WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

1Resident Evil: Afterlife
2Takers
3The American
4Machete
5Going the Distance
6The Other Guys
7The Last Exorcism
8The Expendables
9Inception
10Eat, Pray, Love

Labor Day weekend presented some surprising results at the box office last week as the George Clooney thriller The American did much better than expected and beat out both newcomers Machete starring Danny Trejo and the romantic comedy Going the Distance for the number one spot on the charts. Early last weekend it looked like the heist film Takers was going to steal the number two position, but by Monday morning the Robert Rodriguez movie had cut its way to second place while the Drew Barrymore comedy barely cracked the top five. Now with the highly anticipated fourth chapter of the popular Resident Evil series, Resident Evil: Afterlife opening this weekend it was almost inevitable that we would be crowning a new box office champ.

Debuting at number one this week is in fact the long awaited fourth chapter of the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil: Afterlife, based on the popular video game. Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) returns in the lead role and is accompanied by a talented cast of actors, which includes Ali Larter (Heroes), Wentworth Miller (Prison Break), Boris Kodjoe (Surrogates) and Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy). The movie made $8,648 on each of its 3,203 screens for a decent opening weekend total of $27.7 million, which is almost half of its initial $60 million production budget.

Moving up one place from last week to number two is the urban heist film Takers. The movie boasts an all-star cast, which includes Paul Walker (Fast & Furious), Idris Elba(The Losers), Matt Dillon (Armored), Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith), Michael Ealy (Miracle at St. Anna), Jay Hernandez (Quarantine), Chris Brown (Stomp the Yard), T.I. (American Gangster), and Zoe Saldana (Avatar). While the movie dropped almost 43.9% from last week and was seen in 15 less theaters, it earned roughly $2,784 on each of its 2,191 screens for a weekend total of $6.1 million. Now in just three weeks the movie has made over $48 million earning back its entire $32 million production cost and then some.

Falling two places from its number one debut last week to number three this week is the international espionage thriller starring Oscar winner George Clooney (Syriana), entitled The American. While the movie dropped almost 55.3% from last week, it was actually added in ten theaters and earned roughly $2,081 on each of its 2,833 screens for a weekend total of $5.8 million. Now in just two weeks the movie has made over $26 million earning back its entire $20 million production budget.

Falling two places from its debut last week to number four is the long-awaited motion picture from visionary director Robert Rodriguez called Machete, which is based on the short film that was featured in his and Quentin Tarantino's movie Grindhouse. The film stars PEwKBywCY6r6Aw||Danny Trejo} (Heat) in the title role and also features a colorful cast of accomplished actors including Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four), Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar), Jeff Fahey (Lost), Cheech Marin (The Perfect Game), Don Johnson (Miami Vice), Steven Seagal (Half Past Dead), Lindsay Lohan (Mean Girls) and Oscar winner Robert De Niro (Raging Bull). While the movie dropped an astonishing 63.2% from last week, it was actually added in eight theaters and earned roughly $1,568 on each of its 2,678 screens for a weekend total of $4.2 million. Now in two weeks the movie has made about $20.8 million earning back its entire $20 million production budget.

Rounding off the top five for the second week in a row is the romantic comedy about long distance relationships called Going the Distance. The movie boasts an all-star cast of comedic actors including Drew Barrymore (The Wedding Singer), Justin Long (Live Free or Die Hard), Christina Applegate (Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore), Ron Livingston (Office Space), Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Rob Riggle (The Hangover) and Jason Sudeikis (Saturday Night Live). While the movie dropped almost 44.3% from last week, it earned roughly $1,266 on each of its 3,030 screens for a weekend total of $3.8 million. Now in two weeks of release the movie has only made around $14 million, which is not even close to earning back its $32 million production budget.

Doing well in limited release this week is the romantic comedy The Romantics starring Katie Holmes (Batman Begins), Anna Paquin (True Blood), Josh Duhamel (Transformers), Malin Akerman (Watchmen), Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring) and Candice Bergen (Gandhi). The movie debuted on only two screens but earned $22,200 on each for a weekend total of $44,400.

Next week will see the opening of four highly anticipated new films in wide release and three in limited release.

First up is the new film from actor turned director Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), which is already earning Oscar buzz called The Town. The bank robbery film that takes place in Boston stars a stellar cast of actors which in addition to Affleck himself includes Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Blake Lively (Gossip Girl), Rebecca Hall (Please Give) and Oscar winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation).

Also opening next week is the Scarlet Letter themed high school comedy Easy a starring Emma Stone (Zombieland, Superbad). The film's talented cast also includes Oscar nominees Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), Patricia Clarkson (Pieces of April) and Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) as well as Lisa Kudrow (Friends), Penn Badgley ((Gossip Girl), Amanda Bynes (Hairspray) and screen legend Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange).

Next up is a new supernatural thriller based on a story written by the film's producer, director M. Night Shyamalan, called Devil. The film stars Chris Messina (Greenberg), Geoffrey Arend ((500) Days of Summer), Caroline Dhavernas (The Switch), Jacob Vargas (Death Race), Bokeem Woodbine (Ray) and Matt Craven (The Clearing).

Finally, opening in wide release next week is the 2010 Sundance Film Festival smash-hit movie, Catfish. The documentary follows filmmakers Henry Joost and Rel Schulman as they chronicle photogropher Nev Schulman's budding long distance romance with a girl he met on Facebook who may be hiding a big secret of her own.

Opening in limited release next week is the black comedy Leaves of Grass from writer/director Tim Blake Nelson. In addition to Nelson (The Incredible Hulk) the film also stars Oscar nominee Edward Norton (American History X), Oscar winner Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking) and Modern Family star Ty Burrell.

Also opening in limited release is the new drama Never Let Me Go from One Hour Photo director Mark Romanek. The film stars Oscar nominees Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Keira Knightley (Pirates of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl), as well as the new Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield (Untitled Spider-Man Reboot).

Finally, opening in limited release next week is the directorial debut of Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), entitled Jack Goes Boating. In addition to Hoffman the film also stars Oscar nominee Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone) and John Ortiz (Public Enemies). So please check back in seven days to see who comes out on top at the box office next week!