Weekend US box office report: The American wins the last summer box office

News Ron Hogan
6 Sep 2010 - 04:24

George Clooney fights off Machete to take the box office crown. Here's our weekend round-up...

As we head into the last major holiday of the summer season in the United States (a uniquely American holiday called Labor Day in which unions in the early 20th century exercised their powers in such a way as to get their employees a free paid day off from work for one last hurrah of grilling and fishing and general summer frivolity, or, in my case, a stomach flu that made me wish I was dead for two whole days), there's only one movie that should top the box office, and it's George Clooney's semi-silent spy thriller, The American. Despite a Wednesday opening, the movie has picked up the top spot in a weak end of summer box office, with a take of 12.97 million bucks ($16 million overall).

The American (which we've reviewed here) was the best of the new releases, with third place Machete ($11.3 million), which we reviewed today, falling just below last week's number one film, Takers (second place, $11.45 million) over the weekend. I'd say that, given Machete's hard R rating, this is a fairly good result for Robert Rodriguez. Not as good as would be hoped for, but I imagine that a) it'll do well internationally and b) it'll do well on DVD, unrated-style. I imagine it'll ensure Machete Kills Again, even if RobRod does it himself.

Dropping to fourth place is The Last Exorcism (reviewed here), which brought in $7.6 million. That handily outraces the romantic comedy Going The Distance (reviewed here), which took in $6.88 million in spite of a fairly difficult premise. You know Lionsgate is pinching themselves with joy that their dirt cheap little devil movie has taken in $30 million more than its production budget. As for Going The Distance, it downplays the real life relationship of Justin Long and Drew Barrymore in favor of, weirdly, highlighting the comic antics of co-stars Charlie Day, Jason Sudeikis, and Jim Gaffigan. Strange choice, in retrospect.

Dropping out of the top five this weekend is The Expendables, which still managed a healthy $6.5 million at the box office. For those in doubt of Sly's revitalizing the 80s kick, The Expendables should be proof that perhaps the man is smarter than all give him credit for. The Expendables has managed $92 million and counting in the US alone, and it'll cross $100 million in the next week, no problem.

Already over $100 million is The Other Guys (reviewed here), which picked up $5.4 million this weekend and has banked $106.8 million in the States alone. It's weird, just when I think it's safe to write off Will Ferrell, he does something like this (with Mark Wahlberg, no less) and boom, he's back in the big money box office stars category of the Hollywood Rolodex. I didn't expect it, but there it is. Apparently, he's one of those guys you can never write off, like Tom Cruise but with curly hair.

Out of the top five and fading fast is Eat Pray Love. It picked up $4.8 million over the weekend, and has pushed close to $70 million, but once upon a time a Julia Roberts rom-com was guaranteed to make a whole lot of money. Maybe not so much these days. Still, it's broken its production budget, not including advertising, so it's far from the bomb that Duplicity was.

Dropping to ninth place is Inception, which picked up $4.5 million. It'll probably get to $285 million or so before it makes its final bow, which is pretty good for vaguely intelligent, challenging sci-fi released in the summer.

Rounding out the top 10 is Nanny McPhee Returns, which picked up an anemic $3.5 million ($22 million overall) which kind of ensures that Nanny McPhee Returns Again might not happen. Maybe Nanny McPhee's Straight To Video Tap Dancing Fiesta.

So, what's the first week of the boring season have to offer us? Why, Resident Evil Afterlife, in 3-D no less! Huzzah for more Milla Jovovich zombie killing insanity! Huzzah for needless gimmicks! Huzzah for cinematic wastelands!

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