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'The Accountant' crunches the numbers to hit No. 1 at box office

LOS ANGELES — Warner Bros.’ “The Accountant” outperformed two fellow new releases, Universal’s “Kevin Hart: What Now?” and Open Road’s “Max Steel,” and holdovers to overtake the weekend box office.

“The Accountant” pulled in an estimated $24.7 million in the U.S. and Canada, meeting analyst expectations of $20 million to $25 million. Internationally, the film grossed an estimated $2.8 million. With a total gross to date this weekend of more than $27 million worldwide, Warner Bros. is happy, especially considering the studio projected a more modest bow of $15 million to $20 million.

The film stars Ben Affleck as an autistic CPA with assassin-like abilities whose secret freelance work for criminal organizations draws the attention of someone in the U.S. Treasury Department, played by J.K. Simmons. The movie was directed by Gavin O’Connor, who is best known for the 2011 mixed martial arts drama “Warrior.” Anna Kendrick and Jeffrey Tambor also star.

Meanwhile, comedian Hart again proved his ability to generate profits with his latest stand-up concert movie, “What Now?” Garnering an estimated $12 million, the picture just failed analyst projections of $13 million to $15 million, but still can be counted as a success for Hart as it performed better than his last stand-up flick.

Costing almost $14 million to produce, which Hart funded himself, the film was taped during his tour stop at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field, filled with 53,000 people. In a 15-minute cinematic prelude to the stand-up act, Hart plays a James Bond-esque character who must fight off a villain to make it to his gig. That part of the movie stars Halle Berry, Don Cheadle and Ed Helms.

“What Now?” is pacing ahead of Hart’s 2013 stand-up hit, “Let Me Explain,” from Lionsgate, which grossed $32 million domestically. It’s also yet another demonstration of the comedian’s marketing prowess as one of Hollywood’s most reliably bankable stars.

Coming in third place was last week’s victor, Universal’s “The Girl on the Train,” adding an additional $12 million to its gross. The dark Emily Blunt movie has brought in $46.6 million domestically to date.

Fox’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” landed in fourth place in its third week with $8.9 million. The Tim Burton-directed flick has grossed $65.8 million.

Rounding out the top five is Lionsgate’s “Deepwater Horizon” with $6.4 million. It’s grossed $49.3 million domestically in three weeks.

This week, Halloween-themed pictures take over the box office with Lionsgate’s “Boo! A Madea Halloween” and Universal’s “Ouija: Origin of Evil.” Joining that group will be Paramount’s “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” and the studio’s comedy “Keeping Up With the Joneses.”

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