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 Hollywood.com 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 Hollywood.com 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.”
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.
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, Hollywood.com 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 GrossesThis Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $108.3 $89.6 21
Year-to-date Revenue2012 2011 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $8,071 $7,867 +2.6 Year-to-date Attendance: +1.4%