EDITORIALS

Hey Fox - Why Are You Screwing Over Pierre Morel's Taken?!

by
December 23, 2008

Liam Neeson in Taken

The other night I finally watched Taken, a film we've been following for over a year. I still remember watching the first trailer a year ago and nearly falling out of my chair when Liam Neeson says, "I will find you. And I will kill you." At the time, Fox had scheduled Taken to hit theaters on September 19th this year. But sometime since then, they moved it all the way to January 30th. Now after finally seeing it, and confirming that it is an absolutely fantastic movie, I'm wondering why Fox is screwing over a potential hit. They're burying one of the best action movies of this year (and next) and I don't know why!

I'm not trying to make a prediction about its potential box office earnings, as it could still do very well on January 30th (considering Smokin' Aces made $36 million when it was released on the same weekend in 2007). However, everyone knows that January is a very bad time for movies and I'm already thinking Fox is just trying to dump this and get it off of their hands. I mean, they haven't done any marketing for it yet and it really doesn't seem like they care to support it at all. This would make sense if it were a bad movie or something that wasn't what everyone was thinking it was (e.g. Smokin' Aces or Cloverfield), but it's not!

Taken PosterBefore I go any further, I need to say how badass Taken was. We've debuted at least three trailers over the last year and it still had plenty more to offer overall. Not only does it deliver exactly what you want to see (yes, you get to see Liam Neeson kick the shit out of all of the kidnappers), but part of the way through it actually moves to an even greater level. There's a lot more to the story, right down to Neeson's relationship with his wife and daughter, that plays an integral part in the overall film. To put it simply, I loved the hell out of this movie, and I'm considering calling it one of my favorite movies of 2008 ... except that it didn't even come out this year.

One thing I obviously can't do is predict what audiences around the country will think of Taken in the end. However, every last person I've talked to has also said that they loved it. I usually only hear feedback like that on movies like The Dark Knight or Slumdog Millionaire or The Wrestler. To top it all off, the buzz that it was getting when we first debuted the trailer was tremendous. So I'm confused - why isn't Fox putting more effort into making this a big hit? And why are they dumping it in January? Make any argument you will, but moving a film to January almost always means they want to quickly dump it.

I'm sorry Fox, but I'm not going to let that happen. Which means they can probably sit back in their overstuffed office chairs and laugh as I've now become an unconditional promoter of their movie. To be honest, I don't really care, because if that helps turn this into a huge hit and gives Fox some extra money in their pockets, oh well. All I care about is making sure audiences get to see one of the best movies of both 2008 and 2009. It's that good. I won't call it a masterpiece or anything as brilliant as The Dark Knight, but it's simply a great story with awesome fights and great acting. What more can you ask for?

