Although Fox's Machete took an early lead at the box office on Friday, Focus Features's The American cut it down on Saturday and Sunday to wind up as the weekend winner, according to studio estimates. The results for The American were nothing to hoist a flag over, however. The film earned just about $12.3 million for the first three days of the Labor Day holiday, according to the estimates, and should end up at around $15 million for the four days. Machete , the latest from director Robert Rodriguez, was close behind with $12.3 million and should also wind up with around $15 million. Sony's Takers , which took the box office championship last week, slipped to third place with $11.4 million, well ahead of The Last Exorcism, which dropped to fourth place with $7.7 million. Warner Bros., Going the Distance, starring Drew Barrymore, rounded out the top five with $7.1 million.

The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Box Office Mojo 1. The American , $12.9 million; 2. Machete, $12.3 million; 3. Takers , $11.4 million; 4. The Last Exorcism , $7.7 million; 5. Going the Distance , $7.1 million; 6. The Expendables , $7 million; 7. The Other Guys , $5.1 million; 8. Eat Pray Love, $4.8 million; 9. Inception , $4.7 million; 10. NANNY MCPHEE Returns , $3.8 million.

06/09/2010