Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck Can’t Get ‘Runner Runner’ Out of Box-Office Blocks


Gambling thriller starring the pop phenom and Hollywood heavyweight posts underwhelming $7.6 million domestic debut

Even Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, two of Hollywood’s heavyweight hunks, couldn’t keep “Runner Runner’ from stumbling out of the box-office blocks this weekend.

The R-rated thriller took in just $7.6 million over the course of its three-day U.S. debut, well under analysts’ projections, which were low to begin with.

“That’s not what you’d expect from one of the world’s biggest pop stars and the next Batman,” said Exhibitor Relations vice-president and senior analyst Jeff Bock.

Also read: Why Doesn’t Justin Timberlake Hit Higher Notes at the Box Office?

Timberlake last week was heading up the music charts with his new album “The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2,” and Oscar winner Affleck was recently chosen to play the Caped Crusader in Zach Snyder’s upcoming “Man of Steel” remake.

It’s quite a comedown for Affleck, who was last seen in “To the Wonder” earlier this year and before that “Argo,” last year’s box-office hit and Best Picture Oscar winner that he directed and starred in.

For Timberlake, it’s another off effort in an uneven film career that’s trending down of late.

The critics weren’t keen on the $30 million New Regency production – it has a terrible 8 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes – and audiences didn’t like it much either, giving it just a “C” CinemaScore.

Also read: Justin Timberlake’s Movie Hits and Misses in Under 60 Seconds (Video)

Brad Furman (“The Lincoln Lawyer”) directed “Runner Runner,” in which Timberlake plays a college student who is cheated out of his tuition money playing online poker and confronts the offshore entrepreneur (Affleck) behind it. He becomes the kingpin’s right-hand man and winds up in a tight spot when the FBI wants to use him to bring the operation down. Leonardo DiCaprio is a producer, and Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie co-star.

Offering some solace for distributor Fox were the overseas grosses. With this weekend’s foreign receipts added in, “Runner Runner” has taken in $23.5 million from overseas.

In part because of his music roots, Timberlake’s films have recently performed decently overseas even when disappointing domestically.

His two most recent movies, 2011’s “In Time” and last year’s Clint Eastwood baseball movie “Trouble With the Curve,’ both under-performed in the U.S. “In Time” took in $135 million from overseas, however.

Also read: Ben Affleck Addresses Batman Casting Backlash on ‘Jimmy Fallon’ Show: ‘I Handle S*%t’ (Video)

Early on in his film career, Timberlake bucked his squeaky-clean ”N Sync image with roles in gritty indie films like “Alpha Dog” and “Southland Tales.” He broke out with his portrayal of Napster co-founder and Facebook mentor Sean Parker in 2010’s “The Social Network.” And in 2011, he showed his comedy chops in “Bad Teacher” and “Friends with Benefits,” which was well-reviewed and lucrative, taking in $150 million worldwide for Sony Screen Gems.

With the crummy reviews and a marketing campaign that failed to ignite much buzz, “Runner Runner” was always in for a tough ride. And when it bumped up against the Sandra Bullock-George Clooney space saga “Gravity,” which posted an October record $55 million debut this weekend, its fate was sealed.

  • Brian

    This movie bombed… because Timbernoob sucks BALLS! Attention Hollywood idiots: STOP making movies that have this non-actor in them! HE CANNOT ACT WORTH A #&$^!!! Affleck is bad enough and then you put in Timbernoob too?!?! Anyone that thinks that’s a good idea also sucks balls!!!

  • mylifeasagaymansgirl

    Timberlake can’t act and was the weakest link in “Bad Teacher”, “In Time”, “Trouble with Curve” and now “Runner, Runner”. The Studio Executives make horrible casting decisions and waste millions of dollars (shareholder profits) on the process by not giving casting directors any authority. That trend is ruining film and television. When are shareholders going to wake up and realize how much profit is wasted?

  • Tom

    The movie was doomed from inception…

    The story is too similar to many others that have preceded it…
    Affleck is not a movie star (anymore)…
    Timberlake is not a movie star (yet)…

    There was nothing to draw audiences in. New Regency has really been hitting a lot of foul balls lately.