“Taken 2″ grabs Movie Box Office Crown!

Liam Neeson thriller “Taken 2″ captured the No. 1 spot on movie box office charts over the weekend with a brawny $50 million take from theaters in the United States and Canada.

“Taken 2″ stars Neeson as a former CIA agent kidnapped during a vacation in Istanbul. The movie added $55 million from some 50 international markets for a global opening of $117 million including Korea where it opened earlier, distributor 20th Century Fox said.

The strong debut for “Taken 2″ pushed last weekend’s winner, family flick “Hotel Transylvania,” to second place. The movie about a hotel run by Dracula earned $26.3 million from Friday through Sunday, according to studio estimates compiled by Reuters. Comedy “Pitch Perfect” snagged the No. 3 slot with $14.7 million.

North American (U.S. and Canadian) sales for “Taken 2″ were more than double the original film’s, which opened in January 2009 with $24.7 million and ultimately grossed a surprising $227 million around the world. The movie lifted Neeson to the ranks of Hollywood action stars, leading to roles in movies such as “Clash of the Titans” and “The Grey.”

“This so exceeded our expectations going in,” said Chris Aronson, executive vice president of domestic distribution at 20th Century Fox, noting that Fox had anticipated something “in the mid-30s range” after what he called a “sluggish market” since the summer.

“The come in at $50 million is really remarkable, and a testament to this character that Liam has created,” Aronson told Reuters.

The executive noted that the audience was almost evenly split male-female, and also played strongly across age groups, with more than half over the age of 25.

Fox co-financed the film with Europa Corp, the company run by “Taken” writer and director Luc Besson, and contributed $36 million to its budget, Aronson said. Reports have put the total budget at about $50 million.

“Hotel Transylvania” won the weekend battle for pre-Halloween family filmgoers, leaving new Walt Disney Co movie “Frankenweenie” in fifth place. Through two weekends, “Transylvania” has grossed $76 million in the domestic market.

“Pitch Perfect,” about a college all-girls singing group moved up the charts as it expanded nationwide following an impressive limited opening last weekend. The movie stars Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow.

“There’s a lot to be said about this little engine that could,” said Nikki Rocco, president of domestic distribution for Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp, noting that the film only cost $17 million.

“It’s on the road to very nice profitability for Universal,” she said, adding that the studio expected “word of mouth, which we know is great” would help the film develop legs beyond its core, targeted audience, which, Rocco said, “loves it.”

Rounding out the charts, time-travel movie “Looper” earned fourth place with $12.2 million domestically. Sales for the movie starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt reached $40.3 million for the two-week run.

Disney’s “Frankenweenie” grossed $11.5 million at domestic theaters. The black-and-white stop-motion film directed by Tim Burton tells the story of a boy who brings his beloved dog back to life using Frankenstein-like science. The movie cost $39 million to produce.

News Corp’s 20th Century Fox studio distributed “Taken 2.” Sony Corp’s film studio released “Hotel Transylvania” and “Looper.” “Pitch Perfect” was distributed by Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast Corp.

The Statue of Our Lady of Maritim “Lady of the Sea” in Jbeil is bleeding! (Updated)

According to National News Agency that the right eye of the Statue of Our Lady of Maritim in Jbeil Lebanon (Our Lady of the Sea) shed tears of blood and that her neck bleeding as well. Church committee is investigating this phenomenon .

الوكالة الوطنية للاعلام: ان العين اليمنى لتمثال سيدة ماريتيم في جبيل (سيدة البحار) تذرف دموعا من الدم وان عنقها ينزف دما ايضا.وقد حضرت لجنة كنسية للتحقق من الظاهرة

UPDATE:

The church committee issued a report today: This phenomenon is due to natural forces since the statue is facing the sea, and this has nothing to do with Miracles.

After naked Harry, come Kate’s topless photos!

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s topless photographs are going to be published by a French magazine, a move that comes close on the heels of her brother-in-law Prince Harry’s naked photo scandal.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are said to be “saddened” by claims made by a French magazine that it will publish topless photographs of Kate Middleton, reported The Sun.

The photographs were taken last week while she was sunbathing by a swimming pool with her husband Prince William at a chateau in Provence, France. They were at Chateau d’Autet in Luberon, a secluded, picturesque hunting lodge.

Closer magazine has posted a pixelated version online showing Kate in a bikini and William in a pair of shorts.

Underneath it said: “See incredible pictures of the future Queen of England as you’ve never seen her… and as you will never see her again!”

The magazine’s editor Laurence Pieau was quoted as saying that the pictures showed Kate “fully topless”.

“Harry is going to feel a lot less alone.”

The snaps are said to show William and Kate, both 30, rubbing sun cream on their bodies by the pool, The Sun reported.

The blurb of the magazine said: “Kate was perfecting her tan. And to avoid streaky tan marks, she took off her bathing suit.”

Just last month, the royal family was hit by the scandal of photographs that showed a naked Prince Harry.

Prince Harry had become naked after a game of strip billiards, hugged a naked woman, and showed his bare bottom to the camera while spending a raucous holiday in Las Vegas.