1st LD Writethru: "The Marksman" tops North American box office in opening weekend

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Open Road's action thriller film "The Marksman" sprinted to the top of the North American box office in its opening weekend with an estimated 3.22 million U.S. dollars from 1,975 theaters between Friday and Sunday, according to studio figures collected by measurement firm Comscore.

Directed by Robert Lorenz and starring Liam Neeson, the film follows a hardened U.S. rancher living in an Arizona border town who helps an 11-year-old boy escape a Mexican drug cartel.

It's the second Liam Neeson movie released by Open Road during the COVID-19 pandemic after "Honest Thief" which opened last October and stayed atop the North American box office for two weeks.

"The Marksman" holds an approval rating of 33 percent based on 55 reviews to date on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.

"It's a universal truth that even in a depressed market lies opportunity. And there are plenty of people who want to go to the movies," Open Road boss Tom Ortenberg was quoted as saying by online news site Deadline Hollywood.

"Like Honest Thief, The Marksman has filled a void in the marketplace," he told the news site, adding that "there is a great thirst for product among consumers, and the opportunity is there."

According to Comscore, only 37 percent of North American theaters are currently open.

Warner Bros.' superheroine film "Wonder Woman 1984" slipped to the second place in its fourth weekend with 2.6 million dollars from 2,201 locations for a North American total of 35.8 million dollars.

The film with a reported cost of 200 million dollars is a sequel to 2017's "Wonder Woman." With director Patty Jenkins back at the helm and Gal Gadot returning in the title role, the film follows Diana Prince as she battles two formidable foes during the Cold War.

"Wonder Woman 1984" earned 5.2 million this weekend outside North America, pushing its international cume to 105.9 million dollars for a global tally of 141.7 million dollars. The film has grossed 166 million yuan (around 25.61 million U.S. dollars) after 31 days on the Chinese mainland, according to box office data compiled by Maoyan, a Chinese movie-ticketing and film data platform.

Universal Pictures and DreamWorks' animated adventure comedy film "The Croods: A New Age" came in third with 2.04 million dollars from 1,855 locations in its eighth weekend. The film has grossed 39.28 million dollars in North America to date.

Helmed by Joel Crawford in his feature directorial debut, the film with a reported budget of 65 million dollars features the voice talent of returning stars, including Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds.

The sequel to 2013's original film follows the prehistoric Crood family who sets off into the world in search of a safer place to live and meets another family that's a couple of steps above the Croods on the evolutionary ladder.

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