Who says George Clooney can't open a movie?  The Oscar winner has been criticized for not living up to the box office potential of some of his peers (unless they are joining him of course), but after a successful run with "Up in the Air," he's given Focus Features a Labor Day weekend gift with "The American."

Even with mixed reviews, "The American" found $3.9 million on Friday for what should be anywhere from $14-16 million over the 4-day frame.  That's not blockbuster, but considering how little press Clooney did for the picture, they'll take it.

In second place was the Robert Rodriguez low-budget thriller "Machete" with $3.8 million.  A spin-off from a fake "Grindhouse" trailer, the low budgeted thriller could find anywhere from $14-16 million over the holiday weekend.  That's a tad under expectations, but well within range of profitability.

The third slot went to "Takers" which had a hard fall to just $3 million Friday for what could also be a $10-13 million 4-day frame.  As of Friday, the ensemble gangster flick had around $30 million in the bank.

"The Last Exorcism" and "Going the Distance" were battling it out for the fourth and fifth slots with $2.3 million and $2.2 million respectively.
  That's a horrifying drop for the Lionsgate thriller and a big disappointment for Warner Bros. which moved the rom com back a week from its original release date for a better opportunity in the marketplace.  

Look for continuing box office updates as the holiday weekend progresses on HitFix.