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Affleck Tried to Save 'Runner Runner' with His 'Argo' Editor, but Audiences Avoided Timberlake

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 9, 2013 at 12:50PM

William Goldenberg took home the editing Oscar for "Argo" and was nominated for "Zero Dark Thirty" in the same year. So when Ben Affleck, back in actor-for-hire mode, saw that his new movie "Runner Runner" needed an overhaul, he called in the best to try and salvage the wreck. Why? It's in any star's interest to make the movie as good as possible. But Justin Timberlake has yet to prove himself as a star who can put butts in seats; he's better as a well-cast supporting player.
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Ben Affleck in 'Runner Runner'
Ben Affleck in 'Runner Runner'
William Goldenberg
William Goldenberg

William Goldenberg took home the editing Oscar for "Argo" and was nominated for "Zero Dark Thirty" in the same year. So when Ben Affleck, back in actor-for-hire mode, saw that his new movie "Runner Runner" needed an overhaul, he called in the best, reports THR, to try and salvage the wreck. Why? It's in any star's interest to make the movie as good as possible. 

If you're Brad Pitt, you persuade your old manager now running the Paramount studio, Brad Grey, to invest in a costly reshoot of the last 40 minutes of the film and a VFX reboot. In that case, the studio pulled out of the red with critically hailed global hit "World War Z." 

That did not happen with Twentieth Century Fox/New Regency's $30 million "Runner, Runner," which stars Affleck as a powerful gambling kingpin who pulls Justin Timberlake into his orbit. Affleck clearly relishes playing the villain here, while Timberlake has yet to prove himself as a star who can put butts in seats; he's better as a well-cast supporting player, as in "The Social Network," "Trouble with the Curve" and "Inside Llewyn Davis." Other Timberlake flops include "In Time," "The Open Road," and "Friends with Benefits."

"Runner Runner," directed by Brad Furman ("The Lincoln Lawyer") opened to $7.7 million, a C CinemaScore and 8% on the Tomatometer. (A sampling of reviews here.) 

Affleck might have been better off applying his smarts to the original script he signed off on. While "Oceans" series scribes Brian Koppelman & David Levien have chops, clearly this movie offered audiences nothing that they wanted to see. 



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