LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) - U.S. and Canadian filmgoers turned out for a third time to see Liam Neeson in his action movie franchise "Taken," which led box office charts over the weekend with $40.4 million ticket sales.
Civil rights film "Selma" finished in second place with $11.2 million from Friday through Sunday as the awards contender expanded to more theaters. Disney's film version of the dark Broadway musical "Into The Woods" came in third with $9.8 million, according to estimates from tracking firm Rentrak.
"Taken 3" stars Neeson as former CIA agent Bryan Mills, a role that has helped establish the 62-year-old as an action star. In the third installment, Mills is on the run after he is accused of a murder he didn't commit.
The movie opened far stronger than the $28 million forecast by Box Office Mojo. It cost $48 million to make.
"Selma" stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. in the story of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama for black voters' rights. The movie debuted in a limited number of theaters in December and expanded this weekend to nearly 2,200 locations.
20th Century Fox, the unit of 21st Century Fox, released "Taken 3." Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc , released "Selma." "Into the Woods" was distributed by Walt Disney Co..
Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud; Editing by Dominic Evans