Leave it to a vampire to bring the box office back from the dead.
“Hotel Transylvania” enjoyed the biggest September opening ever with its $43 million debut. The box office was up 21 percent overall versus the same period last year, bucking the downward trend of the last few weeks with gusto. The cartoon comedy beat industry expectations and enjoyed the most successful opening ever for Sony Pictures Animation.
Sony nabbed the #2 spot over the weekend as well, with the sci-fi/action flick “Looper” debuting to the tune of $21.2 million. The weekend’s other new wide release, “Won’t Back Down,” had to settle for just $2.7 million. In limited release, “Pitch Perfect” took in $5.2 million in just 355 locations. By comparison, “Hotel Transylvania” was in 3,349 theaters.
“Hotel Transylvania” took the September opening record from the Reese Witherspoon comedy “Sweet Home Alabama,” which opened with $25.6 million 10 years ago without the benefit of pricier 3-D tickets. Featuring the voice talents of Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, “Hotel” easily beat the $13.4 million opening of the R-Rated Sandler/Samberg team-up “That’s My Boy” from earlier this year. It was the biggest Sandler opening ever aside from 2005′s “The Longest Yard.”
“Looper” reunited Joseph Gordon-Levitt with filmmaker Rian Johnson. The pair collaborated on the indie critical darling “Brick” in 2005. “Looper” has enjoyed positive reviews as well, in addition to a much larger $30 million budget. Featuring Bruce Willis as a time-traveling future version of Gordon-Levitt’s character, “Looper” performed better than Gordon-Levitt’s “Premium Rush” (which flopped in August) and Willis’ last sci-fi flick, 2009′s “Surrogates.”
Although Jake Gyllenhaal ruled the box office two weeks ago thanks to “End of Watch,” his sister Maggie wasn’t so lucky over the weekend. Her education drama “Won’t Back Down” was a commercial disappointment and failed to connect with critics. “The film upholds a dreary tradition of simplifying and sentimentalizing matters of serious social concern and dumbing down issues that call for clarity and creative thinking,” the New York Times’ A.O. Scott wrote.
The previous weekend’s #1 film, “End of Watch,” was #3 with another $8 million for a $26.2 million domestic total.
“Trouble With the Curve” was just behind with $7.5 million for a two-week $23.7 million total. Low-budget horror flick “House at the End of the Street,” starring Jennifer Lawrence, rounded out the top five with $7.1 million for a $22.2 million total.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Hotel Transylvania.”