17 September 2012 12:56 PM, PDT | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Ben Affleck has another hit due to arrive in theaters October 12. But "Argo," his third feature as director, will be even more commercially successful than 2007's "Gone Baby Gone" and 2012's "The Town," which earned Jeremy Renner a supporting actor nomination. That's because while Affleck understood that the film is timely--unrest in the Middle East has not dissippated since the true 1980 events depicted here--he could not have known that a mob assault on a U.S. consulate would make news headlines just as his film made its Toronto debut. That added gravitas will help "Argo" ride the zeitgiest not only at the box office but in the awards race. Movies that tell us more about ourselves tend to do well. On the other hand, another film that rides the current news cycle, Kathryn Bigelow's late-year release about the capture of Osama bin Laden, "Zero Dark Thirty," could steal some of "Argo"'s thunder. »

- Anne Thompson

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