'Hotel Transylvania 2' breaks September record with $47.5 million debut

Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:45am EDT
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By Brent Lang

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Hotel Transylvania 2" easily topped the weekend box office, sinking its teeth into an impressive $47.5 million, and providing a big win for star Adam Sandler and Sony Pictures, the studio behind the animated franchise.

Both had endured rough patches at ticket booths. Sandler, once among the most consistently commercial leading men in Hollywood, has suffered a series of flops like "Blended," "That's My Boy," and "Jack and Jill" that have inspired questions about his bankability. And Sony, which had its inner workings laid bare in last year's hack attack by North Korea, was subjected to a summer that saw films like "Aloha" and Sandler's video game "Pixels" rejected by audiences. It has been on the upswing in recent weeks, fielding modest hits like "War Room" and "The Perfect Guy," but this is the studio's biggest opening since "22 Jump Street" debuted to $57 million in June of 2014.

It also sets a new September record, passing the previous "Hotel Transylvania's" $42.5 million start in 2012. The $80 million production got off to a strong start overseas, outpacing the first film's results in parts of Latin America.

"It's on it's way to being one of the most beloved franchises of all time," said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures president of worldwide distribution.

"There are a lot of stories left to tell," he added, saying that he hoped there would be a third installment.

Domestically, it was a competitive weekend at the multiplexes. In addition to "Hotel Transylvania 2," Universal expanded "Everest" from Imax and premium format screens to 3,006 locations, where the high altitude disaster film picked up $13.1 million. That figure is something of a disappointment given the A CinemaScore the film earned in limited release and the solid $7.2 million it generated in its inaugural weekend.

With "Everest" appealing to men and "Hotel Transylvania 2" roping in families, Warner Bros. made a pitch to female ticket buyers with "The Intern." The Nancy Meyers workplace comedy brought in a solid $18.2 million for a second place finish. Filmed for $40 million, it stars Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. That opening puts it in line with previous Meyers' releases such as "Something's Gotta Give" ($16.1 million debut) and "The Holiday" ($12.8 million start). The director's latest effort is just as likely to inspire real estate envy in the heavily female audience that turned out to see the impossibly chic world of "The Intern."

"Nancy Meyers really is a brand onto herself," said Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros. distribution executive vice president." It's not just the stories that attracts people. It's the lifestyle, it's the sets, it's the clothes."   Continued...

Actors Adam Sandler (C) David Spade (back) and Selena Gomez attend a news conference to promote the film ' Hotel Transylvania ' during the 37th Toronto International Film Festival,  September 8, 2012.  REUTERS/Fred Thornhill