How do you measure true star power in an entertainment market that's heavily driven by intellectual property and popular brands? Well, what if an actor's face is enough to get people to check out a movie they've probably never heard of, in spite of bad reviews? If that's the definition, then congratulations are in order to Liam Neeson, whose 2021 flop The Marksman is burning up the charts over on Netflix this week, sitting at #7 on the worldwide chart, down from #6 earlier in the week, in spite of having made only about $22 million when it was in theaters back in January. And it did it without being available to stream in the U.S. yet.
For context, that's the same amount Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings made in its third weekend at the U.S. box office. The market between January and now has changed a lot since then, though. It's worth noting this movie took the top spot at the box office in its opening weekend. So it may have had some dreadful reviews -- but it did have Liam Neeson and Katheryn Winnick going for it, and the fans who did manage to turn out for it seem to have enjoyed it well enough.
In The Marksman, Jim (Neeson) is a former Marine who lives a solitary life as a rancher along the Arizona-Mexican border. But his peaceful existence soon comes crashing down when he tries to protect a boy (Jacob Perez) on the run from members of a vicious cartel.
That puts it right in line with other recent actioners like Sicario and Rambo: Last Blood, which have leaned hard into American audience's fear of drug cartels, generally depicted as the Mafia, but with less cool, sexy allure and more violence and blood.
The Marksman is sitting in a top ten that also includes Kate, Nightbooks, Man on Fire, Schumacher, The Stronghold, The Father Who Moves Mountains, Prey, Bohemian Rhapsody, and The Equalizer 2.
(Talk about star power! two of the four top-ten movies that aren't Netflix originals star Denzel Washington, and neither of them came out anytime recently.)
In the U.S., The Marksman is currently available to stream for free for Epix users (or you can access it on the Epix channel via Amazon Prime Video).
Have you seen The Marksman? How does it hold up? Sound off in the comments, or hit up @russburlingame on Twitter to talk all things comics and movies.