After nearly two months in the dumper, Hollywood finally got some good news at the box office this weekend, as "Hotel Transylvania" led a record-setting revival with $43 million for the biggest opening since "The Dark Knight Rises" way back in July.
That figure also represents the biggest September debut in box office history, easily besting the $36.6 million earned by "Sweet Home Alabama" in 2002.
And "Hotel Transylvania" wasn't alone in setting records. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's "Looper," which came in second with a strong $21.2 million domestically, also is on track for an estimated $24 million in China, making it the first time in history an international release has earned more in China than in the United States. "Looper" was co-produced and co-financed by China's DMG Entertainment, which has been giving it a big media push overseas.
Meanwhile, the low-budget musical comedy "Pitch Perfect" blew away expectations, bringing in $5.2 million despite being released in only 335 theaters, for a per screen average of over $15 thousand. "Pitch Perfect," which has been hyped to younger audiences through a strong, targeted word of mouth viral campaign, expands to wide release next weekend.
Overall, the box office was up nearly 20% over last year's figures, welcome news for an industry that has been cranking out one flop after another for weeks on end. Here's a look at this week's full box office report, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:
1. "Hotel Transylvania" - $43m (our review)
2. "Looper" - $21.2m (our review)
3. "End of Watch" – $8m (our review)
4. "Trouble with the Curve" – $7.5m (our review)
5. "House at the End of the Street" – $7.2m (our review)
6. "Pitch Perfect" - $5.2m (our review)
7. "Finding Nemo" - $4.1m
8. "Resident Evil: Retribution" – $3m (our review)
9. "The Master" – $2.7m (our review)
10. "Won't Back Down" - $2.7m (our review)