He did it with Taken in 2009 and Liam Neeson proved he hasn’t lost his allure as a lead action star as Unknown opened at number one on an estimated $21.8m through Warner Bros.

StudioCanal will release the film in the UK, Germany and France pursuant to a co-financing deal with Dark Castle.

The three-day President’s Day weekend gained approximately 8% on the same weekend last year, halting a 14-week run of year-on-year declines. However the weekend was down 30% against President’s Day last year, which fell a week earlier in 2010.

DreamWorks’ action film I Am Number Four starring British upstart Alex Pettyfer opened in second place on $19.5m through Disney, marking the first release from the reconstituted DreamWorks under its distribution deal with Disney. Fox’s comedy Big Mommas opened in fifth place on $17m.

The King’s Speech ranks seventh and crossed $100m through The Weinstein Company in its 13th weekend thanks to a $6.6m haul that boosted the tally to $103.3m. Black Swan ranks 15th and reached the milestone on Friday [18] and currently stands at $101.5m.

There was a good hold for Gnomeo And Juliet, which held firm in third place in its second weekend on $19.4m through Buena Vista for $50.4m.

Next weekend’s wide releases are Summit Entertainment’s 3D action romp Drive Angry pairing Nicolas Cage with Amber Heard, and Warner Bros-New Line’s Farrelly Brothers comedy Hall Pass starring Owen Wilson and Jenna Fischer.

Estimated Top 10 North America Feb 18-20, 2010
Film (Dist) / Est wkd gross / Est total to date

1 (-) Unknown (Warner Bros) StudioCanal/WBPI $21.8m –
2 (-) I Am Number Four (Buena Vista-DreamWorks) WDSMPI $19.5m –
3 (3) Gnomeo And Juliet (Buena Vista) Pathe $19.4m $50.4m
4 (1) Just Go With It (Sony) SPRI $18.2m $60.8m
5 (-) Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (Fox) Fox Int’l $17m –
6 (2) Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (Paramount) PPI $13.6m $48.5m
7 (6) The King’s Speech (TWC) FilmNation $6.6m $103.3m
8 (5) The Roommate (Screen Gems) SPRI $4.1m $32.7m
9 (4) The Eagle (Focus Features) FFI $3.6m $15m
10 (7) No Strings Attached (Paramount) PPI $3.1m $66m