Traditionally, studios don’t like to put out movies on Labor Day, because traditionally, those movies don’t do very well. So the weekend instead becomes a repository for various odds and sods, either films where little was invested or duds they want to shuffle off before heading into the fall prestige season. By that modest measure, two openers enjoyed considerable success: The muted George Clooney thriller The American, by no means the commercially-minded spy actioner its trailer suggests, took first place with $16.4 million over the four-day weekend, while the exploitation throwback Machete, a lurid expansion of a fake trailer on Grindhouse, pulled in $14 million over the same period. Given that both movies fell under a quasi-independent $20 million budget range, they’re well on the road to profitability. The same can’t be said of the Drew Barrymore-Justin Long rom-com Going The Distance, which opened in fifth with a tepid $8.6 million, despite being a better-than-average romantic comedy. (Where were the folks who pushed the dismal likes of The Bounty Hunter to a $20 million open?)
In limited release, the second half of the Jacques Mesrine biopic, Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1, predictably fell off the already modest pace set by Mesrine: Killer Instinct last weekend, taking a mere $3,000 per screen on 31 screens. Performing better (if not brilliantly) was Zhang Yimou’s Blood Simple remake A Woman, A Gun, And A Noodle Shop, which enjoyed $7,250 per screen on five screens.
For more detailed numbers, visit Box Office Mojo.