Once upon a time, Liam Neeson was the king of pandemic-era cinema, becoming the first star to take top billing in two movies that both opened at the top of the domestic box office thanks to Honest Thief and The Marksman. However, now that crowds are returning in their droves to the multiplex, the veteran’s crown as the elder statesman of throat-punching looks to be drawing to an end.
It’s only been less than two months since the last Neeson vehicle arrived in theaters, with Blacklight debuting on February 11. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the single worst-reviewed film of his entire career, before it dropped out of the domestic Top 10 after only two weeks on the way to a paltry $15 million global haul on a $43 million budget.
This weekend’s Memory did at least fare marginally better with critics, but a 30% Rotten Tomatoes score is undeniably poor from talents the caliber of Neeson and Casino Royale director Martin Campbell. To rub further salt into the wounds, the forgettable thriller has opened to a minuscule $3.1 million to land on the charts in eighth place.
Having seen Honest Thief and The Marksman top the charts, with Blacklight and Memory now tanking on either side of The Ice Road generating strong viewing figures on Netflix, streaming might be the only way for Neeson to save face as an action hero, especially when he’s got at least four more projects of a similar ilk in various stages of production and/or development.