Talk about a monster movie!
Animated 3-D family film Hotel Transylvania debuted over the weekend at the top of the United States and Canadian box office with $43 million, setting an all-time record for a September opening of a movie.
Featuring the voices of Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez, the hotel opened way ahead of live-action science fiction flick Looper, which collected $21.2 million between Friday and Sunday for second place.
Strong results for both movies helped resurrect a box office that has slowed over several weekd.
Domestic grosses for Hotel Transylvania were way ahead of distributor Sony Corporation’s prediction for at least $25 million in North America. Another $8.1 million was made overseas for a global opening of $51.1 million.
“It’s absolutely an incredible result,” said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for the Sony Pictures studio. He said that the studio had hoped for a gross around $30 million. Even that, he observed, “in this market would have been extraordinary.”
Hotel Transylvania cost $85 million to produce.
Sony Pictures Animation premiered Hotel Transylvania at 1,700 venues overseas. It opened at No. 1 in Mexico, contributing $3.6 million from 525 screens. In Australia, it opened at No. 3, bringing in $2.2 million from 465 locations.
The movie’s opening North American gross was far ahead of the previous September record-holder, Sweet Home Alabama, which debuted at $35.65 million a decade ago. However, considering the higher ticket prices these days, Sweet Home Alabama sold more tickets.
As well, Sony distributed live-action time-travel tale Looper, starring Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt.
“Sony really kind of saved the day here, turning things around after a full month of less-than-stellar box office,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “The post-summer period didn’t exactly set the world on fire.”
Sony was able to distribute two movies that didn’t have overlapping audiences. That enabled it to take the step — unusual for a single studio — of opening two wide releases on the same weekend.
Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift opened in Italy this weekend, grossing an enormous $7.8 million at 906 theaters. Overall, the series entry made $8.7 million at 1,055 locations sites in four countries abroad. The family film sequel has made a cumulative foreign total of $693.9 million, thus becoming the highest-grossing animated movie ever released overseas.
Even after 17 weeks abroad, DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is still generating money. Over the weekend, it made $6.1 million at 1,514 locations in 28 foreign countries. Overseas, it’s made a total of $422.7 million, with openings in Germany and Austria scheduled this week.
Pixar’s Brave made $5.2 million in this, its 15th overseas weekend, in 55 countries. The total foreign gross now stands at $281.9 million.
Distributed abroad by Universal, Laika Entertainment’s ParaNorman collected $2.3 million at 1,900 venues in 36 countries for a foreign total of $32.4 million.