The Accountant banks big bucks at the box office

2016-10-17 08:11

Los Angeles — Ben Affleck is still a box office draw outside of the bat suit. His new thriller The Accountant opened to a chart-topping $24.7m this weekend. 

Gavin O'Connor directed the R-rated thriller, starring Affleck as an autistic mathematician. The film didn't play especially well with critics, but audiences, who were 58 percent male and 68 percent over the age of 35, gave it a promising "A" CinemaScore.

It's the continuation of what proves to be a long and fruitful partnership between Affleck and Warner Bros. Although The Accountant, which cost a reported $40m to produce, didn't quite hit the heights of Gone Girl's $37.5m opening, it is in the range of some of his other R-rated fall openings with the studio. Argo, for instance, launched to $19.5m in 2012, and The Town, took in $23.8m in 2010.

The Accountant also far-surpassed Warner Bros.' early predictions for the film, which had it in the $15 to $20m range.

"We're in the Ben Affleck business, and we're proud of it. We've had a lot of movies with him, and we have a lot of movies coming up with him," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. president of domestic distribution. "Audiences just love him."

Affleck's mob drama Live By Night, which he wrote, directed and stars in, opens on Christmas. He also has the DC comics films with the studio.

The weekend's other new star-driven project, Kevin Hart: What Now? narrowly took second place over last week's champ The Girl on the Train. The Kevin Hart concert film, which Universal Pictures distributed, took in $11.98 million. The comedian's 2013 concert film Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain opened to a similar $10m in 2013.

"We love Kevin Hart and we love our association with him. This is our fourth collaboration with him this year alone," said Nick Carpou, Universal's president of domestic distribution. "He is tireless in the way that he promotes his projects and the way that he's always working. It's really a pleasure to be part of it."

In third place, The Girl on the Train netted $11.97m for Universal, bringing its domestic total to $46.6 million. With such a minuscule difference, the Universal films could easily switch places when final numbers come in on Monday.

Rounding out the top 5

Holdovers Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children and Deepwater Horizon rounded out the top five with $8.9m and $6.4m, respectively.

The weekend's other new opener, the Mattel-inspired Max Steel, bombed with only $2.2m. Open Road distributed the film starring Ben Winchell, which currently has a zero percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Overall, the year is still up 3.5%, but the fall season is down from last year, according to box office tracker comScore.

"In the wake of the summer season, the fall always seems a little slow. This year is sort of typical in that way. We haven't had an October breakout hit like we had with Gravity and The Martian," said Paul Dergarabedian, comScore's senior media analyst. So far, the fall's top-grossing film is Sully, which has grossed $118.4 million to date.

"I'm thinking we're going to have a renaissance at the box office in a week or two and things could turn around," he added, noting big upcoming films like Jack Reacher: Never Go BackDoctor Strange, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Internationally, Inferno, starring Tom Hanks, opened in 53 territories to $50m in advance of its North American release on 28 October.

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