Labor Day has never been a big banker at the box office, but this holiday weekend saw a boost over the last few years. But it wasn't because more people were buying tickets.
Ticket prices are up sharply this year, thanks in no small part to studios and theaters teaming up to charge you hefty fees for 3D and "enhanced" digital experiences. So, even though fewer people are headed to the movies, they're shelling out more per person.
George Clooney's The American held its ground at first place going into the Monday holiday, pulling in a few million dollars more for a quiet $16 million opening. Other newcomer Machete edged out Takers for second place, banking $14 million to date.
Of course, producers on The American have long since learned how well Clooney's politic-esque movies fare at the box office, and Machete was spawned by a small cult outcry from fans of Grind House so it too was expected to draw only a tiny audience. Both movies checked in with modest $20 million budgets and look to be on track to turn modest profits.
Drew Barrymore and Justin Long didn't make so hot a showing. Even with a fourth holiday weekend day rolled in, Going the Distance didn't go very far at all. With only $8 million against its $32 million budget, the cash distance remaining may seem a little further than producers had hoped for.
For the four-day weekend holiday sales estimates, check out the chart below: