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Ben Affleck 'The Town' Better Than Expected

Jon Hamm, Ben Affleck, The Town

Ben Affleck's heist thriller The Town topped the North American box office this weekend (Sept. 17-19), collecting $23.8 million according to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo.

Most pundits had predicted The Town (cost: $37m) would debut in the $18m-$20 million range, but like another late-summer heist thriller, John Luessenhop's Takers, Affleck's second directorial feature performed way above expectations.

In fact, on its first weekend out the well-received The Town has grossed more than Affleck's previous directorial effort, Gone Baby Gone, during its entire run in late 2007 (total: $20.3m).

In addition to Affleck, the Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures release features The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Jon Hamm, Blake Lively, Owen Burke, Chris Cooper, and Pete Postlethwaite.

Even though its $8,319 per-theater average wasn't exactly of blockbuster caliber, The Town should be able to hold on throughout early fall if word of mouth remains as positive as most critics' reviews. (Audiences gave the film an average A- as per CinemaScore.) Studio ads emphasizing Oscar talk for the film and for filmmaker Affleck wouldn't hurt, either.

Now, following the unexpected success of Affleck's film, someone somewhere (who knows better) will now be saying that The Town is proof positive that North American audiences want fresh, high-quality material at their local multiplex.

Well, sometimes they do – Christopher Nolan's Inception, after all, topped three consecutive weekends this summer.

Just make sure you don't look back at the weekends when Clash of the Titans, Nightmare on Elm Street, Iron Man 2, Shrek Forever After, The Karate Kid, The Expendables, and Resident Evil: Afterlife topped the charts.

And pretend that Adam Sandler's Grown Ups never existed.

Photo: The Town (Claire Folger / Warner Bros.)

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Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, The Town
Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner, The Town

Ben Affleck's heist thriller The Town did better than expected at the U.S. and Canada box office on Friday, taking in $8.4 million according to studio estimates.

The Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures release starring Affleck and The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner is expected to top the weekend with $25 million in ticket sales. That's more than Gone Baby Gone, Affleck's previous directorial effort, collected during its entire run in late 2007 (total: $20.3m).

The Emma Stone vehicle Easy A, a revamping of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, debuted with $6.8 million. Some pundits had expected Easy A to top the North American box office chart, but that seems unlikely now.

Another new entry, the M. Night Shyamalan presentation Devil landed in third place with $4.9 million.

At no. 4 was the Milla Jovovich-Wentworth Miller actioner Resident Evil: Afterlife with $3 million – down a whopping 72 percent from a week ago.

Newcomer Alpha and Omega debuted with a modest $2.3 million at no. 5.

At no. 6 was the Hayden Christensen-Paul Walker thriller Takers with 900,000, followed by Anton Corbijn-George Clooney's The American with 800k.

Next in line were Christopher Nolan-Leonardo DiCaprio's Inception tied with Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg's The Other Guys with an estimated gross of $600,000 at no. 8.

At no. 10, Ethan Maniquis and Robert Rodriguez's Machete, featuring Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Lindsay Lohan, and Jessica Alba, collected $500,000.

Gone from the top ten were Drew Barrymore and Justin Long's romantic comedy Going the Distance, Julia Roberts-Javier Bardem-James Franco's romantic drama Eat Pray Love, Sylvester Stallone's action flick The Expendables, and Daniel Stamm's mockumentary The Last Exorcism.

Source: TheWrap

Photo: The Town (Claire Folger / Warner Bros.)

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