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‘Non-Stop’ soars above competition at theaters

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LOS ANGELES – Liam Neeson has grounded “The Lego Movie.”

The action star’s airliner thriller “Non-Stop” arrived in first place at the weekend box office, effectively ending the Warner Bros. animated film’s three-week blockade at the top spot. The Universal film stars Neeson as a federal air marshal on a doomed flight. “Non-Stop” ascended in its first weekend with $30 million, according to studio estimates.

“I think the fact that audiences were ready for a suspense thriller has a lot to do with the film’s success, and obviously Liam is an absolute box office draw,” said Nikki Rocco, head of distribution for Universal.

Fox’s “Son of God” debuted closely behind “Non-Stop” in second place with $26.5 million. The film recounts the story of Jesus’ life using footage from the production of History Channel’s 10-part miniseries “The Bible.”

“Son of God” is the first of several religious-themed films set for release this year, including next month’s “Noah” starring Russell Crowe and “Exodus” with Christian Bale planned for December.

“The Lego Movie,” which features the voices of Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks as characters from the block-building toy franchise, came in third place with $21 million in its third weekend, bringing its total domestic haul to $209.3 million.

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