-of feature is included.

Next: Jena Malone, Leelee Sobieski, and Chloe Sevigny are Lying

Lying — N/A

What a week for subpar, star-driven dramas! Keeping company with Ashton Kutcher and Michelle Pfeiffer in Direct-to-DVD Land are fellow A-listers Chloe Sevigny, Jena Malone, and Leelee Sobieski, who co-star in this micro-budgeted indie drama about spoiled Gen-X women getting to know each other in the countryside. Newbie director M. Blash turned critics off with this overly pretentious film about, ironically, pretentious rich people — or the compulsive liars who pretend to be them, hint, hint — though the digitally-shot flick played the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes two years ago, for whatever that’s worth. The DVD also includes a commentary track with Blash, Sevigny, and Malone, and a featurette in which Blash is interviewed by filmmaker Todd Haynes.

Next: The Grudge 3: Even Grudgier

The Grudge 3 — N/A

As if the Grudge franchise could ever end, a third film in the series lands on shelves this week. The direct-to-video Grudge 3 picks up where The Grudge 2 left off, as sole survivor Jake (Matthew Knight) conveniently passes on Kayako’s curse to a whole new group of unsuspecting victims. Inevitably, tragedy befalls those who cross paths with the Japanese ghost lady and her creepy little ghost boy, including Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Troi), Shawnee Smith (on loan from the Saw franchise), and, frankly, us viewers; director Toby Wilkins, whose recent horror flick Splinter earned a 71% Tomatometer, is unlikely to repeat freshness with this rote (and R-rated) Grudge extension.

Next: Heroes in a half shell – Turtle Power!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 7

The long-running animated adventures of Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo (collectively known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, naturally) kept children of the late ’80s and ’90s riveted — and buying action figures, comics, and other merchandise — for ten seasons; IGN named it the 55th best animated TV show of all time last winter. For those of us who played TMNT on the playgrounds (yours truly was always stuck as April O’Neil — lame), this week’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 7 is a must-have item to add to your “I Love the ’90s” DVD collection. All 27 episodes of Season 7 will be released this week in collectible editions, though there is one huge, disappointing drawback: you have to buy all four “slices” (AKA releases, sold separately) in order to own the complete collection.

Next: Nerd out with Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture Collection Blu-ray

Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture Collection Blu-ray

Did you love J.J. Abrams‘ Certified Fresh Star Trek reboot, but not as much as you love the first six original feature films? Are you dying to see what happens when William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and host Whoopi Goldberg get together in a room to dish their favorite Trek memories? And finally, are you willing to shelling out $79.99 (Amazon’s special price) to own yet another super special collector’s bonus edition of Trek materials, even though you probably already own the films individually? Then, Trekkers, the new Star Trek: The Motion Picture Collection on Blu-ray is for you. In addition to 12 hours of previously released bonus footage, the collection adds over two hours of new materials and Blu-ray exclusive interactive features (test your Trek knowledge against other superfans!) and more importantly, all six films have been digitally remastered. What are you waiting for, ensign? Beam up immediately!

Until next week, happy renting!

The adult-themed superhero film Watchmen seized control of the North American box office posting the biggest debut of the year with an estimated $55.7M in ticket sales over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead), the R-rated film based on the acclaimed 1986 comic series averaged a muscular $15,413 from 3,611 theaters. It was the third best March opening ever trailing 300 ($70.9M) and Ice Age: The Meltdown ($68M) and the sixth largest bow for an R-rated film after The Matrix Reloaded ($91.8M), The Passion of the Christ ($83.8M), 300, Hannibal ($58M), and Sex and the City ($57M).

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With a reported budget of about $125M, the anti-heroes began the weekend with a terrific $25.1M on Friday including $4.6M in Thursday night shows beginning at midnight. Saturday fell sharply by 25% to $19M while Sunday is estimated to drop 38% to $11.6M.

