Wow. You know the summer movie season’s really over—and I mean really over—when the top grossing film snags a measily $16.4 million over the weekend, even with an extra day to work with.
Sure, most of America had Labor Day off, but they sure weren’t spending it in the theaters. George Clooney’s artsy, slow-moving thriller The American topped the box office with that $16.4 mil haul I mentioned earlier. If you count just Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s receipts, The American made just a little more than $13 million—the lowest take for a No. 1 movie in two years. Machete, director Robert Rodriguez’ incredibly bloody, raunchy, politically-infused action film, finished second with $14 million, while Takers took third with around $13.5 million.
What lessons can we take from this week’s box-office lab? That Clooney, styled by some as the world’s last true movie star, doesn’t have the drawing power you’d expect from one. That fanboy films (think Machete, Kick A–, etc.) need to draw more than fanboys if they’re going to succeed. And that people have better things to do with a holiday weekend than munching artificially flavored popcorn.