Monsters party tops box office with "Hotel Transylvania"

Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:43pm EDT
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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Family film "Hotel Transylvania" brought new life to movie box offices with a chart-topping $43 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales during the weekend, a record for a September opening.

The animated 3-D movie featuring the voices of Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez finished ahead of new science fiction film "Looper," which took in $21.2 million from Friday through Sunday.

The police drama "End of Watch," which tied with "House at the End of the Street" for the top spot last week, landed in third place with $8 million, according to studio estimates.

The big turnout for the top films helped revive a box office that has struggled through several weeks of sluggish attendance.

In "Hotel Transylvania," Frankenstein, the Invisible Man and other monsters gather for a party at a high-end resort operated by Dracula. Their celebration is disrupted when a boy discovers the hotel and falls in love with Dracula's daughter but must deal her overprotective father.

The film's domestic sales far exceeded distributor Sony Corp's prediction for $25 million-plus from the North American (U.S. and Canadian) market. The movie added $8.1 million from international markets, for a global debut of $51.1 million.

"It's absolutely an incredible result," said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Corp's Sony Pictures studio, adding that the studio had hoped for something in the $30 million range, which he noted "in this market would have been extraordinary."

The hefty take easily beat the September opening record of $35.65 million for "Sweet Home Alabama," which had stood for 10 years.   Continued...

Actor Adam Sandler poses with mascots of characters from "Hotel Transylvania", as he arrives on the red carpet for the film's gala presentation at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, September 8, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch