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Liam Neeson has been criticized by the firearms company that provided the guns for Taken 3 for his comments about US gun laws.
PARA USA said it “regrets” working with Liam Neeson after he said the proliferation of guns in the US was a “disgrace”.
The company added that it would cut ties with the Taken franchise and urged other companies to do the same.
“There’s just too many… guns out there,” Liam Neeson told Dubai’s Gulf News last week.
“Especially in America.”
The actor continued: “I think the population is like, 320 million? There’s over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America.
“I think it’s a disgrace. Every week now we’re picking up a newspaper and seeing, <<Yet another few kids have been killed in schools>>.”
Liam Neeson made his comments in reply to a question about the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris earlier in the month.
The star, who has took on the role of ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills in all three Taken films, said the gun problem was not connected to Hollywood’s action movies.
“I grew up watching cowboy movies, loved doing that [gun gesture] with my fingers, <<Bang, bang, you’re dead!>> I didn’t end up a killer,” he said.
“A character like Bryan Mills going out with guns and taking revenge: it’s fantasy.”
PARA USA said Liam Neeson’s comments reflected a “cultural and factual ignorance that undermines support of the Second Amendment and American liberties”.
The company wrote on its Facebook page: “We will no longer provide firearms for use in films starring Liam Neeson and ask that our friends and partners in Hollywood refrain from associating our brand and products with his projects.”
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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has been overtaken by Taken 3 at the top of the North American box office chart after spending three weeks in the top spot.
Liam Neeson’s thriller sequel took $40.4 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates.
Civil rights drama Selma came second with $11.2 million. Disney’s Into the Woods was third with $9.7 million.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies dropped from first to fourth place, earning $9.4 million.
The Taken franchise has seen Liam Neeson, 62, become one of Hollywood’s most successful action heroes.
Liam Neeson plays a former CIA agent Bryan Mills, who has the famous line: “I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.”
The original Taken opened in 2009 with first weekend receipts of $24.7 million, while Taken 2 debuted in 2012 with $49.5 million.
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Thriller Non-Stop, in which Liam Neeson plays a federal air marshal, has topped the North American box office chart.
Liam Neeson’s character must stop a string of murders on an international flight.
The film took $30 million at US and Canadian cinemas between Friday and Sunday, according to studio estimates.
Non-Stop took $30 million at US and Canadian cinemas over the weekend
Son of God took $26.5 million to reach second place. The film is adapted from the History Channel’s mini-series The Bible, about the life of Jesus.
The film, which surpassed box office predictions, stars Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado as Jesus and was made by reality TV producer Mark Burnett.
The success of Non-Stop and Son of God pushed The Lego Movie down to third place after three weeks in the top spot.
The Lego Movie made $21 million over the weekend, taking its North American box office total to $209 million.
George Clooney’s World War II drama The Monuments Men was a distant fourth, earning $5 million.
The Monuments Men was followed by 3 Days to Kill, in which Kevin Costner plays an over-the-hill international spy, which took $4.9 million.
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Liam Neeson new movie Taken 2 has narrowly beaten Ben Affleck’s thriller Argo to stay top of the North American box office.
Taken 2 took $22.5 million according to early estimates, with Argo making $20.1 million.
Ethan Hawke’s Sinister, a supernatural horror about a crime writer, debuted at number three with $18.3 million.
Taken 2 has not been a big hit with the critics, while Argo is already creating Oscar buzz.
Some critics described Taken 2 as just a replay of the original.
Liam Neeson plays an ex-CIA agent who travels across Europe to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped on a trip to Paris.
“It kind of proves that reviews do not matter,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box office tracker Hollywood.com.
“Audiences just continue to eat this up. They just love Liam Neeson in this role.”
Ben Affleck directs and stars in Argo, based on a real-life story about a CIA operative who hatches a plan to rescue six Americans hiding in Tehran after the 1979 US embassy takeover.
Revenues from the film increased by 47% between Friday – its opening day – and Saturday.
“This is a really good indication of how quickly word of mouth can spread,” said Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner Bros.
“The critical acclaim in this case is going to translate into commercial success.”
Family comedy Hotel Transylvania and Kevin James comedy Here Comes the Boom rounded out the top five.
NORTH AMERICAN BOX OFFICE
1. Taken 2 – $22.5 million
2. Argo – $20.1 million
3. Sinister – $18.3 million
4. Hotel Transylvania – $17.3 million
5. Here Comes the Boom – $12 million
Taken 2, Liam Neeson’s thriller sequel, has topped the US and Canadian box office, taking $50 million, despite a poor reception from critics.
That is double the opening weekend for the original film, which took $24.7 million in 2009.
Last week’s number one, Adam Sandler animation Hotel Transylvania, was at two with $26.3 million.
Glee-style musical Pitch Perfect was in third with $14.7 million, following a limited release last week.
The movie stars Anna Kendrick as a college student trying to liven up her a cappella singing group.
Sci-fi thriller Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, fell from second-place to fourth with $12.2 million.
Tim Burton’s stop motion monster tale Frankenweenie opened in fifth place, taking $11.5 million, after facing competition from rival spooky animation Hotel Transylvania.
Burton’s Disney tale, about a boy who brings his dead dog back to life, is shot in black and white in a homage to classic horror movies.
This week marks another improvement to cinema takings in the US and Canada with totals of $138 million, up 45.5% on the same weekend last year.
Taken 2’s distributors 20th Century Fox said they were surprised by the film’s opening numbers after experiencing a “sluggish market” since the summer.
Chris Aronson from the company said it had “exceeded our expectations”, adding: “The come in at $50 million is really remarkable, and a testament to this character that Liam has created.”
The sequel sees Liam Neeson as a retired CIA agent who gets kidnapped on holiday in Istanbul.
“Most people go to the movies for a certain dose of escapism,” continued Chris Aronson.
“It doesn’t have to be high art. It doesn’t have to be serious and contemplative. They go to the movies to be entertained, and my gosh, that’s what this movie does.”
Despite its relatively modest opening, 2009’s original went on to take more than $227 million around the world, and turned its Irish star into a Hollywood action hero with roles in Clash of the Titans, The A-Team and The Grey.
US and Canada box office – Top Five
1. Taken 2 – $50 million
2. Hotel Transylvania – $26.3 million
3. Pitch Perfect – $14.7 million
4. Looper – $12.2 million
5. Frankenweenie – $11.5 million
Liam Neeson was more than happy show off his body to raise cash for cancer research.
The Northern Irish actor stripped down to just his briefs and get soaked for the good cause on the Ellen DeGeneres show yesterday.
Liam Neeson was given the option of boxers or briefs by the chat show host when he appeared on the hit daytime TV show.
And he had no hesitation in going for the more daring number, no doubt because he was attracted to the garment’s more vivid shade of pink.
Ellen DeGeneres told him: “You are setting the bar high. Whoever follows you.”
An audience member was duly pulled on stage to throw balls at a target while he would sit in his dressing gown in the gunk tank, with $10,000 going to cancer research if she was successful.
But Liam Neeson had no hesitation in raising the stakes, saying: “If I take this off does the 10 thousand become 20 thousand?”
Ellen DeGeneres replied: “I’ll make that happen if you take that off and go sit in that chair.”
But when the 60-year-old jokingly tried to squeeze out more cash by asking how much it would earn if he took off the briefs too, Ellen DeGeneres insisted he keep them on.
She said: “We get fined if you take those off. I mean, some people might enjoy it, but…”
When his time finally came, a mixture of cheers and guffaws came as he showed off his physique.
And the amusing visual illusion created when he sat down on the chair was not missed by Ellen DeGeneres.
She said: “Oh my god, if someone’s just tuning in you look naked in there.”
Within a few seconds the target had been hit, with the greedy show host making the vital winning throw, and Liam Neeson was duly drenchy.