Oh right, how about a better release date, some studio support, and a strong marketing campaign. Is that too much to ask for? Well, because this is 20th Century Fox, unfortunately it is too much to ask for.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/uneak bret
    i loved it as well. Release it already!
  • nelson
    seen it too probably the best fox film in years
  • Angelo
    Man, this film has been out in Europe for a substantial amount of time now. I bet it's even close to getting on dvd around here. It's absolutely a bloody fine action film.
  • Nick
    I am also surprised it hasn't released yet, it's a good action movie filled with suspense and Liam Neeson pwning people left and right. It's nonstop action too after the plot has been laid out and his daughter gets kidnapped. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  • Pauline
    yeah it's a good movie , I am surprised the release date is so far away and in theaters, I've seen it on dvd already (it's been out for over a month in europe )
  • Fernando
    Here in Canada, bootleggers made a fortune with this film, you could get a copy for 4 dollars a couple months ago, and it's DVD quality. When this jewel hits theaters box office is gonna be crap cause everybody saw the film already. Fox made a big mistake here and the same is gonna happen for Warner Bros. moving Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince from November 2008 to July 2009, sooner or later a guy is gonna get a copy of the film and it's gonna rain HP copies everywhere.
  • Beetle
    yeh its been on torrents for ages
  • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
    #6 - A fact I didn't want to mention in the article, but obviously what's going to hurt it the most...
  • Darunia
    It's a great action movie, and i really don't understand why FOX is dismissing the movie, basically. The movie debuted in Europe a long time ago too.
  • Darunia
    Even more puzzling is how FOX decided to bet more on Max Payne, when they had Taken in the cards all along. FOX is being run by monkeys, pure and simple.
  • Peloquin
    @ 6...I definitely agree...This is probably why Fox isn't spending their money on a marketing campaign. Why bother when the movie's gonna flop anyway because it's been online for about a year now.
  • Curtis G
    Fox is garbage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been waiting to see this movie for so long! I won't watch it online because I want the full movie goer experience when I see this gem.
  • dee
    Are you kidding me, fox sucked it bad this year and it doesn't surprise me that they are putting this on the back burner. Their track record has been horrible and 2008 was a disatstrous year in itself. So they have a ptentinal hit and they don't know what to do with it right??? Hmmm, I guess they should go ahead and spend 35 million promoting The day the earth stood still only for this movie to flop as well. FOX needs to get a grip and market this film the right way!
  • Fernando
    I absolutely love the movie goer experience, nothing beats that, but when big Studios go stupid for no reason I don't mind watching a movie I'm dying to see as soon as possible even if once in a while a sign pops up saying "for award consideration only".
  • Pedro Lopes
    I guess FOX just didn't saw any potential and this movie... and now it's simply too late! I'm in Portugal, the movie is out of cinemas by now and I agree it's an awesome movie with Liam Neeson in is best at kicking ass (watch out Statham!) with the movie already "old" in Europe, FOX just doesn't care anymore...
  • Jorge Leiner
    I've been promoting this movie in almost every web page I've visited during the year. I had the chance of catching it months ago and just loved it. it's fast paced, well written and the action sequences are VERY well crafted, plus, you have some great cinematic moments of the "I will find you, and I will kill you" kind. As I said some weeks ago, imagine that Jason Bourne grew older, he has a daughter and she is kidnapped in Europe. You obviously expect that he would do some mess around trying to find her (and that mess includes tons of dead bodies, gallons of blood and some very very very fast israeli/martial arts/jedi/samurai/warrior/etc movements). Go and see it, whenever they release it. Don't feel sorry about the FOX f#$%ed up decisions, and focus on this: You have the opportunity of catch a GREAT movie, just around the corner of the year.
  • Itri
    Because FOX hates movies.
  • http://notyou.com Not You
    Because Taken is so bad. Seriously.
  • Peloquin
    @ 19...Please explain why it was "so bad"...I thought it was the most perfectly executed piece of action film making I've seen in a long time.
  • Jojo
    What an idiot you are Alex. Taken is not a good movie. Not at all. It is kinda cool. But aside from that kickass line an some nice action there is nothing in the movie. Making arabs villain in this movie is pathetic. Sorry it is a cheap movie and I don't think Liam Neeson is a boxoffice draw so it is getting what it deserves. January release. Oh and I am sure it will crack $30 million.
  • Peloquin
    Jojo...looks like you're in the minority in not liking this one so no need to single out Alex...This movie was fantastic...tight editing, great chase sequences, fantastic dialogue, and a very well written story. Please explain your issues with the film, but you are right in saying that it won't break 30 million. However, this has nothing to do with the quality of the movie; the piracy and marketing are what will kill this film's box office numbers.
