The domestic box office continued to bring news as 20th Century Fox's Taken 2 earned $1.5 million in Thursday midnight runs, the best showing since The Dark Knight Rises.
Returning Liam Neeson in the title role, the sequel is on track to gross in the $35 million range or better for the weekend, easily enough to top the chart.
Taken 2 opens almost two years after Taken transformed into a sleeper box-office hit, revitalizing Neeson's career and grossing $226.8 million worldwide after opening domestically to $24.7 million in early January 2009.
Taken 2 also returns Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen as the daughter and ex-wife of Neeson's character, Bryan Mills. This time out, the story is set in Istanbul, where Janssen's character is kidnapped and the daughter goes on the run. Luc Besson reteamed with Robert Mark Kamen to write the script, while Olivier Megaton replaces Pierre Morel in the director's chair.
Fox -- which only distributed Taken -- made Taken 2 with Besson's EuropaCorp and also has worldwide rights. The sequel opens day-and-date in more than 25 markets.
Dark Knight Rises grossed north of $30 miillion in midnight runs.