‘The Accountant’ earns big numbers as Kevin Hart breaks a record


Gavin O’Connor’s The Accountant exceeded expectations in its debut weekend, earning $24.7 million and proving that people really do want to see Ben Affleck as an autistic CPA who is also part-ninja. Who knew? Though panned more or less across the board by critics, The Accountant was more favored by moviegoers, who gave the film an A CinemaScore rating. Next weekend it’ll square up against action sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, this time starring Tom Cruise as the preternaturally talented asskicker who, presumably, sends his taxes out to someone else.

Lagging far behind in the number two spot was Kevin Hart: What Now?, which brought in less than half The Accountant’s opening gross with $11.9 million. Still, that gives What Now? the biggest debut ever for a stand-up comedy film and already makes it the seventh highest-grossing stand-up film of all time. The current record for highest-grossing stand-up film will be tough to beat, as Eddie Murphy Raw ($50.5 million) has been unbudgeable since all the way back in '87. Still, with a reported budget of under $10 million and a future that’s likely to include very solid home video sales, What Now? has nothing to be sorry about.

The rest of the top five went to holdovers. Last week’s number one film, The Girl on the Train (weekend gross $11.9 million, total gross $46.5 million) fell to number three, followed by third-week films Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (weekend gross $8.9 million, total gross $65.8 million) and Deepwater Horizon (weekend gross $6.3 million, total gross $49.3 million). Both Peregrine and Deepwater had budgets of $100 million-plus, though Peregrine has so far made $196.8 million worldwide to Deepwater's $77 million.

This weekend’s remaining new wide release, Max Steel, fell outside the top ten with only $2.1 million on 2,034 screens. Out in limited release were Priceless ($703,200 on 303 screens), Mexico’s Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry Desierto ($450,000 on 73 screens), Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women ($65,230 on five screens), GKIDS release Miss Hokusai ($25,042 on two screens) and Coming Through the Rye ($4,000 on a single screen). The weekend’s highest per-theatre average belonged to the Rebecca Hall-starring drama Christine, which earned $14,046 in one theatre.