LOS ANGELES: Underlining Ben Affleck’s star power, The Accountant dominated cinemas 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’s 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 organisations. 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. 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 the comedian’s most recent 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.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2016.