The first Taken grossed $226 million worldwide against a budget of only $25 million. Taken 2 brought in $376 million worldwide against a budget of $45 million. So it’s a no-brainer that 20th Century Fox is eager to get Taken 3 going as soon as possible. While Liam Neeson was hesitant to return for part two, his payday of $15 million was too hard to resist. For part three he’s been offered something in the vicinity of $20 million, as big a ‘take’ as any A-list movie star gets and the biggest paycheck of Neeson’s career.
Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, who collaborated on the first two films, have written a treatment for the third. Deals are being made with Maggie Grace, who played Neeson’s kidnapped daughter in the first two, and Famke Janssen who played his ex-wife. Part two’s director Oliver Megaton is rumored to be returning as well, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
Last year, Hollywood.com spoke with screenwriter Kamen who broke some story details on the third installment. He revealed that the format will be getting a change-up. In the first film, Neeson’s character’s daughter was kidnapped; in the second film he and his wife were kidnapped; but it doesn’t appear like anyone will be getting kidnapped in part three. Kamen says, “We’ve taken everyone we can take — it’s going to go in another direction. Should be interesting.” Sounds similar to the strategy that The Hangover Part III took. In that movie there was no hangover, in this movie no one gets taken.
After a long career of mostly somber dramas, Neeson has become an action hero at 61 years old. Although no one’s getting taken in Taken 3, I’m sure he’ll have to bust out those very particular set of skills in one way or another. Production is slated to begin in February of next year.