Sony’s ‘Hotel Transylvania’ Opens With $43 Million

The time-travel tale “Looper” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an hit man working for a mob that operates in the future. Photographer: Alan Markfield/Sony Pictures Entertainment via Bloomberg

The animated film “Hotel Transylvania,” about a resort for monsters and their families, set a record for a September opening in U.S. and Canadian theaters, bringing in $43 million for Sony Corp.

The science-fiction thriller “Looper,” also from Sony, was second in its debut with $21.2 million in ticket sales, researcher Box-Office said today in an e-mailed statement. “Hotel Transylvania” topped analysts’ estimates and overtook the record set by “Sweet Home Alabama” with its $35.7-million debut in 2002.

Sony’s one-two finish will keep the studio in first place in domestic 2012 ticket revenue. Culver City, California-based Sony had $1.28 billion in sales as of Sept. 23, giving it a narrow lead over Time Warner Inc.’s $1.26 billion, according to Box Office Mojo. Sony’s biggest film this year was “The Amazing Spider-Man,” which has generated $751.7 million in worldwide sales, according to Mojo.

“Sony really helped the industry this weekend by getting the momentum going,” Paul Dergarabedian, president of Box-Office, said in an interview. “This was great news for the industry, which has been lacking good news for the last month or so.”

Dracula Party

In “Hotel Transylvania,” Dracula hosts a gathering of famous monsters, including Frankenstein, the Mummy and some werewolves to celebrate his daughter’s birthday. The celebration is complicated by the unexpected arrival of a human guest who falls for the vampire’s daughter. The film features the voices of Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Selena Gomez.

The film was expected to have $25.8 million in opening-weekend sales, the estimate of Box Office Mojo.

The time-travel tale “Looper” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a hit man working for a mob that operates in the future, when time travel has become possible. To avoid prosecution, the mob sends victims back in time to be killed by a special team of assassins. Gordon-Levitt’s character is tasked with killing his future self. Bruce Willis plays the older version of Levitt’s character. “Looper” was expected to take in $16.1 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Cops, Gangs

The police drama “End of Watch” fell to third from first with $8 million. The film, from Open Road Pictures, stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as Los Angeles police officers who run afoul of a vicious gang. The film has taken in $26.2 million since it opened on Sept. 21.

Clint Eastwood’s “Trouble with the Curve” from Warner Bros., was fourth with sales of $7.5 million. In the film, Eastwood plays aging professional baseball scout Gus Lobel, who tries to keep his job while battling failing eyesight and a trend toward computer-based scouting. His daughter, played by Amy Adams, tries to help by accompanying Lobel on an important scouting trip. Justin Timberlake co-stars as a washed-up pitcher who is attracted to the young woman.

“House at the End of the Street,” a horror film from Relativity Media LLC, collected $7.2 million to put it in fifth place in its second weekend. Jennifer Lawrence stars as a teen who learns too much about a double homicide committed years earlier in the house next door. Elisabeth Shue is featured as the girl’s mother.

“Pitch Perfect” from Universal opened in sixth place with $5.2 million. Anna Kendrick stars in the musical comedy as Beca, who upon arriving at college is persuaded to join an all-girls singing group. Dergarabedian called it a “huge” debut given it played in just 335 theaters.

“Finding Nemo 3D” placed seventh, with $4.1 million for Walt Disney Co. The re-release of the 2003 animated hit is the fifth release in Disney’s plan to re-issue classic films in a three-dimensional format.

Weekend revenue for the top 12 films rose 21 percent to $108.3 million from the year-earlier period, said. Domestic film sales this year have risen 2.6 percent to $8.1 billion, with attendance up 1.4 percent.

The amounts below are based on actual ticket sales from Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 and estimates for today.

                       Rev.            Avg./   Pct.   Total
Movie                 (mln)  Theaters  Theater Chg.   (mln)  Wks
 1 HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA   $43.0  3,349  $12,840   --    $43.0    1
 2 LOOPER                21.2  2,992    7,086   --     21.2    1
 3 END OF WATCH           8.0  2,780    2,878  -39     26.2    2
 4 TROUBLE WITH CURVE     7.5  3,212    2,344  -38     23.7    2
 5 HOUSE AT THE END       7.2  3,083    2,320  -42     22.2    2
 6 PITCH PERFECT          5.2    335   15,560   --      5.2    1
 7 FINDING NEMO (3-D)     4.1  2,639    1,541  -58     36.5    3
 8 RESIDENT EVIL          3.0  2,381    1,260  -55     38.7    3
 9 THE MASTER             2.75   856    3,207  -37      9.6    3
 10 WON’T BACK DOWN       2.7  2,515    1,074   --      2.7    1
 11 DREDD (3-D)           2.3  2,557      892  -64     10.9    2
 12 THE POSSESSION        1.4  1,618      891  -45     47.5    5

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $108.3 $89.6 21

Year-to-date Revenue

2012 2011 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $8,071 $7,867 +2.6 Year-to-date Attendance: +1.4%
(Corrects ‘Spider-Man’ sales in third paragraph.)
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