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The fall movie season got off to a typically slow start. Labor Day weekends are never legendary for business, so it was anyone’s guess which movie would make the top spot. It turned out to be The American, a dramatic thriller starring George Clooney that made $16.3 million in five days. Aside from the “Oceans” series, Clooney is not actually a box office bonanza. His films are typically artsy or left of mainstream and his stardom stems from work on the television show E.R., a stint playing Batman, and his good looks.
Machete, a little advertised film from Robert Rodriguez managed to overcome Takers for the number two spot. The Mexsploitation film was a spinoff of a fake trailer from Grindhouse which made $11.5 million its opening weekend in 2007. Machete made $11.4 million despite strong reviews and a 73% on RottenTomatoes.com.
Going the Distance suffered the most from the complete lack of marketing going into the weekend. It earned $6.8 million and a fifth place finish despite starring Drew Barrymore, who is a pretty solid draw most of the time. It was preceded by The Last Exorcism which no doubt fell 62 percent this week due to poor word of mouth. Takers, which made virtually the same amount as The Last Exorcism last week only dropped 44 percent.
The Top Ten
The Expendables is crawling towards the $100 million mark, while The Other Guys successfully crossed the milestone. Inception continues to amaze, clinging to the number nine position and nearing $280 million domestically. Both Eat Pray Love and Nanny McPhee Returns are doing mild chick flick and kid flick business respectively.
The most recognizable movie of September will release next week. Resident Evil: Afterlife (in 3D) opens at 2,800 cinemas. The entire jacket of the “Resident Evil” franchise, three in all, has grossed $141 million. Each film makes around $50 million in business, but the new entry may or may not get a bump from 3-D technology. Marketing boasted of the best 3-D since Avatar, but Comic-Con footage was vastly underwhelming. Since then, a barrage of clips and media has been released to regain momentum.