Weekend Box Office: Labor Pains

Despite the holiday, not too many people bothered to show up at the multiplexes this weekend. Instead, they chose to take part in those time-honored American traditions of spending time with the family, enjoying outdoor cook-outs, and freaking out about hurricanes. Ah, can’t you just taste the overreaction? Despite the studios ushering three fairly sizable pictures into the game, none of them made all that much money. The summer is definitely over, as far as the box office is concerned.

A newbie took the Number One spot, however. ‘The American,’ a moody thriller starring George Clooney as an American hitman abroad, brought in $16.3 million. (The movie technically opened on Wednesday, and it’s total haul was $19.5 million.) The film was far from a critical home run, and many suspected that its leisurely pace and art house sensibilities would deter more mainstream audiences. But it’s hard to keep Clooney down. The star seems to have pulled another hit out of his hat, despite its “difficult” tone.

Another new entry, Robert Rodriguez’s Mexploitation flick ‘Machete,’ took the second place. For a lot of the weekend, it was pegged to come in third, behind ‘Takers’. Austin radio wingnut Alex Jones made several proclamations that the movie (which pretty much has two modes: crass and dull) would bring about an all-out “race war.” What Jons failed to register is that people have to actually, you know, see the movie for it to charge them politically enough to start such a race war that clearly didn’t happen. At #2, it made $14 million, which is about $13 million more than it deserved. Look for it to sink like a stone next weekend.

Last weekend’s big hits, ‘Takers‘ and ‘The Last Exorcism,’ claimed the third and fourth spots respectively. ‘Going the Distance,’ the third major Hollywood film to open this weekend (on the most amount of screens, to boot – in over 3,000 cinemas), pretty much flopped. At #4, the Drew Barrymore-Justin Long rom-com brought in $8.6 million. Maybe this was due to its R-rating, or maybe the two stars just aren’t a huge draw anymore, no matter how much ink has been spilled about them in the tabloids. I’ve heard the movie is actually pretty good, from several folks. Did anybody see/enjoy it?

The rest of the list is pretty much your standard stuff, without much to report. ‘Piranha 3D,’ one of my favorite movies of the summer, quietly exited the Top 10. ‘Inception,’ Christopher Nolan’s seemingly unstoppable dream world heist thriller, actually went up 22% this week, hanging tough at #9 with another $5.8 million. Its total box office gross now towers at $278.4 million. Something tells me that Christopher Nolan is sleeping very well at night.

Top 10:

01 ‘The American’ (Universal) – $16.3 million

02 ‘Machete’ (Fox) – $14 million

03 ‘Takers’ (Sony) – $13.5 million

04 ‘The Last Exorcism’ (Lionsgate) – $8.7 million

05 ‘Going the Distance’ (Warner Bros) – $8.6 million

06 ‘The Expendables’ (Lionsgate ) – $8.5 million

07 ‘The Other Guys’ (Sony) – $6.6 million

08 ‘Eat Pray Love’ (Sony) – $6.2 million

09 ‘Inception’ (Warner Bros) – $5.8 million

10 ‘Nanny McPhee Returns’ (Universal) – $4.6 million

1 comment

  1. Wayne

    Ya know, for a someone who LOVED the crapfest Pirahna (which pretty much has two modes: crass and dull)… how is it possible you didn’t enjoy Machete?

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