The movie Non-Stop may not be nominated or win any Academy Awards next year but its producers may not care. It just powered to the number one spot at the box office this Academy Awards weekend with more than $30 million. Once again Liam Neeson is proving that he is a non-stop force at the box office.
Along with Neeson, the action thriller stars Julianna Moore and Lupita Nyong’o, who was recently nominated for 12 Years a Slave. Non-Stop bumped out last week’s number one movie The Lego Movie from the top spot. Ironically, Neeson is in that movie also as the voice of Bad Cop/Good Cop/Pa Cop.
Non-Stop is about an air marshal who is on a transatlantic flight and receives text messages from someone on board the flight who threatens to kill passengers unless the airline agrees to transfer $150 million into an offshore account.
While regarded as a serious dramatic actor, Neeson in recent years has become a major action thriller star and a magnet at the box office. He hit the action genre full throttle with the movie Taken in 2009 which grossed $24 million on its opening weekend and went on to gross $145 million in the U.S. alone. The sequel Taken 2 grossed $49 million when it opened in 2012 and finished with $140 million in the U.S.
Neeson, born in 1952 in Northern Ireland, began his career on the stage in the United Kingdom where he was spotted by Director John Boorman who cast him in the 1981 film Excalibur as Sir Gawain. Steven Spielberg chose Neeson to play Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List in 1993. That film won an Oscar for best picture and Neeson was nominated for best actor. He lost out to Tom Hanks who won for his performance in Philadelphia. Neeson had appeared in many serious films and on stage. Liam Neeson was not known during the first half of his career as a non-stop action star force at the box office.
The action part of Neeson’s career began with the surprise hit Taken in 2009, a tale of a retired CIA agent whose daughter is kidnapped in Paris to be sold into prostitution. In order to rescue her he turned into an unstoppable Terminator-like persona as the screen action was relentless. In addition to the Taken sequel, Neeson also starred in Class of the Titans in 2010, The A-Team in 2010, Unknown in 2011, The Grey in 2011, Battleship in 2012 and Wrath of the Titans in 2012. All grossed substanial money at the box office. As an action star Liam Neeson began proving that he is a non-stop force at the box office.
Upcoming, Neeson has a non-stop film schedule in front of him as he is set to star in more action films including Taken 3.
Other movies on Leeson’s future agenda include Silence, directed by Martin Scorcese about two Jesuit priests and their difficult task of going to Japan to spread Christianity; Run All Night, directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, about an aging hit-man taking on his former boss; A Million Ways to Die in the West, directed by Seth McFarlane, about a cowardly farmer and a notorious gunslinger; and Walk Among the Tombstones, directed by Scott Frank, about a private investigator who is hired by a drug lord to take revenge on his enemies. In a non-action role, Neeson is also voicing the character Mustafa in the upcoming animated film The Prophet, based on the classic book by Kahlil Gibran.
Neeson has also been in the news lately finally talking publicly about his personal tragedy. He was married to actress Natasha Richardson. In March 2009 Richardson died when she suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident at the Mont Tremblant Resort, north of Montreal.
He says his work provides a degree of therapy and he is able to immerse himself in it. Judging by this weekend’s box office results, Liam Neeson is proving once again that he currently a non-stop force at the box office.
By Jim McCullaugh