  • Scott McHenry
    He said it will crack 30 million
  • Angelo
    I'm not in total agreement with Jojo (obviously, I thought it was fine action film), but with all the praise here you do get the feeling that you're dealing with something extraordinary here, which is just not the case. The story is quite cliché and the supporting acts are all very mediocre. Isn't this the case with pretty much all action-oriented flicks apart from the really great ones? Yes. So, no biggie.
  • http://img142.imageshack.us/img142/4120/sppunx06oa5.jpg Crapola
    Since watching Taken and living in Europe i never leave the house. It made Europe a scary place to be, I keep expecting to be kidnapped by Algerians, or some other ethnic stereotype. At the moment I'm saving up to move to America where it's much safer. Taken is entertaining, but it almost becomes comedic in its extreme violence and weird racism. It could almost have been a Steven Seagulls movie from 15 years ago. Liam Neeson is a good actor and doesn't have a ponytail, so I think that makes it a bit better, but the strange cheesy bits with Holly Vallance. It most definitely isn't a great story.
  • Peloquin
    To me it was a great example of a cliched concept being executed perfectly and with all the crappy action movies around lately, that was refreshing. Sometimes executing a simple concept well can work to your advantage rather than taking a risky concept and executing it poorly (ie Jumper).
  • Pickle
    This must be SOME film for most on this board to praise it like so. But, FOX is screwing with this one too. I'm just glad that WB is still releasing "Watchmen". That would have been a huge debacle. Back to "Taken", I'd love to see this one.
  • Darrin
    i saw this film. it was really good.
  • REAL6
    This movie was really good!!! FOX SUCKS Courtney's COX!!!!!!!
  • Smiffy1
    The movie was enjoyable but really not the work of art everyone's making it out to be. Good action, good story with some good lines and some pretty bad acting. I enjoyed it but it's not fantastic. 50/50 on rotten tomatoes which is probably about right.
  • carfonexdo
    was in cinemas in New Zealand TWO months ago, seen it AWESOME MOVIE, I will find you and I will kill you, yes sir!
  • Warren
    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant...........movie, cant really say anything more then that!!!!!!
  • http://www.aytemir.com Tschai
    Good movie. Maybe even great. But nothing more than that...
  • LastActionHero
    I just saw it too and its not THAT good, the concept has been done several times before. I dont get hooked by Neeson although I like him as an actor, this is strictly B grade stuff it'll do well on Dvd but not on theatres.
  • SmartGuy
    This movie looks fantastic. Fox is not smart. Liam Neeson is amazing. Please release it soon.
  • Agent X
    The majority of film critics in the UK hated it, but I thought it was a fun Saturday night movie. Nothing more. I enjoyed it.
  • Kayden
    @24 ^ It seemed to me that this movie was actually made specifically to mock the frame of mind that Americans are in, but maybe I'm reading too much into it. The obvious feeling that the main characters think America is some Utopian shelter from the big, bad foreign world outside of our borders, the "Arabs" as the chosen bad guys, it all seemed to be poking fun in a subtle, tactful sort of way. Or maybe that's just my guilty American conscience feeling sorry for the "New American Way". Perhaps this is why Fox is letting this one slide a little to the wayside? Subtle political satire aside, though, I was blown away by this movie. It was not a masterful work of cinematic art or anything, yet I finished the movie feeling like it had been. At the very least, I would say it's one of the top action films of all time, (yeah, I said it), right up there with The Bourne Ultimatum and some others I won't mention because I'm probably already digging my own grave in this blog. I distinctly remember saying to myself on more occasions than I care to count: "That was f***ing awesome" with great reverence. I also remember feeling fleeting moments of guilt, (very fleeting), as I cheered aloud, (literally), at Bryan's brutal, vengeful actions. I'm usually hesitant to encourage overt violence, but I will admit that I was silently and sometimes verbally telling Bryan to "give it to that mofo!" I was stationed in South Korea for a year where there is a considerable amount of human trafficking, which I saw with my own eyes. It was nothing like it was portrayed in this movie, but then I didn't delve into it that much. I just know it from a few of the things I saw while I was there, including that fact that my friend had to pay five thousand dollars to the owner of a bar there in order to marry a prostitute who worked there and to get her passport back which had been "confiscated" by that bar owner. Actually, what he did was buy the girl's contract...literally. Anyway, the point is I've seen with my own eyes that human trafficking is real, and I had no qualms with the way Bryan treated the baddens in this movie. Anyway, the last word that I breathed out of my mouth at the end of the climax of this movie was simply "cool". I didn't care much for the sentimentality of the beginning and end, but Liam Neeson, whom I have never cared for, is one real bad ass mofo in this movie. He's no Bourne, mind you, but he sure blew me away.
