Weekend Box Office: Ben Affleck’s Argo Opens Bigger Than Expected

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Ben Affleckin "ARGO." Warner Bros. Pictures

Affleck's Argo is awesome in more ways than one!

Following its stellar critical reception, the truth-based Iranian-hostage crisis thriller directed by and starring Ben Affleck earned an estimated $20.1 million — surpassing expectations — and landed in number two for its opening weekend at the box office, according to early estimates.

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Liam Neeson's Taken 2, in its second weekend in theaters, held onto the top spot with an additional $22.2 million. The news wasn't as good for Kevin James, whose new comedy Here Comes the Boom went, well, bust, earning just $12 million and landing in fifth place, which is the worst opening in James' big-screen career.

Argo, which is now a lead contender for awards season 2012-2013, is the biggest opening for a film starring Affleck since 2003's disastrous Daredevil.

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Just in time for the Halloween season, Ethan Hawke's horror film Sinister — which cost just $3 million to make — scored at third place with $18.3 million. Seven Psychopaths, starring Colin Farrell, made just $4.3 million its first weekend out, landed it at number 9.

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Other top ten films this weekend included Hotel Transylvania (number 4, $17.3 million), Pitch Perfect (number 6, $9.3 million), Frankenweenie (number 7, $7 million), Looper (number 8, $6.3 million) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower (number 10, $2.2 million).

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