LOS ANGELES (NYTimes, Bloomberg) - Ben Affleck's star power helped The Accountant overcome anaemic reviews to place No.1 at the North American box office over the weekend.
The drama featuring Affleck as a math savant and also starring Anna Kendrick took in a sturdy US$24.7 million, according to comScore, which compiles ticketing data. It cost Warner Bros. roughly US$40 million to produce and tens of millions more to market. Critics may have been underwhelmed, but the studio noted that moviegoers gave The Accountant an A grade in CinemaScore exit polls. About 68 percent of ticket buyers were over 35 years old.
The next two films tied. Kevin Hart: What Now? (Universal Pictures) arrived to about US$12 million in tickets, a healthy result for a stand-up comedy concert film that cost about US$10 million to make and was backed by a thrifty marketing campaign. The thriller The Girl On The Train (Universal) also collected about US$12 million, for a two-week domestic total of US$46.6 million.
Affleck continues to be a box office draw in Hollywood, both as a director and actor. Yet The Accountant is dwarfed in its debut by his pull in roles like Batman. The actor who made his name two decades ago in Good Will Hunting has played an increasingly important role at Warner Bros. His portrayal of the DC Comics hero won praise in this year's Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
Not only is Affleck directing and writing the script for a standalone Batman film for the studio, in which he will star, he also has been made an executive producer of another DC movie, Justice League.
Also of note: Max Steel (Open Road), a superhero movie based on a little-known Mattel action figure, managed to receive a 0 percent positive score on the Rotten Tomatoes review-aggregation meter and was an equal bomb with ticket buyers. It collected about US$2.2 million. Its budget was unknown.