Liam Neeson’s Cold Pursuit flops at box office amid controversy

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Liam Neeson’s latest has received a rather icy reception at the box office.

The actor’s revenge thriller Cold Pursuit earned only $10.8 million in theaters for its opening weekend.

That’s one of Neeson’s worst opening weekends ever, arguably his lowest for a modern action movie since 1990’s Darkman (1995’s historical drama Rob Roy also opened lower).

Cold Pursuit is a big step down from Taken 3, which opened to $39 million in 2015. But its performance isn’t all that different from the opening of his last action movie, 2018’s The Commuter ($14 million) — though Cold Pursuit received far better reviews (it’s currently at 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) and so, one would think, would perform better.

What’s unclear is what impact Neeson’s current controversy might have had on the film’s success. The actor made worldwide headlines last week after he confessed in an interview to, many years ago, taking walking excursions while carrying a blunt weapon hoping to be attacked by a black man so he could “kill him” in revenge for a loved one’s rape. The admission has resulted in the actor being accused of being racist, which he denies.

The weekend’s box office was topped by The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part which brought in $35 million. What Men Want was in second place and Cold Pursuit opened in third. Cold Pursuit follows a snowplow operator (Neeson) who becomes consumed by revenge when his son is murdered by a local drug cartel. Laura Dern, Emmy Rossum, and William Forsythe also star.

Neeson next has a supporting role coming up in Men in Black: International, which opens June 14.

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