After weeks of box office slump, things took a turn for the better with Looper and Hotel Transylvania ending September with a bang and a new record. Yes, Hotel Transylvania managed to grab $42.5 million on its debut weekend, a new best for September.
To find the previous September opening record holder we’d have to go all the way back to Sweet Home Alabama, the 2002 Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy that grossed $35.6 million during its first weekend. Now Hotel Transylvania holds the current record unadjusted for inflation since Sweet Home Alabama would have $49.2 million today. Actually when taking inflation into account, Rush Hour is still the September record holder with $56.4 million ($33 million unadjusted in 1998).
But enough with the records, Hotel Transylvania finished the weekend well above even the most optimistic predictions and that’s what matters. A $42.5 million opening is a great start, even more so when Sony spent only $85 million on the film (considering the average going rate for an animation these days is north of $150 million most of the time). Hotel Transylvania is also good news for Adam Sandler, this being the 2nd best opening of his career, not to mention a return to form after two consecutive box office disappointments (Jack & Jill and That’s My Boy).
Just as impressive was Looper in 2nd place with $20.8 million. The sci-fi time-travel R-rated thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis was made for just $30 million so chances are it will more than double that number by the end of its run. I expect good legs from this in the coming weeks, so $70 million should be within reach eventually.
End of Watch finished in 3rd with $7.8 million. Made for only $7 million, this grossed almost 4 times that in just 10 days, $25.9 million to be more precise.
Clint Eastwood was 4th in Trouble with the Curve, $7.2 million for a new total of $23.4 million. Meanwhile House at the End of the Street rounded out the top 5 with $7.1 million and a total of $22.1 million after 10 days.
In limited release (335 theaters) Pitch Perfect collected $5.1 million, good for 6th place while the much wider released (2515 theaters) Won’t Back Down nabbed only $2.6 million in 10th place.