`The American' Is Top Weekend Film in U.S. With $13 Million in Receipts

“The American,” a spy thriller from NBC Universal’s Focus Features, was the top movie in U.S. and Canadian theaters over the Labor Day weekend with $13 million in receipts.

Last week’s No. 1 film, the crime drama “Takers,” dropped to second, while “Machete” debuted in third place, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

“The American,” which stars George Clooney, is NBC’s first top weekend film since “Despicable Me,” which debuted on July 9. NBC ranks sixth among the major Hollywood studios in U.S. ticket sales this year, with $699 million as of Sept. 2, according to Box Office Mojo.

“‘The American’ had a fairly average opening for a George Clooney movie,” said Brandon Gray, president of Box Office Mojo, which is based in Sherman Oaks, California. “He’s one of those stars who gets more press than the box-office numbers would indicate.”

Gray said the $13 million first-place finish for the holiday weekend was “pretty standard.”

“It’s partly by design because Hollywood doesn’t release many appealing movies this time of year -- because it’s the last hurrah of summer, (and) people have other interests than movies,” he said. “It also becomes a bit of a self- fulfilling prophesy.”

‘Machete’

In the film, Clooney plays an assassin who is hiding out in Italy between assignments. His circumstances become more perilous after he is asked to build a weapon for another hit.

“Takers,” from Sony Corp., had $11.5 million in sales. The film features singer Chris Brown and Hayden Christensen, who leads a group of bank robbers being chased by a veteran detective played by Matt Dillon.

The Robert Rodriguez action film “Machete” had $11.3 million in receipts. Actor Danny Trejo plays a former Mexican police officer who seeks revenge against a group that betrayed him. The movie co-stars Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Robert De Niro and Don Johnson. The film is being distributed by News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox.

The horror film “The Last Exorcism” fell to fourth from second with $7.6 million. The movie, from Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., depicts a camera crew assigned to follow a preacher performing his final exorcism before quitting the practice.

‘Going the Distance’

“Going the Distance” opened in fifth place, generating $6.9 million for Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. The romantic comedy stars Drew Barrymore and Justin Long as a couple trying to maintain a relationship while one lives in Los Angeles and the other in Chicago.

Weekend sales for the top 12 films rose 0.26 percent to $81.3 million from $81.1 million in the year-ago period, Hollywood.com said. Year-to-date receipts total $7.7 billion, up 4.1 percent from $7.4 billion. Attendance has fallen 1.5 percent this year.

The following table has figures provided by studios to Los Angeles-based Hollywood.com. The amounts are based on actual ticket sales for Sept. 3-4 and estimates for yesterday.

Rev. Avg./ Pct. Total Movie (mln) Theaters Theater Chg. (mln) Wks ================================================================ 1 THE AMERICAN $13.0 2,604 $4,980 -- $16.1 1 2 TAKERS 11.5 2,206 5,190 -44 37.9 2 3 MACHETE 11.3 2,670 4,232 -- 11.3 1 4 THE LAST EXORCISM 7.6 2,874 2,627 -63 32.3 2 5 GOING THE DISTANCE 6.9 3,030 2,272 -- 6.9 1 6 THE EXPENDABLES 6.8 3,398 1,986 -29 92.3 4 7 THE OTHER GUYS 5.4 2,607 2,071 -14 106.9 5 8 EAT PRAY LOVE 4.9 2,663 1,821 -29 68.9 4 9 INCEPTION 4.5 1,704 2,658 -7 277.1 8 10 NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS 3.6 2,708 1,320 -24 22.4 3 11 THE SWITCH 3.1 1,885 1,628 -33 21.4 3 12 VAMPIRES SUCK 3.0 2,434 1,233 -43 32.3 3

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct.

(mln) (mln) Chg. ===================================

$81.3 $81.1 0.26

Year-to-date Revenue

2010 2009

YTD YTD Pct.

(mln) (mln) Chg. ===================================

$7,672 $7,369 4.1

Year-to-date Attendance: -1.45%

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael White in Los Angeles at mwhite8@bloomberg.net. Esmé E. Deprez in New York at edeprez@bloomberg.net.

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.