Expectations were high for Watchmen with many thinking it could match or even beat 300‘s debut given that it boasted the same director, studio, release weekend, and rating. But the Spartan tale played broader as an exciting stylish actioner of the moment with more female appeal. Watchmen generated less interest with women and stuck mostly to a finite fan base of lovers of the comic and graphic novel. Still, the debut was impressive as it wasn’t an easy sell. Reviews were mixed and the longer running time of 2 hours and 43 minutes meant less showtimes per auditorium.

But Watchmen did enjoy a less competitive field as no studio dared to counter with another wide release this weekend. The rest of the Top 20 stole away $56.5M versus $75.5M for 300‘s opening weekend. The superhero saga managed to gross more than the next 17 films combined and eked out a new record for the widest launch of an R-rated pic inching past the 3,603 sites for Reloaded from May 2003.

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In the world of superheroes that jump from the page to the screen, Watchmen performed just like the first films in the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises which bowed to $54.5M in 2000 and $56.1M in 2005, respectively. All three were based on ensemble groups of characters, had large built-in fan bases, but were not universally known heroes like Spider-Man or Batman. Watchmen had a more restrictive rating and played outside of the prime summer season, however it also enjoyed higher ticket prices.

Imax played an important role in Watchmen‘s debut. 124 of the total theaters offered the large-screen presentation at slightly higher prices grossing an estimated $5.5M making it the second biggest Imax bow ever after The Dark Knight which debuted in 94 sites. That translated to a sensational average of $44,556. Imax accounted for just 3% of the Watchmen locations but 10% of the weekend gross.

Overseas where Paramount is handling the release, Rorschach and company grossed a solid but not spectacular $27.5M from 45 markets. The global bow was $83.2M.

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Following its two-week stint on top, Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail dropped down to second place with an estimated $8.8M in its third weekend of release. The PG-13 comedy has so far grossed $76.5M in 17 days and currently ranks as Lionsgate’s fourth biggest grosser ever after Fahrenheit 9/11 ($119.2M), Saw II ($87M), and Saw III ($80.2M). Already Perry’s top career pic, look for Jail to end its run as the second biggest hit ever for the distributor. The movie mogul remains busy with his next film I Can Do Bad All By Myself, which also features the Madea character, set to be released this September and the sequel Why Did I Get Married Too slated for Easter weekend next year. Lionsgate once again will distribute. Perry’s seven films to date have grossed a combined $356M domestically.

Fox’s sleeper hit thriller Taken enjoyed yet another solid performance with audiences taking in an estimated $7.5M for a low decline of just 25%. That boosted the cume to a robust $118M. Dropping 42% in its 17th weekend was Oscar champ Slumdog Millionaire with an estimated $6.9M boosting the tally to date to $125.4M. The Danny Boyle-directed hit is on course to beat Juno’s $143.5M to become the top-grossing film ever for Fox Searchlight. The global cume has now surpassed $225M.

Climbing one spot to fifth place was the durable comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop which dipped only 25% to an estimated $4.2M boosting the remarkable cume to $133.6M. Now in its eighth weekend, the Sony release has never dropped by more than 40%. Another comedy showing good legs is the date flick He’s Just Not That Into You which declined by only 33% to an estimated $4M for sixth place. Warner Bros. has taken in $84.6M with this New Line production.

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Falling 37% to an estimated $3.3M was the stop-motion animation hit Coraline. The Focus release has now taken in a stellar $65.7M to date and ranks as one of the year’s top ten grossers. The Isla Fisher comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic got off to a rocky start but has now posted back-to-back weekends with drops of less than 35%. The Buena Vista release took in an estimated $3.1M, off 33%, and lifted its sum to a decent $38.4M.

Disney’s Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience suffered one of the largest second weekend drops in box office history crumbling a stunning 78% to an estimated $2.8M. This followed what was widely considered an underwhelming debut last weekend of $12.5M which was enhanced by $15 ticket prices. After ten days, the G-rated music pic has grossed $16.8M underscoring how the Jonas brand is not nearly as popular as the Hannah Montana name. That character’s 3D concert film from last year fell by 67% in its sophomore session and banked an amazing $53.2M in its first ten days despite playing in half as many theaters.