  • dee
    I think the movie was very very good. The ending needed work and the soundtrack was a bit too EURO. Other than that Liam kicked some major ass in this flick and the style was pretty good as well. As Americans we are very lax when it comes to travelling abroad. Good movie!!!!
  • sorr
    cant agree enough with u alex, this movie friggin rocked... i loved literally every part of this movie.. oh btw, when liam beats someones ass, he really hurts em.. this whole situation must have him pissed off a whole shit ton considering hes got big movies on the way.. abe lincoln too bad this movie got leaked so damn bad
  • Denny
    Cloverfield came out in January...
  • Conrad
    I saw this a long time ago and let me tell you the storyline is pretty basic, its not really in depth or anything. Its really simply written. The whole plot with the daughter being sold off in a foreign country was barely portrayed whatsoever. I barely got a chance to really feel for the daughters character while she was held captive. There is that quick shot of her turning around on a runway all dressed up for onlookers to choose from, but no real back story support there. The action was cool because it had to be cool. The rest of the movie was too weak to flow off of. SPOILERS: Liam Neeson was roughing up the kidnappers like it was nobody's business, but with his capabilities I would've rather seen his abilities to have been used for a different cause rather than just bullshit kidnappers. I don't care how pissed off you are, you never shoot a guy whose using your daughter a human shield - in the head.
  • Suresh
    Hey Alex... You are right.. This movie is one of the best thriller I seen in long time.. you are right about Fox ruining this movie.. I can get dvds of it here in good quality.. I thought its old movie.. I was bit sleepy when I play this movie.. in the next 15 mins I was glued to the screen.. Its real thriller and the action is so much better.. In the end I regret that I could have seen this movie in the FUCKING THEATRE... FOX is definately loosing their money from this movie every day.. till they release it.. But this should do atleast 100 million $ at box office.. If not.. its so unfair for this movie.. I blame you FUCKING FOX..
  • Eric
    I just watched the trailer... HOLY shit it gave me chills. It's a good thing I found out about this movie only recently :).
  • Lycan22
    Awesome film! I'm not sure as to why but in Australia, they relased this film in August of 08' & its just been recently released to DVD in Aus. Why is the U.S getting it so late?
  • http://evilnik.blog.com evilnik
    i saw the movie on dvd day before yesterday... and saw it again yesterday, cos it was jus fc*king awesome... simple and straight forward plot, but made me sit at the edge of the seat.... neeson is extremely underrated... if you think you neeson gave his best performance ever as Schindler, he just became one not to be messed with badass in recent times.... question but a BIG SPOLIER: just wanted to know after all mess, how neeson got away from the country... esp after him dissing off the french secret service guy/ friend..... ?
  • http://www.metricktraining.com Mr. Web Based Training
    Sometimes I wonder if there is someone high up at Fox that is being paid big bucks (by another company) to bring the company down. Anyone remember what almost happened with Titanic. The movie nearly bankrupted them. The budget sprialed out of control, and was only made profitable by all those pre-teen girls that saw the movie upward of 50 times in theaters. Kind of wish the tactic had worked. Maybe Fox "news" would be gone with it.
  • juvserr
    This movie can be bought anywhere in NYC for $5 - their are copies all over the place.. Run of the mill kidnap and rescue, enhanced by Neeson's performance - think would have been a hit, except for really bone headed marketing.. Shows yet again that studio executives are morons..
  • http://www.galaxykid.blogspot.com Johnny Neat
    Saw it a while back and I agree with you a bit on this one Alex, Taken was a solid action movie. Starts off seriously real which I was digging more than how it ends as the final chapter of the movie falls into action man ESP territory. All in all, it was hard core fun of the Professional kind and that isn't bad.
  • gooso
    i couldn't agree with you more. i thought it was interesting and "eh" from the marketing, so i downloaded it, yeah i know, "im bad". and having watched it i felt cheated and really really bad i could one experience it in a theater and two have paid for its due. none the less, it surprised the hell out of me. if anyone hasnt seen it yet. WATCH IT!
  • CabbageFanClub
    It was a badass movie, hugely entertaining in a Transporter type of way but not what critics would descibe as a "good movie". Take The Wrestler, for example. Brilliant movie, fantastic performances & well received by critics but I would watch Taken again before I watch The Wrestler. Here in the UK the DVD is released on the 9th Feb as an extended, unrated, directors, badass, harder cut of the movie. Maybe to temp those who downloaded it to part with their money by playing on the movies strengths.
  • http://www.atomicpopcorn.net/ Atomic Popcorn
    Seriously all, you think this movie was good? It was a Steven Seagal movie with higher paid actors. Nothing about this movie was entertaining beyond the fights. Glad I didn't pay to see this one.
