Ben Affleck's 'The Accountant' dominates with $24.7 million
By Dave McNary
LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Underlining Ben Affleck's star power, "The Accountant" dominated moviegoing with a solid $24.7 million opening weekend at 3,222 North American sites.
Sunday's estimate came in significantly above expectations, which had ranged from $18 million to $20 million at the start of the weekend.
Comedy concert film "Kevin Hart: What Now?" delivered about half of "The Accountant" total with $12 million at 2,568 locations. But the debut of sci-fi adventure "Max Steel" was ignored by moviegoers with $2.1 million at 2,034 screens for a dismal $1,049 per-screen average.
Warner Bros.' "The Accountant" took in $200,000 more than last weekend's winner, "The Girl on the Train," which opened with $24.5 million. The Emily Blunt thriller finished in a tie for second with "Kevin Hart: What Now?"
"The Accountant" carries a moderate $40 million price tag with Affleck portraying an autistic math savant and weapons expert who cooks the books for criminal organizations. Gavin O'Connor directs from a script by Bill Dubuque. Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow also star. Prospects for holdover business are decent with an A CinemaScore, particularly with 86% of customers over 25.
"The Accountant" opened quietly in 10 international markets with $2.8 million from 1,190 screens, led by $755,000 at 109 sites in Taiwan. It will open next weekend in Brazil, Germany and Spain.
Warner-based Affleck has a strong track record in dramas with 2010's "The Town," which grossed $154 million worldwide; 2012's Best Picture Oscar winner "Argo," with $232 million worldwide; and 2014's "Gone Girl," with $369 million worldwide. His Prohibition-era crime drama "Live by Night" opens on Christmas and he'll return as Batman in "Justice League" on Nov. 17, 2017.
"Kevin Hart: What Now?" is a look at the final performance of his most recent comedy tour, filmed in August, 2015, at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field -- and book-ended by James Bond-style spoof sequences in which Hart teams with Halle Berry as his loyal but dismissive associate. Leslie Small and Tim Story directed. Continued...