Friday Report: 'Machete,' 'American' Stake Modest Claim

by Brandon Gray

September 4, 2010

The Mexican edged out The American on Friday, though the latter is poised to come out on top as the weekend progresses. Neither picture generated much excitement, and overall business was typically lackluster for the start of Labor Day weekend.

Ripping onto around 3,500 screens at 2,670 locations, Machete mustered an estimated $3.9 million, which was more than Gamer's $3.3 million, Babylon A.D.'s $3.1 million and Crank's $3.3 million among recent Labor Day action movies. Machete's source, Grindhouse, pulled in $5 million on its opening day, while director Robert Rodriguez's last action movie, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, grossed $8.8 million on its first day back in Sept. 2003.

The American collected an estimated $3.8 million on approximately 3,200 screens at 2,823 locations, which was significantly greater than the past comparable Wednesday-opening Labor Day thrillers The Constant Gardener and Traitor. It also topped Bangkok Dangerous's $2.7 million and The International's $2.6 million. For star George Clooney, American was within his usual modest range: Leatherheads ($4.6 million), The Men Who Stare at Goats ($4.6 million), Syriana ($3.8 million), Michael Clayton ($3.3 million), etc.

Also opening, Going the Distance won't live up to its title, attracting an estimated $2.2 million on close to 3,300 screens at 3,030 locations. That was worse than the opening days of The Switch, Love Happens and A Lot Like Love as well as All About Steve ($3.5 million) from last Labor Day weekend. The previous romantic comedy on which Drew Barrymore had top billing, Fever Pitch, scored $4.5 million on its first day.

Among nationwide holdovers, Despicable Me had the smallest decline (down 14 percent), followed by Inception, which eased 20 percent to an estimated $1.15 million for a 50-day haul of $273.7 million. The Other Guys also held well, off 29 percent to an estimated $1.36 million for a $102.8 million tally in 29 days.

True to its genre and then some, The Last Exorcism suffered the steepest drop, down 76 percent to an estimated $2.3 million for a $27 million total in eight days. Takers gave up less ground but was still off a sharp 59 percent to an estimated $3.1 million for an eight-day take of $29.6 million. Avatar: Special Edition didn't gain any traction either, falling 54 percent to an estimated $570,000, though the movie's lifetime haul is $755.8 million.

The Expendables continued its solid run, dipping 39 percent to an estimated $1.66 million for an $87.2 million 22-day tally. Meanwhile, Eat Pray Love began trailing the total gross of last August's analogue, Julie & Julia, through the same point. It fell 38 percent to an estimated $1.34 million for a $65.4 million sum in 22 days.

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