  • http://www.galaxykid.blogspot.com Johnny Neat
    @Atomic Popcorn, you're too harsh. This isn't an awards movie, an actors' showcase or even a Citizen Kane level picture, it's a plain old action/thriller at best for crying out loud. You got the higher paid actor part down though and they wouldn't pay to see it in theaters but still fun nonetheless.
  • vegasdanny
    Taken is out to buy on Blu Ray and Dvd in the Uk in 2 weeks time......so i suggest anyone in the US to just order it online....fantastic old school action film!!
  • chris chilton
    PG-13? I was surprised of the rating on this recently, Haven't seen the film but it looks pretty violent, I guess torture is PG-13 now? Or could it be that FOX has cut some of the violence to make it PG-13 like they usually do, and can we expect a un-rated version on DVD?
  • http://www.getthebigpicture.net Colin Boyd
    Don't know how Fox is screwing this movie over, exactly. It's getting massive advertising for a January flick, with great commercials on the air for three solid weeks, it opens against nothing, and it's debuting in 3,000 theaters. Considering the film has already made over $70 million worldwide and this will be the only adult action movie/thriller in theaters at the end of January, it sounds to me like they actually got this one right. We'll see how it does, but I know people from 18 - 65 who have asked me when I'm seeing it just based on the commercials that have aired in the NFL playoffs. I don't know why you were railing the studio in late December, Alex, for not promoting a movie that wouldn't come out for another 35 days, especially when they're in the middle of Oscar season. Why waste the money when every other studio is aggressively pushing movies already in theaters? It's why I think Dreamworks is throwing away millions on the Super Bowl for Monsters vs. Aliens: Wrong audience, too far away from the release date. But Taken will be here this weekend and it will probably do very well. So again, I'm not sure how this is getting the shaft.
  • http://www.rebeccasite.com Rebecca
    Ummmmmm........It got the rights, I think.
  • http://arcadeteamgo.com Moses Roberts
    Hey Alex, I completely agree with you. This is one of the best action films I've seen in a while. I enjoyed this moreso than I enjoyed Quantum of Solace. It's just baffling as to how Fox can pass up on not only a cash cow, but at the very least, an amazing film that will probably build a following for both the series, and it's creators, Neeson included (as if he doesn't have one already). I'm joining the campaign to spread the word. Keep up the good work good sir!
  • Link1983
    WOW, Not only is this film one of THE best revenge movies. I really hope this is a huge success in the states as I feel it didn't get the recognition it desreves here in the uk. It was released on dvd and blu-ray here on the 23rd of January. Please make this movie successful it deserves it. Even if you have already seen it, make up for watching it illegally and go to your theatre. I did and it was one the best films of 2008!
  • anjas
    Friends in US, let see the movie in theater near you. it great classic action don't talk much and we are sympahty what happend in Liam Neeson. You will do anything to save your daughter from trafficking. Don't bother even is already in DVD or torrent. just go theater.. :)
  • Fushar
    I agree with #23... this movie was fine and entertaining but it wasnt sooo great as Alex make it sound. I would give it a 6.5/7 out of 10
  • Fernando
    The US release date for Taken was probably delayed for a variety of reasons. The movie reminded me of a snuff film: a very disturbing subject that is not made for a mainstream audience. It also had more than a few flaws and would have benefitted from a rewrite of scenes that just looked ridiculous. The scene in which Liam negotiates with the human trafficers in the kitchen was certainly farfetched. How could they to believe that he was an official from the french authorities? I suppose anything is possible when realism is not the objective.
  • Fernando
    The US release date for Taken was probably delayed for a variety of reasons. The movie reminded me of a snuff film: a very disturbing subject that is not made for a mainstream audience. It also had more than a few flaws and would have benefitted from a rewrite of scenes that just looked ridiculous. The scene in which Liam negotiates with the human trafficers in the kitchen was certainly farfetched. How could they believe that he was an official from the french authorities? I suppose anything is possible when realism is not the objective.
  • http://xanga.com/ProfessorTom Professor Tom
    Despite the praise that Taken had been given by sites such as firstshowing.net.... (Link)
  • Dino
    Saw this over the weekend and laughed my head off. I need to watch it again to do a body count. Seriously, this is a comedy not an action thriller! But it is fine comedy. As for seeing Neeson in a hard man role I laughed some more!!!
  • http://xanga.com/ProfessorTom Professor Tom
    @63: Did you laugh during Batman Begins too?
  • Niko
    Well, you were wrong Alex. The flick was a hit.
  • Carlos Ortiz
    Truly Amazing! What a fine job in movie making. Just viewed "Taken". The best movie of this kind in a long time. Tomorrow I will add this one to my library and see what other works Pierre Morel has done.

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