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'The Accountant' No. 1 at box office on strength of Ben Affleck

'Accountant,' which stars Ben Affleck, opened in first place at the box office this past weekend. Many industry observers say the actor was the main reason viewers turned out for the film.

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    'The Accountant' stars Ben Affleck (l.) and Anna Kendrick (r.).
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The new action film “The Accountant” took the top spot at the domestic box office in its opening weekend, with some critics crediting star Ben Affleck as having been the main draw for moviegoers.

“Accountant,” which opened on Oct. 14, grossed more than $24 million at the domestic box office this past weekend. The film stars Mr. Affleck as a man diagnosed as autistic who is skilled at math and fighting and works on the financial accounts of criminals. 

The movie co-stars J.K. Simmons, Jon Bernthal, Anna Kendrick, and Jeffrey Tambor. 

Critics are citing Affleck, who has recently appeared in such films as “Batman v Superman,” “Gone Girl,” and “Argo,” as the likely reason moviegoers sought out “Accountant,” as the film is not a sequel or based on a story that would be familiar to moviegoers. 

“Ben Affleck is still a box office draw outside of the bat suit,” Associated Press writer Lindsey Bahr wrote of the box office gross for “Accountant.” And USA Today writer Bryan Alexander wrote, “’The Accountant’ proves one thing about Ben Affleck: He’s a hot asset in Hollywood. Affleck star-powered his action role as a genius bookkeeper with a particular set of killing skills to $24.7 million.” 

The Christian Science Monitor's film critic Peter Ranier was unimpressed by Affleck's performance or the film, describing it as having "so many plot twists that the narrative comes to resemble a Möbius strip. That wouldn’t be so bad if at least the twists made a modicum of sense."

Nonetheless, Affleck will be back later this year in another film that will test his star power: “Live by Night,” a 1920s and '30s gangster tale which is based on a Dennis Lehane novel of the same name and is directed by and stars Affleck. The film will have a limited release on Dec. 25 and be available at more locations beginning next January. 

As for other films at the box office this past weekend, the stand-up comedy film “Kevin Hart: What Now?” came in second place with an opening weekend gross of more than $11 million. “The Girl on the Train,” which opened earlier this month, placed third, taking in more than $11 million as well but slightly less than “Hart.” 

The Tim Burton YA adaptation “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which also opened earlier this month, placed fourth after grossing more than $8 million this past weekend, while the film “Deepwater Horizon,” which is based on the 2010 BP oil spill and also debuted earlier in October, took fifth place, grossing more than $6 million this past weekend.

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