Ben Affleck steals box office crown with "Town"

Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:26pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ben Affleck made off with a bigger-than-expected haul at the weekend box office in North America on Sunday as his heist thriller "The Town" surprised observers with a strong No. 1 opening.

The movie, which Affleck both directed and stars in, earned an estimated $23.8 million during its first three days, distributor Warner Bros. said. It had been expected to open at No. 2 in the $15 million to $20 million range.

The new high school comedy "Easy A," which industry pundits predicted last week would open at No. 1, followed with a solid $18.2 million -- which was more than twice its budget.

Also new were the diabolical horror "Devil" at No. 3 with a disappointing $12.6 million and the low-budget 3D cartoon "Alpha and Omega" at No. 5 with $9.2 million, which was in line with modest expectations.

Last weekend's champion, "Resident Evil: Afterlife," dropped to No. 4 with $10.1 million; its 10-day total stands at $44 million. The fourth entry in the zombie franchise remained No. 1 at the international box office after a $38.7 million weekend in 48 markets took its total to $103 million.

The four newcomers helped North American sales pick up markedly, a week after business dipped to a two-year low in the traditional lull following the Labor Day holiday weekend. The top 12 films earned $88.5 million, up 34 percent from last weekend and up 1.4 percent from the year-ago period, according the box office tracking division of Hollywood.com.

"TOWN" TARGETS AWARDS VOTERS

"The Town" marks the follow-up to Affleck's directing debut, 2007's "Gone Baby Gone," another crime drama set in his Boston hometown. He did not appear in that film, which made $20 million in its entire North American run.

In the new film, he plays the brains among a gang of robbers, who complicates things by falling for a bank teller caught up in one of their heists.   Continued...

 
<p>Actor Ben Affleck arrives for the premiere of the movie "The Town," which he co-wrote, directed and acted in, at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>