Whenever Liam Neeson stars in a film, it’s almost certain the film will be a success. However, things are a bit different this time around. According to Variety, Liam Neeson’s latest film Cold Pursuit didn’t have the widely successful opening weekend that was initially expected. In fact, it has been reported that Cold Pursuit has been deemed one of the lowest openings of Liam Neeson’s career.
The action vigilante film raked in a meager $10.9 million from 2,630 screens, earning far less than most of the box office predictions ranging from approximately $20 million to $30 million.
Reports have confirmed Liam Neeson hasn’t had such a poor performing film since the 1990 release of Darkman. Film critics are even speculating whether or not this could be the beginning of the end of Liam Neeson’s era, reports Vulture. While the film was expected to perform relatively well among moviegoers, the latest reports also speculate Liam Neeson’s controversial interview may have been a major factor in the film’s performance.
Last week, Liam Neeson made multiple appearances to promote Cold Pursuit. During his interview with the Independent, Liam recalled a time in his personal life where he could actually relate to the character he portrayed in the film.
He recounted when a close friend of his had reportedly been raped by a black male. Liam went on to admit the injustice done to his friend made him want to kill a black man. The actor also went a step further admitting there was a time when he actually roamed the streets wanting to just kill a random black person because of the disheartening assault on his friend. Although he admitted he was ashamed of his reaction, he openly discussed it.
“She handled the situation of the rape in the most extraordinary way,” he said. “But my immediate reaction was … I asked, did she know who it was? No. What color were they? She said it was a black person.” He continued, “I went up and down areas with a cosh, hoping I’d be approached by somebody – I’m ashamed to say that – and I did it for maybe a week, hoping some ‘black bastard’ would come out of a pub and have a go at me about something, you know? So that I could … kill him.”
Almost immediately after the interview was published, Liam Neeson’s words were dissected by social media users everywhere and the famed actor found himself at the center of heightened controversy. Many Liam Neeson fans vowed to cancel the veteran actor and refused to support his new film.
In wake of the heightened backlash over the statements, Liam Neeson quickly responded with a detailed explanation about his controversial comments. “I’m not a racist,” Liam Neeson said.
“If she’d have said an Irish, or a Scott, or a Brit, or a Lithuanian I know [it] would’ve had the same effect.”
With the statements published so close to the Cold Pursuit release date, it appears the actor’s attempt to explain the statements wasn’t enough to save the film.