Following a string of disappointingly meek weekends, movie-going audiences turned out in droves in support four new films that shook up the standings atop the box-office Top 10.
The big winner was Genndy Tartakovsky’s animated family comedy Hotel Transylvania, which sank its teeth into multiplex traffic and drained an estimated $43 million from people’s wallets. It was the highest opening for a September release, topping Reese Witherspoon’s Sweet Home Alabama (which previously held the record with $35.6M). Transylvania also far out-paced the similar animated scare fest ParaNorman ($14M on opening weekend), and gives hope to Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, which opens in 3D and IMAX on Oct. 5.
Right behind Hotel Transylvania was Rian Johnson’s Looper, a time-traveling thriller that banked an impressive $21M in its debut weekend. Riding a wave of positive reviews, Looper will look to build on its momentum – and strong word of mouth – to stay at or near the top of the charts in coming weekends.
Another film that expects to perform well as October rolls around is Pitch Perfect. Universal dribbled the a cappella comedy into a limited number of theaters over the weekend. But with a $15,552 per-screen average, Perfect actually made its case for being the big winner on the frame. (By comparison, Hotel T had $12,840 per theater, and Looper posted $7,086). Hopefully Pitch can maintain that momentum when it expands nationwide next weekend.
The education drama Won’t Back Down, however, received the equivalent of a failing grade at the box office, notching a meager $2.7M to finish in tenth place. It couldn’t even top The Master, which posted an estimated $2.74M, despite only screening in 856 locations.
Here’s the full Top 10 list for the weekend:
MOVIE / WEEKEND / TOTAL
1. Hotel Transylvania, $43M
2. Looper, $21.2M
3. End of Watch, $8M, $26.1M
4. Trouble With the Curve, $7.5M, $23.7M
5. House at the End of the Street, $7.1M, $22.2M
6. Pitch Perfect, $5.2M
7. Finding Nemo 3D, $4M, $36.4M
8. Resident Evil: Retribution, $3M, $38.7M
9. The Master, $2.7M, $9.6M
10. Won’t Back Down, $2.7M