1. The American - $12.2M - $16.9M
2. Takers - $11.5M - $37.9M
3. Machete - $11.3M - $11.3M
4. The Last Exorcism - $7.6M - $32.3M
5. Going The Distance - $6.8M - $6.8M
6. The Expendables - $6.7M - $92.3M
7. The Other Guys - $5.4M - $106.8M
8. Eat Pray Love - $4.8M - $68.9M
9. Inception - $4.5M - $277.1M
10. Nanny McPhee Returns - $3.5M - $23.6M
Labour day weekend is generally noted as one of the quietest of the entire cinematic release calendar. Kids are getting ready to return to school, families are getting in one more trip thanks to the long weekend.
Our first new release of the weekend actually opened on Wednesday. One assumes this was to give the folks heading out for the weekend a chance to see The American. George Clooney stars as the titular character, a long-time assassin taking on one last job in Italy. What could go wrong? Directed by Anton Corbijn, who won acclaim with his Ian Curtis/Joy Division biopic, Control, The American was an interesting sell for the studio. The film is not action packed, taking a more slow burn-ratchet up the tension approach. Consequently, those going in expecting a remake of The Killer, were disappointed - and that is perhaps reflected in its 61% rating at RottenTomatoes.
The film got off to an ok start on Wednesday, with a $1.7M haul. When competition entered the fray on Friday, mainly in the guise of Machete, The American held well with another $3.8M added to its total. The gap between the two films widened as the weekend went on, leaving The American within a stone's throw of its $20M production budget. There's already talk of another Oscar nomination for Clooney and that could serve the film well in the coming weeks.
With a neck and neck finish last weekend, the crime drama Takers eventually won the weekend once actuals had been issued on Monday. A week later and the film saw a painful 64% drop on a Friday to Friday basis (a much stronger 43% for the weekend as a whole) mainly thanks to Machete being aimed at the same demographic, one assumes. The good news for Takers is that Saturday saw the film recoup its $32M production budget so from here on out, it's all good news. Earlier in the week an idea for a prequel was already being bandied about.
What started off as fake trailer in front of the Tarantino/Rodriguez flick Grindhouse comes full circle this weekend. Danny Trejo reprises the role of Machete with a slightly upgraded cast (Robert De Niro, Steven Seagal, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez). The story sees Trejo double crossed and left for dead, only for him to seek revenge in the most bloodiest of ways. With Snakes on a Plane, Scott Pilgrim and Piranha 3D (not to mention the original Grindhouse) being recent 'cult' disappointments, more than a few people were interested in seeing how Machete would fair.
Narrowly besting The American on Friday, Machete couldn't quite keep up the pace over the remainder of the weekend - losing to Takers on Saturday according to early estimates, a trend that continued through Sunday. While it's still early days, initial signs point to this being a minor one-weekend wonder. Incidentally, Machete's opening take of $11M is actually around what the much hyped Grindhouse opened to in 2007. Chances are this one will act a lot like a horror movie and see a big second frame drop off but that'll be of little consequence as it cost just $25M to produce. Expect Eli Roth's Thanksgiving, another Grindhouse faux trailer, to enter pre-production before the end of the year.
The Friday to Friday fall for The Last Exorcism was even worse than Takers (a shocking 76%) but the ultra low budgeted horror flick has long since done what it came to do - make money fast. Made for just $2M, the film was already in profit by last Friday afternoon. Expect a domestic finish of around $45M, with equal or better success internationally.
Our final new release this weekend was expected by some to take the top spot. Going The Distance is a rom-com starring Justin Long and Drew Barrymore and sees the couple attempting to maintain a long distance relationship (elements of the film are said to be based on the couple's real-life relationship) with all the ups and downs that entails. Sadly couples gave this a wide berth with Going The Distance making just $2.2M on Friday, worsened by the fact that the film was out at over 3,000 location, the most of the new releases.
What went wrong? Unusually for a rom-com, the makers decided to accept (chase even) an R-rating, instantly reducing the potential audience size, which can't not have harmed the film's weekend take. The budget on this was $32M, a figure the film will be lucky to see a third of before leaving the top ten. Chances are Warner Bros. are really regretting that R-rated decision about now.
The Expendables drops just 29% in its fourth weekend on general release. The ensemble action flick should see $100M sometime within the next fourteen days. After a longer than expected wait, this weekend saw the first international figures for the film and they did not disappoint - The Expendables currently sits on a $90M international tally. A $250M finish is not out of the question.
Marking his fifth $100M film of his career, Will Ferrell's The Other Guys finishes its fifth weekend with $106M. The comedy is pretty much done and dusted at this point and it's unfortunate that the film cost so much to produce ($100M) as it'll need to rely on the international market to cover print and ad costs, along with supplying the film with some profit. Going The Distance didn't really offer Eat Pray Love much competition this weekend as the Julia Roberts' film is starting to look a little long in the tooth. The $60M novel adaptation has so far made $68M and has yet to see a release onto the international market where an additional $60M+ isn't out of the question.
Having been in the top ten for two months, Inception may be looking upon its last weekend in the top ten. The film dropped just 7% from last weekend. The Christopher Nolan thriller is now the fifth biggest film of 2010, after Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland and Twilight: Eclipse. Nanny Mcphee rounds us out this weekend. The Emma Thomson family film has a total global box office of $86.5M from a budget of $35M.