Weekend Forecast for September 3-5, 2010

By Reagen Sulewski

September 3, 2010

He's a terrible influence on her.

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One of the unlikelier films to hit major release in some time, Machete is an example of that rare-but-becoming-more-common genre of films, the spin-off. Starting life as a fake trailer in the middle of the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino shlockfest double feature of Grindhouse, the inherent awesomeness of Danny Trejo wandering around killing people with a machete struck so many people as a good idea that it was basically demanded into existence. Maybe The Secret isn't bullshit after all.

Rodriguez directs along this expansion of that idea, which sees Trejo as an ex-Federale on the run from a Mexican drug kingpin (Steven Seagal! I like this already), who's shot and scapegoated for the attempted assassination of a Texas state senator (Robert DeNiro) in the midst of a tough-on-immigrants political campaign, involving “anchor babies”. That's right, it's topical, dammit!

Also along for the ride in this film are Cheech Marin as an ass-kicking Catholic priest, Jessica Alba as a love interest, Don Johnson as a crooked US Marshall (Nash Bridges reunion!), Michelle Rodriguez, and Lindsay Lohan as a stripper. Of course she is.

Only sort-of tongue-in-cheek, Machete follows in the recent trend of extreme fan-service films, like Snakes on a Plane, Piranha 3D, and to a smaller extent, Black Dynamite (which never got the wide release it really deserved). And then there's Grindhouse itself, which opened to $11 million three years ago. Obviously this kind of thing has a pretty limited audience, so expecting Danny Trejo to become a new action star off the back of this release is short-sighted. He should enjoy his day in the sun however, with around a $10 million opening weekend.


For some unfathomable reason, last weekend's two releases really tickled the fancy of audiences, with both Takers and The Last Exorcism earning $20 million (Takers officially won the weekend but it's as close to a tie as these things get). In Takers' case, it does seem to prove the recent adage that if you put enough names above the title, people will assume that there's at least something worthwhile in the film. In fact, this might be the main takeaway from late summer.

Meanwhile, The Last Exorcism wrenched a little more life out of the fakeumentary horror concept that exploded last fall with Paranormal Activity. Gimmicks continue to reign this year. In contrast to last year's version, this film comes pre-hyped and seems unlikely to repeat that film's remarkable run. Look for both of last week's top two films to fall under $11 million this weekend, with The Last Exorcism more in the $9 million range.

As summer wraps up, few other films are still around to make any kind of significant box office noise. The Expendables is the only other film likely to earn more than $5 million this weekend, and it should limp across the $100 million mark in a week or two. The Other Guys crossed that same milestone mid-week, but should top out around $115 million. The most impressive figure out there, then, is Inception's $270 million-plus in the bank, though it's not going to hit the magical $300 million mark, and will stick as the fourth-highest grossing film of the summer behind Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2, and Eclipse.

Forecast: Weekend of September 3-5, 2010
Number of
Changes in Sites
from Last
Gross ($)
1 Going the Distance 3,030 New 12.6
2 Takers 2,206 0 10.8
3 Machete 2,670 New 10.1
4 The American 2,823 New 9.5
5 The Last Exorcism 2,874 0 9.4
6 The Expendables 3,398 0 5.3
7 The Other Guys 2,607 -574 4.1
8 Eat Pray Love 2,663 -445 4.0
9 Inception 1,704 -366 3.0
10 The Switch 1,885 -132 2.8

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