Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills in Taken 3
20th Century Fox
January 11, 2015 2:24 PM EST

While forecasts predicted Taken 3 would have a similar opening to the first in the trilogy, the Liam Neeson-led action flick went above and beyond that by bringing in an estimated $40.4 million this weekend — a number closer to Taken 2’s $49.5 million opening than Taken’s $24.7 million.

This number proves the power of a good old-fashioned action movie, a type of film that’s been absent from theaters in favor of Oscar bait as of late. And it proves the power of Neeson, an actor with definite pull — especially when it comes to this genre: he led both the previous Taken films, as well as last year’s Non-Stop, which brought in $222.8 million worldwide.

None of the weekend’s other films were able to match even a third of Taken 3’s take: the next highest grossing film was Selma, which expanded to over 2,000 locations this weekend, with $11.2 million.

As for the rest of the top five, Into the Woods crossed the $100 million mark this weekend and finished behind Selma with $9.8 million—and ahead of The Hobbit, which ended its box-office reign after three consecutive weeks on top. Unbroken kept a spot in the top five with $8.4 million, and joined Into the Woods in cracking the $100 million mark. (The films have been neck and neck since their Christmas Day openings.)

1. Taken 3$40.4 million
2. Selma$11.2 million
3. Into the Woods – $9.8 million
4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies$9.4 million
5. Unbroken – $8.4 million

Just outside the top five, The Imitation Game expanded to about 1,500 locations and brought in $7.6 million. The biopic will continue to expand, and will be getting more and more publicity as awards season progresses. (The Benedict Cumberbatch-led film is expected to nab multiple Oscar nominations come next week.) Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice also expanded this weekend and made $2.9 million in 645 locations.

Next weekend will bring some new challengers when Blackhat, Paddington and The Wedding Ringer all open wide. But the real one-to-watch might be American Sniper, the Bradley Cooper war film directed by Clint Eastwood. It averaged another impressive per-screen average this weekend ($138,750) and will expand to more than 3,000 screens next week.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

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