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'Hotel Transylvania 2' checks in to top spot

Published:Sunday | September 27, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Drac’s father pays an unexpected family visit in Hotel Transylvania 2.


September has a new box office star in Hotel Transylvania 2. The PG-rated animated pic earned a robust US$47.5 million in its debut weekend, making it the top September opener of all time, according to Rentrak estimates yesterday.

The previous record holder was Hotel Transylvania, which opened with US$42.5 million in 2012.

"It really is something the whole family can agree to see. There are laughs for adults, kids, and teenagers as well," said Rory Bruer, president of Worldwide Distribution for Sony.

According to the studio, an estimated 59 per cent of audiences were female and 60 per cent were under 25 years old.

Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for box office tracker Rentrak, noted that the film capitalised on early excitement for Halloween. It is also serving an audience eager for more family-friendly animated content.

"This year hasn't been oversaturated with family animated films. It seems like virtually all have done well," he said.

The film, which cost around US$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.

The Intern, a PG-13-rated workplace comedy starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, took second with a solid US$18.2 million.

Audiences for the Nancy Meyers-written and directed film were 62 per cent women and 88 per cent over the age of 25. 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 film-maker known for films like It's Complicated.

"Here we have a real hit," he said.




Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials took third place in its second weekend in cinemas with US$14 million - a 54 per cent drop from its opening. The film has brought in US$51.7 million to date.

Everest landed in fourth place, with only US$13.1 million after expanding nationwide. 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 comparison for it. Based on the releasing pattern we had for the movie, we're kind of blazing a new trail. 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 US$23 million feels really good."

Dergarabedian said that perhaps the competition over the same audience is the reason for Everest's soft weekend.

"It's really crowded out there," Dergarabedian said. Both Black Mass, in fifth place with US$11.5 million, and Everest have been pulling in predominantly male audiences.

The well-reviewed border drama Sicario is also dividing audience attentions. It cracked the top 10 with US$1.8 million from only 59 cinemas.

Hope isn't lost for Everest, though. 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.

Following are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through yesterday at US and Canadian cinemas, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures will be released today.

1. Hotel Transylvania 2 - US$47.5m

2. The Intern - US$18.2m

3. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials - US$14m

4. Everest - US$13.1m

5. Black Mass - US$11.5m

6. The Visit - US$6.7m

7. The Perfect Guy - $4.8m

8. War Room - US$4.3m

9. The Green Inferno - US$3.5m

10. Sicario - US$1.8m