For those of us who have followed Liam Neeson’s career, and watched him cower before the likes of Judy Davis and Mia Farrow in Husbands And Wives, his late-career resurgence as a bankable action star is bemusing, heartening, and more than a little weird. But if there’s ever a sequel to The Expendables, Neeson has clearly earned his place next to the no-necked muscleheads of the day—and seems on his way to top billing. With Neeson in the lead, the mediocre Hitchcockian thriller Unknown topped the box office last weekend with a healthy $21.8 million. That was enough to squeak by I Am Number Four, a less kindly reviewed actioner that exists to line the pockets of cultural despots James Frey and Michael Bay. The week’s other opener, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son bowed in fifth with $17 million, a number that’s probably respectable enough to warrant another sequel, should its makers feel the greedy/sadistic impulse to make the magic happen a fourth time.
Not much action in limited release, though it should be noted that Black Swan passed the $100 million mark, a feat that seemed impossible to even the most generous of prognosticators. The ensemble comedy Cedar Rapids also looked good in expansion, taking $8,900 per screen on 102 screens; in the humor-starved market of Big Mommas, a wider release seems advisable.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.