George Clooney’s ‘The American’ Triumphs Over Labor Day Box Office

'Machete' carves out a second-place finish, edging out 'Takers' over slow holiday weekend.

The Box-Office Top Five

#1 [movie id="436505"]“The American”[/movie] ($16.4 million)
#2 [movie id="426067"]“Machete”[/movie] ($14 million)
#3 [movie id="359489"]“Takers”[/movie] ($13.5 million)
#4 [movie id="451734"]“The Last Exorcism”[/movie] ($8.8 million)
#5 [movie id="423451"]“Going the Distance[/movie]” ($8.6 million)

As people said goodbye to summer across the country, box-office activity was relatively quiet throughout the Labor Day weekend — but many of the moviegoers who did manage to find their way into theaters made sure to honor the “American” way.

George Clooney’s “The American” was the weekend’s first-place finisher, yielding a respectable if not overly lucrative $16.4 million haul from Friday through Monday. The film got a head start on the competition with its Wednesday opening, bringing the moderately priced thriller’s total to $19.5 million in less than a week. Made on a reported $20 million budget, “The American” is nothing short of a modest success.

Hot on the heels of “The American” was “Machete,” the self-professed Mexploitation revenge flick from the deliciously deranged mind of co-director, producer and writer Robert Rodriguez. An extended version of the trailer filmed for Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse,” the Danny Trejo-starring “Machete” sliced and diced its way to a $14 million debut. Just like “The American,” “Machete” is virtually guaranteed to recoup its $20 million production budget, and the door is wide open for possible sequels to the R-rated action movie down the line.

Rounding out the weekend’s newcomers was “Going the Distance,” Drew Barrymore and Justin Long’s romantic comedy about a couple’s struggle to maintain a long-distance relationship. Long and Barrymore’s chemistry wasn’t enough to go the distance, however, with the rom-com settling for an $8.6 million fifth-place finish.

Last weekend’s top performers “Takers” and “The Last Exorcism” proved their staying power with $13.5 million and $8.8 million, respectively.

Upcoming Releases
Next weekend sees the return of Milla Jovovich as Alice in “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” the fourth entry in the video game movie franchise directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Machete” and “The American.”

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.

Likes pizza, punch and pie. Dislikes the Chitauri.
@roundhoward