Rounding out the top ten was the high school comedy Fired Up with an estimated $2.6M for Sony, down just 30%, for a new total of $13.4M.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $98.9M over the weekend which was up 14% from last year when 10,000 B.C. opened in the top spot with $35.9M; but down 27% from 2007 when 300 debuted at number one with a stunning $70.9M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, BoxOfficeGuru.com

From Pittsburgh to Arizona and everywhere in between, moviegoers were in the
mood for revenge as the
Liam Neeson action
thriller Taken shot past expectations debuting
at number one over Super Bowl weekend. The frame’s other new releases, the
horror entry The Uninvited and the
comedy New in Town, debuted to
more moderate numbers while the top holdover pics posted solid holds. Overall,
the North American box office was a virtual match with year-ago numbers capping
off an impressive January at the multiplexes.

Not known for headlining commercial hits on his own, Liam Neeson anchored the
kidnapping thriller Taken and scored a huge hit
taking in an estimated $24.6M this weekend. It was the second biggest debut ever
over Super Bowl weekend trailing just
Hannah
Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert
which bowed to a
colossal $31.1M last year this very session. Taken was expected to open
in the mid-teen millions and not blast past the $20M mark as it did. Fox
released the PG-13 film in 3,183 theaters and averaged a superb $7,736.

Studios have long avoided opening male-skewing action films over the Super Bowl
frame fearing that they can’t maximize their reach given the football
distractions. However, Fox’s move made sense since the big game only has a major
impact on one day leaving Friday and Saturday open for strong business. Taken
debuted on Friday to a stellar $9.4M and saw Saturday climb a healthy 24% to
$11.6M. The studio is expecting a 69% Sunday tumble to $3.6M. Reviews were
mixed.

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Fox’s marketing used the elements that have worked in recent years for the Jason
Bourne and James Bond films. Commercials used quick cutting and highlighted the
raw and gritty action scenes and hand-to-hand combat of a man on a mission.
Neeson’s name gave the film a well-respected acting talent in the lead. Taken
is the eighth film to open near or above the $20M mark in the last four weeks.

Security guard lovers kept buying tickets for the Kevin James hit Paul Blart: Mall Cop
which dropped a reasonable 35% to an estimated $14M for second place in its
third weekend. The Sony smash has locked up a stellar $83.4M to date and could
be on course to reach $125M giving the funnyman a bigger hit than the most
recent comedy offerings from A-listers Jim Carrey, Will Ferrell, Steve Carell,
and Ben Stiller.

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Paramount released the horror remake The Uninvited
hoping to lure in teenage girls but settled for a mediocre third place debut
with an estimated $10.5M. The Americanized version of the Korean thriller A
Tale of Two Sisters
averaged a decent $4,485 from 2,344 locations. The PG-13
fright flick’s opening did not match the bows of other horror films released
over Super Bowl weekend like 2006’s When a Stranger Calls ($21.6M),
2005’s Boogeyman ($19M), or even last year’s Hong Kong remake The Eye
($12.4M). Budgeted at $20M, The Uninvited attracted an audience that was
evenly split between males and females with 50% of the audience being in the
18-34 age bracket, according to the studio.

The box office has been kind to all dog movies, even the Paramount kidpic Hotel for Dogs
which slipped only 32% in its third lap to an estimated $8.7M. With a sturdy
$48.2M banked in 17 days, the PG-rated comedy looks set to reach about $75M
giving Nickelodeon Films another winner.

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Gran Torino
became the highest-grossing film ever for Clint Eastwood thanks to its weekend
estimate of $8.6M which pushed the robust cume up to $110.5M. Off 47%, the
Warner Bros. release may find its way to about $130M. Though Clint’s biggest
grosser, Torino has still sold fewer tickets than some of the Oscar
winner’s hits from the 1990s. Its admissions estimate of 15 million is far from
the estimated 24 million stubs sold a piece for 1992’s Unforgiven and
1993’s In the Line of Fire.

