LOS ANGELES — Critics don’t like “Taken 2,” but Liam Neeson’s action sequel proved twice as popular as the original movie was.

According to studio estimates Sunday, “Taken 2″ led the box office with $ 50 million domestically over opening weekend. That’s double the haul for Neeson’s “Taken,” which took in $ 24.7 million in its U.S. debut in early 2009.

Released by 20th Century Fox, “Taken 2″ gave a big boost to Hollywood revenues, which have lagged most weekends since late summer.

Neeson returns as a retired CIA agent using his expert espionage and killing skills to take on a gang of thugs out for revenge against him and his family.

While the first movie got respectable reviews, “Taken 2″ was panned by critics as a replay of the original.


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