Box Office: ‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ sets September record with $47.5M

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ bites off September record at the box office.

September has a new box office star in ”Hotel Transylvania 2.” The PG-rated animated pic earned a robust $47.5 million in its debut weekend, making it the top September opener of all time, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. ”It really is something the whole family can agree to see.The industry is seeing more and more films succeed “out of window” and if studios shift their release strategies, it may help save their top franchises.

After being skewered by analysts, the media, and anyone with an audience back in July when his Pixels burnt out early; Sandler is back with the same studio and a much different result. The previous record holder was ‘‘Hotel Transylvania’’ which opened with $42.5 million in 2012. ‘‘The Intern,’’ a PG-13-rated workplace comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, took second with $18.2 million. ‘‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’’ came in third with $14 million. Going into this weekend estimates had Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) Hotel Transylvania 2 falling below the original’s $42.5 million opening, but it looks like those estimates were way off. The family friendly animated comedy is on track to not only be Sandler’s highest opening ever, but the highest opening ever for the month of September. The film, which cost around $80 million to make, features the voices of Adam Sandler, Mel Brooks, Selena Gomez and Kevin James and is the only animated feature on the market until ”Peanuts” opens in November.

Significantly, 55 per cent were over 50-years-old — an audience that doesn’t typically rush out to see films on opening weekend. “Nancy Meyers is her own brand and I think that automatically accesses an audience who looks at it and thinks ‘this is a movie I want to see,’” said Jeff Goldstein, an executive vice-president at Warner Bros, of the veteran filmmaker known for films like It’s Complicated. I’ll get to the how and the why in a minute, but I also want to point out the success of another seemingly left-for-dead company in Warner Bros. (a division of Time Warner (NYSE:TWX)) The studio which had another weak summer picked up some momentum last week with Black Mass and now is seeing success from The Intern. The fact-based adventure film opened only on IMAX and premium large format 3D screens last weekend. ”It’s very difficult to know where a film is going to land when there’s no good comp for it. You can call it an experiment if you will,” said Nick Carpou, who heads Universal’s domestic distribution. ”When you add the two weekends together and the mid-weeks in between, sitting here at $23 million feels really good.” ”It’s really crowded out there,” Dergarabedian said. With a solid A CinemaScore, word of mouth should be strong in the coming weeks, despite the direct competition of next week’s “The Walk,” another vertiginous, event film that will take over IMAX screens.

Let me be clear, Karasyov has a valid point in that going back to the well all the time “presents growing risk to film industry profitability,” (and in my opinion the TV networks are going to learn that soon), but for now he missed a key fact. Now as a life-long film fan, I love the summer box office season where week after week we have a new “it” film, but that’s also what’s killing the industry. This wasn’t a fluke either as Sony has made a niche for itself in this late September space. 2006’s Open Season, 2009’s Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, the original Hotel Transylvania and Meatballs’ 2013 sequel each opened during this weekend timetable and all above the $20 million mark.

Let Disney/Marvel (NYSE:DIS) keep the first weekend of May and the other studios can rotate the 4th of July, but don’t be naïve enough to think that’s all there is in play. The studio is actually taking a page out of Marvel’s playbook as its Captain America: The Winter Soldier soared in April, proving that was also fertile ground. Yes, Warner Bros. is using the summer for Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman, but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will have a March release date, whereas The Flash, Shazam and Cyborg are coming over multiple Aprils. The Intern and Black Mass are bridge films to get it to 2016 when the DC Comics line begins, and the bridge is currently the sturdiest it has been in a while.

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