‘Hotel Transylvania 2′ surprises with $47.5 million, sets September record

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Hotel Transylvania 2′ surprises with $47.5 million, sets September record.

The animated “Hotel Transylvania 2″ made $47.5 million in the U.S. and Canada over the weekend to become the biggest September movie opening of all time. The movie’s debut bested expectations and the opening of the original “Hotel Transylvania,” which opened to $42.5 million in 2012 – a record then for September that’s now been beaten by the sequel.Sony Corp.’s feature “Hotel Transylvania 2,” a sequel to the vampire-themed 2012 original, led the North American box office on its debut, outdrawing two other new movies. The sequel, released by Sony’s Columbia Pictures label, launched with a robust haul that far exceeded the studio’s expectations and beat industry projections, which had the film debuting with $32 million to $37 million. It hasn’t fared well with critics, however, and one of the more generous reviews came from Charles Solomon, writing for The Times, who called it “more sentimental and less raunchy” than the original, while suggesting that Genndy Tartakovsky “is a talented director [who] deserves a more interesting assignment than trying to wring laughs out of bodily function jokes.” The first “Hotel Transylvania” brought in $43 million on its first weekend.

The first “Hotel Transylvania,” which had held the September record, opened with $43 million during this same weekend in 2012. “Transylvania 2″ marks the biggest debut for Sony Pictures Animation, which spent about $80 million to produce the film. Sandler, once among the most consistently commercial leading men in Hollywood, has suffered a series of flops like “Blended,” “That’s My Boy” and “Jack and Jill” that have inspired questions about his bankability. Industry analysts had noted strong competition the sequel might be facing from “The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.” But the family–friendly flick swooped past “The Scorch Trials,” which landed at No. 3 with a Friday estimate of $4.1 million, and easily sailed ahead of Warner Bros.’ “The Intern,” which took in an estimated $6.2 million out of the gate to place second. It also marks the third time in the last four weeks that a Sony Pictures film has been No. 1 at the box office, following the success of the thriller “The Perfect Guy” and the faith-based film “War Room.” “Transylvania 2” features the voices of such celebrities as Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez.

And Sony, which had its inner workings laid bare in last year’s hack attack by North Korea, was subjected to a summer that saw films like “Aloha” and Sandler’s video game comedy “Pixels” rejected by audiences. The Robert DeNiro-Anne Hathaway romantic comedy “The Intern” has drawn mixed reviews, scoring a 54 out of 100 on the review aggregation website Metacritic.com. It has been on the upswing in recent weeks, fielding modest hits like “War Room” and “The Perfect Guy,” but this is the studio’s biggest opening since “22 Jump Street” debuted to $57 million in June of 2014. Director Nancy Meyers’ first film since 2009 also snagged an A- CinemaScore, coming in second place, and The Intern drew a primarily female, older audience.

Meyers’ “It’s Complicated” in 2009 but outperforming “The Holiday” in 2006. “Maze Runner: Scorch Trials” slipped to third place, bringing its two-week total to $51.7 million. “Everest,” about an expedition to scale the world’s highest mountain, expanded in its second week beyond IMAX Corp. and other premium-format screens, collecting an additional, yet underwhelming $13 million in fourth place. Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro star in this Warner Bros. comedy aimed at older viewers, which is expected to finish the weekend with a total around $17 million. The $80 million production got off to a brisk start overseas, outpacing the first film’s results in parts of Latin America. “There are a lot of stories left to tell,” he added, saying he hoped there would be a third installment. “Adam and the filmmakers have created an unforgettable animated world that plays to audiences everywhere.” Domestically, it was a competitive weekend at the multiplexes. Last weekend, Baltasar Kormákur’s climbing adventure opened on IMAX and premium large-format screens, earning $7.2 million, and while Everest was expected to earn between $15 and $17 million when it went wide this weekend, it only made an estimated $13.1 million.

In other box-office news, “The Green Inferno,” a low-budget horror feature about a group of student travelers who find themselves held captive by a cannibalistic tribe, failed to burn up too many ticket sales. That figure is something of a disappointment given the A CinemaScore the film earned in limited release and the solid $7.2 million it generated in its inaugural weekend. Universal’s action thriller “Everest” finished Friday just a hair behind “Scorch Trials” with $4 million, pacing for a weekend total of $12 million from 3,006 locations. Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke star in the mountaineering adventure, which opened wide Friday after opening exclusively in Imax and large-format locations to $7 million last weekend.

It follows Jules (Anne Hathaway), the young founder of an Internet start-up, after she hires a 70-year-old intern (Robert De Niro). “Nancy Meyers has an instant credibility,” said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. executive vice president and general sales manager. “People connect to her concept and the story lines. That opening puts it in line with previous Meyers releases such as “Something’s Gotta Give” ($16.1 million debut) and “The Holiday” ($12.8 million start), both of which showed impressive endurance. Beyond that, I think good movies always find a strong audience and this movie was smart and well done.” Moviegoers responded positively to Hathaway and De Niro, giving the film an A-minus average, according to CinemaScore. Audiences were mostly older (55% older than 50) and female (62%). “The film absolutely delivered to its core audience,” Goldstein said. “That demographic doesn’t necessarily come out for opening day or opening weekend but they hear good things. …Word of mouth has clearly started to spread. The film from Universal Pictures, Working Title, Cross Creek Pictures and Walden Media opened in a limited number of premium theaters first, in hopes that positive buzz would support the wider release this weekend.

The horror producer‘s company Blumhouse limited the number of locations where the picture screened and leaned heavily on digital marketing to keep costs low. It will try a similar experiment with two more upcoming releases, including “Delirium,” a supernatural thriller with Topher Grace and Patricia Clarkson. It added $11.5 million, bringing its domestic total to $42.6 million. “The Green Inferno,” released by Blumhouse’s BH Tilt label in partnership with Focus Features’ High Top, opened at No. 9 with $3.5 million. In the art house realm, Broad Green bowed housing crisis drama “99 Homes” in two New York theaters, where it earned $32,807, for a per-screen average of $16,403.

Receipts were up nearly 30% from the year-ago period when “The Equalizer” and the first “Maze Runner” topped box office charts. “This is the perfect September weekend,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “We’re bridging the gap between summer and the fall movie season and audiences seem to be responding to the variety of very different entertainment.”

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