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‘Hotel Transylvania’ Sets Mark With $42.5 Million in Sales

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 $42.5 million for Sony Corp.

The science-fiction thriller “Looper,” also from Sony, was second in its debut with $20.8 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. 27, 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 $261.5 million in domestic 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.”

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.

Sales Forecast

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 $7.8 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 million since it opened on Sept. 21.

Eastwood’s Curve

Clint Eastwood’s “Trouble with the Curve” from Warner Bros., was fourth with sales of $7.3 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 $7.1 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 $5.1 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 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 19 percent to $106.7 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 to Sept. 30.

                       Rev.             Avg./   Pct.  Total
Movie                 (mln) Theaters  Theater   Chg.  (mln)  Wks
 1 HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA $42.5   3,349   $12,697    --   $42.5    1
 2 LOOPER              20.8   2,992     6,952    --    20.8    1
 3 END OF WATCH         7.8   2,780     2,810   -41    26.0    2
 4 TROUBLE WITH CURVE   7.3   3,212     2,266   -40    23.5    2
 5 HOUSE AT THE END     7.1   3,083     2,310   -42    22.2    2
 6 PITCH PERFECT        5.1     335    15,371    --     5.1    1
 7 FINDING NEMO (3-D)   4.0   2,639     1,529   -58    36.4    3
 8 RESIDENT EVIL        3.0   2,381     1,254   -55    38.7    3
 9 THE MASTER           2.7     856     3,131   -39     9.6    3
10 WON’T BACK DOWN      2.6   2,515     1,035    --     2.6    1
11 DREDD (3-D)          2.4   2,557       925   -62    10.9    2
12 THE POSSESSION       1.4   1,618       842   -48    47.4    5

Top 12 Films Grosses

This Week Year Ago Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $106.7 $89.6 +19

Year-to-date Revenue

2012 2011 YTD YTD Pct. (mln) (mln) Chg. =================================== $8,069 $7,867 +2.6 Year-to-date Attendance: 1.4%

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