Liam Neeson movie The Grey tops US box office

Liam Neeson with Nonso Anozie in The Grey Liam Neeson said filming was "unbearably cold" and that the camera equipment occasionally seized up

Action movie The Grey, starring Liam Neeson as a survivor of an aeroplane crash, has gone straight to the top of the North American box office chart.

The film took $20m (£13m) between Friday and Sunday, according to industry estimates.

Neeson leads a group of survivors battling harsh weather and a pack of wolves in the Alaskan wilderness.

Underworld: Awakening was knocked down to second place, having taken $12.5m (£8m) over the same period.

Katherine Heigl's new comedy One for the Money, based on the novel by Janet Evanovich, finished in third place with $11.8m (£7.5m).

Oscar contenders Hugo, The Artist and The Descendants all enjoyed a box office boost after their nominations were announced last Tuesday.

Takings for George Clooney's The Descendants - $6.6m (£4.2m) - jumped 176% compared with last weekend, while The Artist increased by 40% to $3.3m (£2.1m).

Martin Scorsese's Hugo, which leads the Oscar race with 11 nominations, jumped 143% with weekend takings of $2.3m (£1.5m).

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