Suffering the smallest drop in the top ten, Slumdog Millionaire
dropped a notch to sixth with an estimated $7.7M for a 28% decline. Fox
Searchlight added 222 theaters to the Oscar nominee’s run and averaged $4,703
for the second best average of any film in wide release. Cume to date is $67.2M
nearly half of which has come since winning four Golden Globes on January 11.
Slumdog
surpassed Little Miss Sunshine to become the third biggest
grosser in company history for Searchlight trailing past Best Picture contenders
Juno ($143.5M) and Sideways ($71.5M). Helmer Danny Boyle won the
top prize from the Directors Guild of America this weekend adding to the film’s
long list of awards.

Sony’s werewolf thriller Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
suffered the worst decline in the top ten crashing 65% to an estimated $7.2M.
The drop was more severe than those witnessed by the first two installments in
the franchise which were 57% for 2003’s Underworld and 58% for 2006’s
Underworld: Evolution
. Budgeted at $35M, Lycans has grossed $32.8M in
the first ten days and should end up at around $45M before finding a new
audience on DVD.

[rtimage]MapID=1194220&MapTypeID=2&photo=12&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Oscar winner Renée Zellweger showed little box office muscle with her new comedy New in Town
which bowed to an estimated $6.8M from 1,941 sites for a mild $3,479 average.
The PG-rated pic from Lionsgate co-starred Harry Connick Jr. and drew mostly
poor marks from critics. Town was released as counter-programming hoping to
attract adult women over the Super Bowl frame.

Tumbling 58% to ninth was the horror pic My Bloody Valentine 3D
with an estimated $4.3M giving Lionsgate $44.6M to date. Rounding out the top
ten was the fantasy adventure Inkheart
with an estimated $3.7M, down 51%, for a $12.8M total after ten days. The Warner
Bros. release should struggle to a $20-22M finish.

[rtimage]MapID=1196344&MapTypeID=2&photo=11&legacy=1[/rtimage]

Among Oscar nominees for Best Picture, Paramount’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
dropped down to eleventh place with an estimated $3.6M, off 41%, raising the
total to $116.5M – tops among the five contenders. Universal saw its political
drama Frost/Nixon
tumble 54% to an estimated $1.4M giving the pic a $14.3M cume. Per-theater
averages were unimpressive figures of $1,698 and $1,265, respectively.

The two remaining nominees for the Academy’s top honor both expanded and saw
sales increase although their averages were diluted down to weak levels. The Reader  widened
from 367 to 1,002 sites and grossed an estimated $2.4M, up 69% while Milk
expanded from 250 to 882 locations and collected an estimated $1.4M, up 60%.
That represented a $2,369 average and $12.6M sum for The Weinstein Co. release
and a $1,603 average and $23.4M tally for the Focus pic.

Other films trying to parlay Academy Award nominations into box office gold saw
mixed results this weekend. Revolutionary Road
which failed to score any nods for lead acting, writing, directing, or picture,
fell 49% to an estimated $2.7M giving Paramount Vantage $16M to date. Fox
Searchlight’s The Wrestler
starring nominees Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei took in an estimated $2.4M,
down 37%, for a $13.1M cume. Miramax expanded Doubt by 198 theaters and saw
sales slip only 6% to an estimated $801,000 upping the total to $27.9M. Averages
were $3,255 for Wrestler, $2,469 for Road, and $1,331 for Doubt.

[rtimage]MapID=1202047&MapTypeID=2&photo=14&legacy=1[/rtimage]

The top ten films grossed an estimated $96M which was up a scant 1% from last
year when Hannah Montana opened in the top spot with $31.1M; and up a
stellar 45% from 2007 when The Messengers debuted at number one with
$14.7M.

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