Liam Neeson’s ‘Retribution’ Drives to Disappointing $3.3 Million Debut at Box Office

Retribution (Credit: Lionsgate)

Retribution, a new action thriller with Liam Neeson in the driver’s seat, failed to drive up much interest at the weekend box office.

The Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate film opened in eighth place, after bringing in an estimated $3.3 million, Comscore reported.

Neeson stars as a successful businessman taking his kids to school, when he receives a call saying there’s a pressure-sensitive bomb under his seat. He’s warned the device will detonate if he gets out of the car before completing a disturbing set of tasks.

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The cast also includes Noma Dumezweni, Lilly Aspell, Jack Champion, Arian Moayed, Embeth Davidtz, and Matthew Modine.

The film played in 1,750 locations across the U.S. and Canada, and earned a per theater average of $1,913.

It rang up $1.3 million on Friday, $1.08 million on Saturday and a projected $975,000 on Sunday.

In comparison to the film’s $3.3 million tally, sports action drama Gran Turismo: Based on a True Story opened in the top spot with $17.3 million, while Barbie came in a very close second place with $17.1 million in its sixth week of release.

Moviegoers who saw Retribution weren’t impressed and gave the film a disappointing “C” CinemaScore.

Meanwhile, critics pummeled the action flick, handing it a dismal 30 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Arizona Republic reviewer Amanda Luberto described the thriller as “formulaic and obvious.”

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two out of four stars, saying it was “slowed by ludicrous dialogue and obvious plot turns.”

Travis Hopson of Punch Drunk Critics wrote, “With Neeson’s latest, Retribution, he finally gives up in a tired thriller that barely asks him to do more than fasten his seat belt.”

Still, Bilge Ebiri of New York Magazine/Vulture, said the film had some redeeming qualities.

“This is a paycheck movie, to be sure, the kind of direct-to-video title that gets a theatrical release because the lead actor still has star power. But he and his director have earned that paycheck,” Ebiri wrote.

Directed by Nimród Antal and written by Chris Salmanpour, Retribution had a reported production budget of $20 million.

The film is a remake of Speed-like 2015 Spanish thriller El Desconocido (The Stranger).