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    Ben Affleck's Welcome in Town; Joaquin Phoenix's Shunned

    Jon Hamm, Ben Affleck, The Town Claire Folger/Warner Bros. Entertainment

    The Town opened No. 1. Easy A made the grade. Inception and Eclipse reached new milestones. And the bearded Joaquin Phoenix faced the moviegoing public openly and honestly.

    A look at the box-office weekend that was:

    • Ben Affleck's The Town (bigger-than-expected $23.8 million, per estimates), the ensemble crime drama which he directed and starred in, is his first box-office win since Daredevil.  

    Meanwhile, back at Casey Affleck's… In its second weekend, but first weekend as an admitted work of performance art, I'm Still Here, the younger Affleck's collaboration with Phoenix, was as weak as its star's rap skills. The movie grossed $115,000 at 120 theaters for a per-screen average of just $958. And, no, that's no joke.  

    • Emma Stone's Easy A was expected by some to take the top spot. But its second-place finish was no loss: The $8 million high-school comedy grossed $18.2 million.

    The  M. Night Shyamalan-hatched chiller Devil did OK, but scared up fewer bucks than expected: $12.6 million.

    Was Alpha and Omega ($9.2 million) another 3D failure? While its fifth-place debut was nothing special, neither was its budget: The CGI kid flick reportedly cost just $20 million.

    Inception ($2.02 million; $285.2 million overall) logged its 10th weekend in the Top 10.

    Eclipse ($205,000) eclipsed $300 million. It's the first Twilight film to hit that mark. The film got nudged over the finish line with the help of last weekend's wide release rerelease (in honor of Bella's birthday, of course).   

    The Expendables ($1.4 million) dropped out of the Top 10 after five weekends, but broke $100 million overall. It's Sylvester Stallone's first $100 million Stallone movie since Ronald Reagan was in the White House—and Rocky IV was waving the flag. 

    Also out of of the Top 10: Robert Rodriguez's Machete ($1.7 million), which brought Lindsay Lohan rare good news, but flamed out fast. Still, with a $24.3 million domestic gross, the film made good on its reported $20 million budget.

    Resident Evil: Afterlife, last weekend's No. film, fell fast, but not so hard. It picked up another $10.1 million, and continued to perform freakishly overseas, where it's now past $100 million. Overall, the movie is at about $147 million worldwide.

    In limited release, a potential Oscar contender, Carey Mulligan's and Keira Knightley's Never Let Me Go, led the way, grossing $120,830 at only four theaters. Catfish, the Sundance doc with the Blair Witch-ian trailer, was also big, networking its way to $255,252 at 12 theaters.

    In its second weekend, .Katie Holmes' The Romantics added theaters, but not moviegoers, grossing just $25,000 off 14 screens.

    Here's a complete look at the weekend's top-grossing films, per Friday-Sunday estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:

    1. The Town, $23.8 million
    2. Easy A, $18.2 million
    3. Devil, $12.6 million
    4. Resident Evil: Afterlife, $10.1 million
    5. Alpha and Omega, $9.2 million
    6. Takers, $3 million
    7. The American, $2.8 milion
    8. Inception, $2.02 million
    9. The Other Guys, $2 million
    10. Eat Pray Love, $1.7 million

    (Originally published Sept. 19, 2010 at 11:10 a.m. PT)

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    Photos: Totally New Releases.

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