Entertainment & Arts

Liam Neeson's Unknown tops US box office

Frank Langella and Liam Neeson in Unknown
Image caption Liam Neeson, right, co-stars with Frost/Nixon actor Frank Langella in Unknown

Liam Neeson has proved himself as an action hero again after his thriller, Unknown, went straight to the top of the North American box office chart.

The film, which according to studio estimates took $21.8m (£13.4m) at the weekend, follows the success of his 2009 action hit Taken.

Another action story, I Am Number Four, starring Alex Pettyfer, was in second place with $19.5m (£12m).

Oscar-tipped the King's Speech, at six, topped the $100m (£61.6m) takings mark.

Unknown tells the tale of a botanist who comes out of a coma to find that another man has taken his identity.

Warner Bros' head of distribution, Dan Fellman, said Neeson was "the new man" when it came to action heroes.

"He's stepped up to the plate," he added.

"Put him in the right role and he's every man's action star."

Disney animated comedy Gnomeo and Juliet was third in the US and Canada box office with takings of $19.4m (£12m), while last week's Valentine weekend number one, Jennifer Aniston's Just Go With It, landed in fourth place with $18.2m (£11.2m).

Crime comedy Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son opened in fifth with $17m (£10.5m), followed by concert documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, with $13.6m (£8.4m).

Thriller The Roommate was at number eight, taking $4.1m (£2.5m), followed by The Eagle - which features British actor Jamie Bell, the star of Billy Elliot - at nine, which took $3.6m (£2.2m).

Romantic comedy No Strings Attached, starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher as friends who get intimate, was this week's number 10 with $3.1m (£1.9m).

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