Neeson’s ‘Unknown’ leads long weekend with $25.5 mn

Los Angeles: Liam Neeson gave British heartthrob Alex Pettyfer a run for his money, with the veteran actor`s thriller ‘Unknown’ topping North America`s Box Office holiday weekend, figures showed Tuesday.

‘Unknown’ earned USD 21.9 million for the weekend leading up to the Presidents Day holiday on Monday -- or USD 25.5 million including the extra weekend day -- following in the footsteps of Neeson`s last action hit, 2009`s ‘Taken.’

Leeson stars as a botanist who awakens after a car crash in Berlin to find his wife claiming she does not known him and that another man has taken his identity.

Sci-fi action flick ‘I Am Number Four,’ came second with Alex Pettyfer as a teenaged alien refugee hiding on Earth from evil invaders who killed his family. Critics had expected it to come in first, but the film netted just USD 19.5 million -- USD 22.8 million including Monday -- despite the anticipation.

The animated ‘Gnomeo and Juliet’ held on to third place, with USD 19.2 million, or USD 25.4 million over four days. The family-friendly Shakespeare retelling features the voices of James McAvoy and Emily Blunt, and Elton John`s music.

In the fourth spot was last week`s winner, ‘Just Go With It’ starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. The romantic comedy cashed USD 18.5 million, or USD 21.6 million with the extra day.

The weekend`s other major new release -- Martin Lawrence`s ‘Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son’ comedy -- came in fifth with USD 16.3 million, USD 18.7 million including Monday.

In sixth was Justin Bieber`s ‘Never Say Never,’ with USD 13.3 million, or USD 16.4 million. The concert documentary tells the story of the boy`s rise from a small town in Canada to superstardom -- and he doesn`t turn 17 until next month.

Still basking in its awards glory ahead of the Academy Awards next week, critically acclaimed ‘The King`s Speech’ took USD 6.5 million in the seventh spot, or USD 8.1 million with Monday, bringing its 13-week total to USD 104.8 million.

The British historical drama has been nominated for 12 Oscars and already scooped up wins at other award ceremonies in the United States and Europe.

Dropping into eighth place was widely panned horror flick ‘The Roommate’ with USD 3.9 million ahead of gladiator pic ‘The Eagle’ starring Channing Tatum and earning USD 3.6 million. The movies` takings including Monday were USD 4.5 and 4.3 million.

Rounding out the top 10 was ‘No Strings Attached,’ a romantic romp starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. The Ivan Reitman film about casual sex between friends took in USD 3.1 million, USD 3.6 million including Presidents Day.

Bureau Report

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