The Taken franchise may have grabbed hold of Liam Neeson and not let him go, but don't feel too bad for the 61-year-old actor, even if you think he can make better movies: Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. reported last night that Neeeson will pull in around $20 million for the third installment. It's just the latest case of an actor having a late-career revival that brings in the big bucks for some serious butt-kicking.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Neeson only got paid in the $1 million range for the first Taken in 2008, wherein he starred as ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills tasked with rescuing his teenage daughter. Neeson was, according to Fleming, reluctant to sign on board for the first sequel, but $15 million wooed him. The sequel made an worldwide gross of around $376 million, besting the $226 million gross of the first, despite getting weaker reviews. Taken is at 58-percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, Taken 2 is at 21-percent fresh. "But when the sequel does better than the original at the box office, and doesn't cost that much more, of course they will try for the trifecta," Fleming wrote. "The key has been getting Neeson. Remarkable that the former boxer will make more money than he has ever in his long career, and that he has grown into one of the most bankable action stars in the business."