The American led the daily box office for a second straight day on Thursday. The Focus release starring George Clooney grossed $1.47 million. The film was down 12 percent from Wednesday's opening day take. That represented a very nice daily hold for the film. The two-day gross for The American stands at $3.14 million. That was 6 percent stronger than the $2.96 million two-day start of Balls of Fury, which opened on the Wednesday before Labor Day back in 2007. If The American continues to run 6 percent stronger than Balls of Fury, it would be headed for a four-day weekend of $15 million and a six-day start of just over $18 million. However, The American could still take a hit (or receive a boost) over the weekend depending on how Fox's Machete ultimately performs.
Sony's Takers grossed $1.19 million to hold steady in second place. The ensemble crime film from Screen Gems was down 5 percent from Wednesday, which was a slightly larger decline than those experienced by most wide releases yesterday. Takers was the week's top film with $26.45 million as the film exceeded pre-release expectations by a significant amount. Furthermore, with the exception of Wednesday, the film held up relatively well this week. That could transfer into continued solid holding power going forward. Takers opened nearly on par with the $27.54 million first week gross of 2007 Screen Gems release This Christmas (which also featured Chris Brown and Idris Elba).
Lionsgate's The Last Exorcism remained in third place with $0.85 million. However, the PG-13 horror film once again experienced one of the day's larger percentage declines among wide releases as it was down 9 percent from Wednesday. The Last Exorcism finished in second for the week with $24.77 million. That was on the very high end of expectations, but unlike Takers, Last Exorcism has displayed poor holding power throughout the week. Even with help from the Labor Day holiday, The Last Exorcism looks to be in store for a massive second weekend decline this weekend.
Sony's Eat Pray Love and Lionsgate's The Expendables continued to claim fourth and fifth place respectively. Eat Pray Love was down 2 percent from Wednesday to gross $0.85 million, while The Expendables was down 4 percent from Wednesday to gross $0.76 million. Three-week totals stand at $64.10 million for Eat Pray Love and at $85.57 million for The Expendables. Look for The Expendables to clear the $90 million mark and for Eat Pray Love to clear the $70 million mark by the end of the four-day weekend.
Fox's reissue of Avatar grossed $0.32 million on Thursday, which gave it one of the day's higher per-location averages. The reissue was down 8 percent from Wednesday and grossed $5.52 million for the week. That was a respectable performance, especially since it played in a modest 812 locations this past week. After 37 weeks of domestic release the record-breaking total gross for Avatar now stands at $755.29 million (when including grosses from the reissue).