Neeson film makes $11m at US box office

Liam Neeson in Cold PursuitImage copyright

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Neeson has drug dealers in his sights in his latest snowbound thriller

Liam Neeson’s recent race row did not appear to have a big impact on his new film’s box office takings this weekend.

Cold Pursuit was the third most popular film in US and Canadian cinemas, making $10.8m (£8.4m) between Friday and Sunday, according to studio estimates.

The revenge drama’s opening weekend takings were slightly below those for his other recent action thrillers.

The 66-year-old actor came under fire last week after admitting he once wanted to kill a random black man.

In an interview with The Independent, Neeson revealed that he had roamed the streets many years ago hoping take out his anger on an innocent black person after learning that someone close to him had been raped by a black man.

Director Spike Lee was among many to criticise the actor for his remarks, telling the BBC that he “didn’t know why he did it”.

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Media captionSpike Lee on Liam Neeson racism row: ‘It’s bad all around’

“People have to understand history,” the US film-maker said on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

“Who knows how many innocent black men have been murdered, castrated, lynched or harmed, or spent time in jail, only because a white woman said that black man raped her.”

Cold Pursuit, in which Neeson plays a snowplough driver who takes revenge against the drug dealers he blames for his son’s death, opens in the UK on 22 February.

The film is a remake of 2014 Norwegian film Kraftidioten (Prize Idiot), which was released in the UK as In Order of Disappearance.

Neeson’s biggest recent box office successes have been the Taken films – but in the last few years, his other action thrillers have had opening weekends around $11m-$14m.

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Media captionListen to the comments that sparked the outrage

North American opening weekend takings for Neeson’s latest action thrillers:

  • Widows (2018) – $12.3m
  • The Commuter (2018) – $13.7m
  • Run All Night (2015) – $11m
  • Taken 3 (2015) – $39.2m
  • A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014) – $12.8m

The Lego Movie 2 was the overall winner at the US box office this weekend, making an estimated $34.4m (£26.6m) in its first three days in cinemas.

Yet that was well below expectations for a film whose 2014 predecessor made $69m (£53.4m) when it opened in the US and Canada.

What Men Want, a gender-swapped remake of 2000 film What Women Want, starring Taraji P Henson, came second in the weekend’s box office chart with an estimated $19m (£14.7m).

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