Cold Pursuit has fallen short at the box office, following controversial comments by its star Liam Neeson.

The actor faced a massive backlash after telling The Independent that he once roamed the streets with a cosh, wanting to kill a “black bastard” after someone close to him was raped years ago.

The Lionsgate film, according to The Wrap, opened to an estimated $10.8m (£8.4m). It’s the worst opening for any wide release starring Neeson since 2010, when The Next Three Days, which also starred Russell Crowe, opened to $6.5m.

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However, expectations were low even before Neeson’s comments, with trackers estimating it would open to $7-10m.

The film is Neeson’s worst-performing action film since 1990’s superhero film Darkman, directed by Sam Raimi, which opened to $8m in August and ended up only earning $48m worldwide.

In comparison, the actor’s highest-earning action film was 2012’s Taken 2, which opened to $49.5m and earned $376m worldwide.

Cold Pursuit, directed by Hans Petter Moland, follows a snowplough driver whose quiet life comes crashing down when his son dies under mysterious circumstances, leading him on a path of bloody vengeance.

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