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Weekend Box-Office: September 28-30, 2012

09.30.2012

Transylvania at the top!

After a few dreary weeks, September ended with a bang at the box office. Sony's computer-animated monster mash HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA took the #1 spot with $43 million -- a big weekend that breaks the record for September opening (defeating SWEET HOME ALABAMA's $35.6M back in 2002).

The kid-friendly creature feature from director Genndy Tartakovsky ("Samurai Jack") is also the biggest opening for Sony's animation house, which (not counting the CG/live-action hybrid THE SMURFS) previously had CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS as their best performer with a $30.3M opening (and $124.8M domestic total). HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA is also one of the highest openings for anything Adam Sandler has been involved with lately (he voices Dracula in the movie) -- Sandler's last project that opened better was his remake of THE LONGEST YARD with a $47.6M first weekend back in 2005.

In second place with a strong $21.2 million showing was filmmaker Rian Johnson's sci-fi/action movie LOOPER, which pits Joseph Gordon-Levitt against the older, more Bruce Willis-looking version of himself. The time-travel tale got a positive critical reception (currently at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and the buzz could carry it for a while. And the movie already had an impressive debut when it opened in China this weekend, reportedly making even more than it did in the US.

LOOPER is also one of the bigger debuts over the past decade for Willis in a starring role (which excludes his brief appearances in THE EXPENDABLES 1 & 2): RED opened to $21.7 million a couple years ago, and before that his best opening was LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD with $33.3M in the summer of 2007.

Last week's top three all hung in there with a drop of around 40% from their opening weekends. The Jake Gyllenhaal/Michael Pena cop thriller END OF WATCH rounded up another $8 million, while Clint Eastwood's drama TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE edged ahead of the Jennifer Lawrence horror flick HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET. None of them can be considered smash hits, but they were each made on very reasonable budgets.

Perhaps the most interesting story of the week was the opening of Universal's PITCH PERFECT, which landed at number six with $5.2 million -- not a terribly impressive figure on its own, except the movie was only released on 335 screens (one-tenth that of HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA). The musical comedy, featuring Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Banks, also generated the highest per-screen average in the Top 10 (it opens wide next weekend). Its performance is particularly remarkable compared to the pitiful $2.7 million opening of the teacher drama WON'T BACK DOWN, which was released in 2500+ theaters and barely made the chart.

Meanwhile, the 3D reissue of FINDING NEMO is floundering, RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION will likely end up as the second-lowest grossing in the series (domestically, anyway -- it's already made an additional $137M internationally), and Paul Thomas Anderson's THE MASTER seems like it's beginning to dwindle. Did it make enough of a mark to be remembered come award season? Additionally, LAWLESS, THE POSSESSION and PARANORMAN take their leave from the Top 10, as does DREDD 3D after a single week on the chart.

Next weekend brings back Liam Neeson's skilled killer of kidnappers in TAKEN 2, Tim Burton's (re)animated dog FRANKENWEENIE, and the expansion of PITCH PERFECT. What October release are you most looking forward to seeing? VOTE HERE!

# MOVIE TITLE WKND $ TOTAL $
1. Hotel Transylvania $43 M
NEW
2. Looper $21.2 M
NEW
3. End of Watch $8 M $26.1 M
4. Trouble with the Curve $7.5 M $23.7 M
5. House at the End of the Street $7.1 M $22.2 M
6. Pitch Perfect $5.2 M
NEW
7. Finding Nemo 3D $4 M $36.4 M
8. Resident Evil: Retribution $3 M $38.7 M
9. The Master $2.7 M $9.6 M
10. Won't Back Down $2.7 M
NEW

ACCESS BOX-OFFICE ARCHIVES HERE

Source: Box Office Mojo

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