In 2008, Liam Neeson earned a reported $US1 million for his action-packed role as retired-but-still kicking CIA agent Bryan Mills in the surprise hit “Taken.”
In 2012, Neeson was reluctant to return to the role for “Taken 2,” but finally agreed after pocketing a reported $US10 million paycheck. A small fee for a film that has since gone on to gross $US376,141,306 worldwide on a $US45 million production budget.
And now, the 62-year-old actor will once again reprise his role for “Taken 3,” hitting theatres today.
In 2013, Deadline reported that Neeson was “closing a deal in the vicinity of $US20 million to reprise his role as Bryan Mills.” While the figure hasn’t been confirmed, it is likely based on the franchise’s success.
“Given the muscular box office of ‘Taken 2,’ agency sources think Neeson could command $US20 million-plus if he wanted to reprise the role — a mark once considered standard for big franchise roles but now reserved for the likes of Johnny Depp and Will Smith in the right projects,” noted The Hollywood Reporter.
In 2014, Neeson landed the No.7 spot on Forbes’ list of Highest Paid Actors — which is still small compared to Robert Downey Jr.’s $US50 million “Avengers” paycheck. Downey Jr.’s “Avengers” co-stars didn’t make quite as much, with Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, and Mark Ruffalo all reportedly earning between $US2-3 million with bonuses, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In addition to Neeson, “Taken 2” director Olivier Megaton also returns for the latest instalment .
Megaton is the man partially responsible for the huge box office grosses of “Taken 2,” earning $US50 million more than the orginal.
“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,” noted Deadline.
Now Neeson just needs to “take” down the negative reviews of the latest movie.