Ben Affleck's action-thriller The Accountant is off to a solid start at the Friday box office for a possible debut of $20 million or more, easily enough to win the weekend race, according to early returns.
The action-thriller, playing in 3,332 theaters, is projected to take in at least $7.5 million on Friday alone, including $1.4 million in Thursday-night previews.
Stand-up comedy pic Kevin Hart: What Now? is likewise enjoying a solid launch. Early estimates show the latest film from Universal and Hart earning $4 million-$6 million on Friday, including $739,000 in previews, for a weekend take of $10 million to $14 million from 2,567 theaters.
The big question for Warner Bros.' The Accountant, directed by Gavin O'Connor, is whether generally poor reviews will slow traffic at the box office. In the film, Affleck stars as a whiz accountant 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 up and up.
Anna Kendrick, J.K. Simmons and John Lithgow also star in The Accountant, which cost just under $40 million to make.
What Now follows the final performance of Hart's wildly successful stand-up comedy tour at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field in August 2015, along with a dress rehearsal. Hart's previous stand-up film, 2013's Let Me Explain, opened to $10 million on its way to earning $32.3 million domestically, the third-best showing of all time for a stand-up comedy movie.
Leslie Small and Tim Story directed What Now, which blends some fictional storylines, like Hart playing a Bond-like spy accompanied by sidekick Halle Berry, with Hart's stand-up performance.
Also opening wide this weekend is Max Steel, based on Mattel's toy action figures. The film, from Dolphin Films and Mattel, appears to be DOA. Early returns show the movie opening in the $2 million range from 2,043 theaters.
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. The unlikely friends struggle to accept their oddly connected fates as they battle evil forces threatening mankind.
Stewart Hendler directed based on a script by Christopher Yost. It stars Ben Winchell, Ana Villafane, Andy Garcia, Maria Bello and Billy Slaughter.