The 3-D monster flick, which features classic characters such as Dracula and the Mummy, had the biggest September opening ever with its robust debut of $43 million, according to an estimate from distributor
The only new wide release to be greeted with poor response this weekend was
"Hotel Transylvania" far exceeded Sony's modest opening weekend expectations, but even beat industry projections, which had the film debuting with around $35 million. Previously, the highest-grossing film in the month of September was "Sweet Home Alabama," which launched with $35.6 million in 2002 but did not have the advantage of 3-D ticket sale premiums.
The film, which features celebrity voices such as
The opening for "Transylvania" marks the biggest debut ever for Sony Pictures Animation, which spent about $100 million to produce the film, according to one individual close to the production. (Sony insisted the budget was actually $85 million.) The animation studio's largest hit to date is
Meanwhile, the critical darling "Looper" appealed strongly to older males this weekend, as 49% of the audience were men and 70% were over the age of 25. That crowd gave the movie an average grade of B.
The time-travel film, written and directed by Rian Johnson, stars
"Looper" was financed for around $30 million by Endgame Entertainment, and FilmDistrict and Sony acquired North American distribution rights at the 2011
Though it sparked debate among the education community, "Won't Back Down" failed to lure moviegoers to the box office this weekend. The movie, about two parents trying to change a school for the better, was financed by Walden Media for $19 million but is being distributed by
Though the movie was not liked by critics, the few who saw it this weekend enjoyed it, giving the adult drama an average grade of A-. Stlll, word-of-mouth would have to be exceptionally strong for the film to become as big of a hit as an issue film like "Erin Brockovich."
[Updated 12:07 p.m. Sept. 30: Overseas, "Transylvania" premiered in 13 foreign markets including Australia and the Philippines and collected $8.1 million. The film performed best in Mexico, where it sold $3.6 million worth of tickets -- more than double the opening of the studio's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" in the same country.
Here are the top 10 movies at the domestic box office, according to studio estimates and Hollywood.com:
1. "Hotel Transylvania" (Sony): Opened with $43 million. $8.1 million overseas in 13 foreign markets.
2. "Looper" (Sony/Endgame/FilmDistrict): Opened with $21.2 million.
4. "Trouble With the Curve" (
7. "Finding Nemo 3-D" (Disney): $4.1 million on its third weekend, down 58%. Domestic total: $36.5 million. $1.1 million overseas in 17 foreign countries. International total: $10.2 million.
10. "Won't Back Down" (Fox/Walden): Opened with $2.7 million.]