Top-grossing films for the weekend of Sept. 25-27

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

“Hotel Transylvania 2” beat the record set by its predecessor for best box-office opening in the month of September, debuting this weekend with an impressive $47.5 million in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada. Fueled by families hungry for kid-friendly fare, Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 2 bit off the top September opening of all time with a North American debut of $47.5 million, not accounting for inflation.

That trumps expectations for the animated sequel, and puts it on track to outperform the original “Hotel Transylvania,” which opened in 2012 with $42.5 million and went on to gross $148.3 million domestically. The sequel is Sony’s biggest opening of the year and Sandler’s best movie opening in a decade, only just falling short of being his career best, which remains 2005’s The Longest Yard that bowed with $47.6 million.

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. The children’s movie features a voice cast that includes Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez, and its strong opening is a much-needed boost for its studio, Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures Entertainment. “The Intern,” released by Time Warner Inc. Sandler voices Dracula in the film which he co-wrote and co-produced and which also stars the voice talent of Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg and Kevin James. 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.

TWX 0.37 % ’s Warner Bros. and starring Anne Hathaway as a high-performing boss and Robert De Niro as her unlikely intern, opened in second place with a healthy $18.2 million. Eli Roths’ The Green Inferno, a low budget horror film about a group of students whose plane crashes in the jungle where they’re taken captive by cannibals, opened with $3.5 million. Both movies, however, showed impressive staying power in subsequent weeks. “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.

The Peter Pan origins story opened in Australia two weeks ahead of its North American launch in order to take advantage of school holidays, earning $1.5 million. The Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro comedy “The Intern,” from Time Warner Inc.’s TWX, +0.37% Warner Bros., enjoyed a solid opening weekend, raking in $18.2 million. “The film has enjoyed positive reviews and shows a different side of De Niro that is drawing accolades across the board and thus the film should play well for the long haul,” Rentrak analyst Paul Dergarabedian wrote. Comcast Corp.-owned CMCSA, -0.49% Universal Studios expanded its thrilling survival film “Everest” after its limited Imax-only IMAX, -0.18% opening last weekend, adding nearly 2,500 locations. 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.

For fourth at the box office, the film earned $13.1 million, taking its 10-day domestic draw to $23.1 million, and its worldwide gross to $96.8 million. That’s a solid swing for the filmmaker and Warner Bros., considering Meyers’ films target older adults, who don’t rush out on opening weekend but tend to deliver a long run. “This is a terrific result, and Nancy Meyers really is a brand,” said Warner Bros. executive vp domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein, adding that the $40 million movie played well in every part of the country. 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. Next weekend’s films to watch out for will be the Oscar hopeful “The Martian,” starring Matt Damon, directed by Ridley Scott and distributed by Fox. 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.

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. 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 movie, Roth’s first directorial effort in eight years, grossed a meek $3.5 million to come in No. 9, versus the $4 million-$5 million the filmmakers were hoping for. “Eli made a terrifying movie for die-hard horror fans that we were proud to have as the first release in our targeting experiment. We tried something new, got close to our goal and are excited to analyze the results and apply what we learn to the next movies under this model,” said John Hegeman, who oversaw the marketing campaign for BH Tilt.

Internationally, Scorch Trials zoomed past the $100 million mark, earning $28.4 million from 70 territories for a foreign total of $121.8 million and global cume of $173.5 million. At the specialty box office, Denis Villeneuve’s acclaimed crime-thriller Sicario continued to score as it expanded into a total of 59 theaters in its sophomore outing. But “Stonewall,” the Roland Emmerich-directed film that dramatizes the 1969 gay-rights riots at Stonewall Inn in New York, failed to draw art-house audiences following several poor reviews. The historical drama was a passion project for the openly gay director, and recounts the events surrounding the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a bloody standoff with police outside a Greenwich Village gay bar that is widely credited with kicking off the modern gay-rights movement.

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