Liam Neeson's 'Honest Thief' tops the struggling North American box office with a meager $3.7 million

The movie was released as major expected blockbusters like 'Black Widow' and "No Time To Die' were pushed back

As the North American box office continues to struggle amid the coronavirus pandemic, the modest debut of Liam Neeson's thriller, "Honest Thief," took the No. 1 spot at the box office.

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The Open Roads Films movie brought in $3.7 million in North America the weekend of its U.S. debut. The film stars Neeson as a notorious bank robber who turns himself in but is then double-crossed by two FBI agents. The film debuted in Canada last week.

The film also played well in markets including Miami, Chicago, San Diego and Atlanta, according to the studio. However, like all major releases, the loss of open theaters in New York and California continues to keep box office numbers low.

“Honest Thief” overtook the Robert De Niro-led comedy “The War with Grandpa,” which claimed No. 1 last week. De Niro's film earned $2.5 million despite coming in second. It has garnered $7.3 million domestically within a 10-day timespan.

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This image released by Open Road Films shows Kate Walsh, left, and Liam Neeson in a scene from "Honest Thief." (Open Road Films via AP)

Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” meanwhile, came in third with $1.6 million. The action-thriller starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson has totaled $50.6 million in the U.S., a significantly more modest showing than what the expected summer tentpole was expected to do before the COVID-19 pandemic caused theaters across the country to shut down.

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The North American box office has been in an increasingly dire situation throughout the pandemic as moviegoers are not only wary of risking infection by going to an enclosed indoor space amid spikes in the virus, but studios are pushing the release dates of major tentpoles like "Black Widow," "No Time to Die," "Dune" and "The Batman" as far back as 2021 for fear of a low box office turnout.

Movie theaters across the country are seeing low turnout. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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Fortunately, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this week that theaters outside New York City can begin reopening at limited capacity, officially getting the ball rolling on one of the film industry's largest markets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.