Produced by Silver Pictures and financed, part-distributed and sold by Euro film/TV group Studiocanal, Liam Neeson starrer “Non-Stop” topped not only the U.S. box office but also worldwide grosses over Feb.28 – March 2, taking a total first weekend $56 million.

Giving Studiocanal its first U.S. No, 1, Jaume Collet-Serra’s airflight action thriller also validated Studiocanal’s  move into full-financing mainstream movies and its first-ever near day-and-date release on a big movie that it has financed across the territories where it runs distribution operations.

“We are thrilled with these results, being number 1 at the worldwide box office is really a great moment for Studiocanal,” Studiocanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson told Variety.

He added: “We had been known for a different type of film but with Joel Silver, Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson, we were happy to make our first fully financed mainstream movie. We were convinced by its global appeal and the figures demonstrate it. This makes us even more excited about our next big Joel Silver/Studiocanal action thriller, ‘The Gunman’!”

Of Studiocanal’s five home territories, ranking No. 1, “Non-Stop” grossed $AU2 million ($1.79 million) for Studiocanal in Australia and New Zealand.

In the U.K., Studiocanal piloted “Non-Stop” to $4.4 million, behind Warner Bros.’ “The Lego Movie” ($5.4 million) but No. 1 among new releases. Result near doubles Collet Serra’s “Unknown” ($2.3 million) and is Studiocanal’s second best first weekend in Blighty, only shaded by “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” ($4.7 million).

In France, again distributed directly by Studiocanal, “Non-Stop” saw its world premiere on Feb. 26, selling a first-five-day 401,435 tix off 442 screens, the equivalent of about $3.6 million in gross box office, the best bow for any foreign film in Gaul this year.

Though way below “Welcome To the Sticks” director Dany Boon’s new B.O. phenom, “Superchondriac” – a debut weekend $15.2 million – “Non-Stop” still made “ a very good, highly consistent start,” said Eric Marti, Rentrak general manager, France.

Distributed by Universal Pictures, “Non-Stop” grossed $28.9 million in the U.S. over last weekend. Studiocanal will release the movie in Germany, its fifth direct distribution territory, on March 13.

Of Liam Neeson actioners, “Non-Stop” opened significantly above “Unknown” and “Taken” in the U.K., France and Australia/New Zealand, though sometimes bested by “Taken 2,” as in France.

Results from third-party distributors, which bought “Non-Stop” from Studiocanal, added a further $17 million over Feb.28 – March 2, led by $6.7 million in South Korea, near twice “Unknown’s” final cume. Pic also topped charts in Singapore, Malaysia, Israel, Estonia and Philippines.

“Non Stop” still has to bow in major territories such as Russia, Spain and Mexico, plus a swathe of smaller markets.