Ben Affleck and Kevin Hart continue to prove themselves as two of Hollywood’s most consistently bankable stars, with new films from the leading men notching no. 1 and no. 2 debuts, respectively, at the weekend box office.
Though it didn’t stick its landing with critics, Affleck’s The Accountant, directed by Gavin O’Connor, pulled in an estimated $24.7 million from 3,332 screens to top the domestic chart. The film, which also stars Anna Kendrick and J.K. Simmons, earned a stellar A grade on CinemaScore, meaning strong word-of-mouth will bolster the film’s performance in the weeks ahead.
The Accountant debut falls in line with other live-action thrillers in Affleck’s filmography, including 2012’s Argo ($19.5 million), 2010’s The Town ($23.8 million), though it falls short of his last non-franchise opening, Gone Girl, which made $37.5 million over its first three days in 2014.
Unadjusted for inflation, Hart nabbed his highest concert film debut with What Now?, which pulled in an estimated $11.98 million at no. 2. The $9.9 million production, which features a mix of standup and scripted sequences, registered the lowest per-screen average ($4,669 from 2,567 screens) of Hart’s three theatrical specials. Let Me Explain averaged $11,450 at 876 theaters, while Laugh at My Pain scored a per-location average of $19,474 on 98 screens in 2011.
Falling two places to no. 3 was the Emily Blunt thriller The Girl on the Train, which chugged along to an estimated $11.97 million across its second weekend. The mystery, based on Paula Hawkins’ bestselling novel of the same name, shed a little over 50 percent of its audience, a softer-than-expected fall as the film didn’t register positive notices from polled moviegoers (B- on CinemaScore) or critics (43 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 5.4/10) last week. With $33.1 million from foreign markets, Girl’s worldwide total stands at just under $80 million (on an estimated $45 million budget) thus far.
Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children finished its third week in wide release at no. 4, declining a healthy 41 percent to an estimated $8.9 million. With a North American haul of $65.8 million to date, the expensive live-action fantasy, which cost a reported $110 million to make, is pacing to become the auteur’s highest-grossing film since 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, likely to eclipse the $79 million domestic gross of 2012’s Dark Shadows by the end of its run.
Finishing the weekend in fifth place was Mark Wahlberg’s $110 million action-drama Deepwater Horizon, based on the real-life events leading up to the 2010 BP Oil Spill, which added another $6.4 million to its growing $49.4 million total.
Outside the top 10, Open Road’s Max Steel, based on Mattell’s line of superhero action figures, floundered with an estimated $2.2 million on 2,034 screens. STX’s Desierto, which traveled to festivals worldwide after debuting at TIFF in 2015, grossed a so-so $450,000 from 73 theaters, averaging $6,164 per-screen.
Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, which won top honors at the BFI London Film Festival’s awards ceremony this weekend, fared better on the specialty front, averaging $13,046 at 5 theaters for a weekend gross of $65,230. Similarly, The Orchard’s Christine Chubbuck biopic, Christine, pulled in a solid $12,372 from a single location.
Yearly box office is up 3.5 percent from the same frame last year.
Check out the Oct. 14-16 weekend estimates below:
1. The Accountant – $24.7 million
2. Kevin Hart: What Now? – $11.98 million
3. The Girl on the Train – $11.97 million
4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – $8.9 million
5. Deepwater Horizon – $6.4 million
6. Storks – $5.6 million
7. The Magnificent Seven – $5.2 million
8. Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life – $4.2 million
9. Sully – $2.9 million
10. The Birth of a Nation – $2.7 million
Box office: The Accountant stacks $24.7 million for No. 1 debut – Entertainment Weekly