UPDATE 1-Liam Neeson thriller 'Non-Stop' lifts off to lead box office

Sun Mar 2, 2014 1:47pm EST
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By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, March 2 (Reuters) - "Non-Stop", a thriller starring Liam Neeson as a U.S. air marshal trying to stop a string of murders on an international flight, collected $30 million in ticket sales to soar into the lead at the domestic box office.

It swept the week's other new film, "Son of God", into second place with $26.5 million in sales during a strong box office weekend which coincided with Sunday's bestowing of its annual Oscars, Hollywood's biggest night.

"Son of God" is based on "The Bible" television mini-series produced by "Survivor" producer Mark Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey.

"The Lego Movie", which led the box office for three consecutive weeks, was third in ticket sales at U.S. and Canadian theaters with $21 million, according to studio estimates compiled by tracking firm Rentrak.

"Non-Stop" is the latest film to feature Neeson in an action role, following his hit thriller "Taken 2" in 2012.

The voice of the 61-year-old Irish former amateur boxing champion is also featured in the animated "Lego Movie," which "stars" characters based on the colorful plastic toy blocks.

That has racked up nearly $210 million at the box office since its Feb. 7 release.   Continued...