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Ben Affleck's The Accountant tops US box office

The Accountant

Story by Jack Foley

BEN Affleck’s The Accountant has topped the US box office with a better than expected $24.7 million.

Directed by Gavin O’Connor, the film sees Batman star Affleck playing an accountant and assassin who cooks the books for mobsters and cartels.

When he’s targeted by the Treasury Department, he goes to work for a company he thinks is on the rise.

Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons and John Lithgow are also among the star-studded ensemble.

Commenting on the film’s impressive performance, Warner domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein said: “This is a tremendous result. Look, I was hoping we’d be opening up between $15 million and $20 million, but I thought it would be more like $16 million or $17 million.”

He noted that The Accountant came in ahead of Affleck’s The Town ($23.8 million) and his Oscar-winning Argo ($19.5 million), as well as opening on par with last weekend’s winner, The Girl on the Train ($24.7 million).

That film tied for second spot with Kevin Hart: What Now?, which both took $12 million for Universal.

What Now? is a look at the final performance of Hart’s most recent comedy tour, filmed in August, 2015, at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field before 50,000 attendees. It is also book-ended by James Bond-style spoof sequences in which Hart teams with Halle Berry.

Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children finished fourth with $8.9 million for a US total of $65.8 million after 17 days, while Mark Wahlberg disaster drama Deepwater Horizon followed in fifth with $6.4 million for a US haul of $49.3 million.

Among the weekend’s other winners and losers, animated family adventure Max Steel bombed with an estimated $2.1 million. Based on Mattel’s toy action figures, the sci-fi adventure film follows teen Max McGrath and his alien companion, Steel, who combine their new powers to evolve into the turbo-charged Max Steel.

And embattled filmmaker Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation plummeted to tenth in only its second weekend, dropping nearly 60% to an estimated $2.7 million for a 10-day haul of $12 million.

The big winner internationally, however, was director Ron Howard’s Inferno, a sequel to The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons that’s once again based on Dan Brown’s best-selling book series.

Tom Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon in the film, which debuted to a strong $50 million from its first 53 markets two weeks before launching in the US. Felicity Jones co-stars.

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