Hotel Transylvania weekend box office far surpasses expectations in North America
Hotel Transylvania will likely become Sony Pictures Animation's most successful all-animated release ever – at least at the domestic box office. According to studio estimates found at Box Office Mojo, the 3D-surcharge-boosted Hotel Transylvania scored $43 million at 3,349 U.S. and Canada theaters this weekend, Sept. 28-30, averaging a solid $12,840 per site. Early estimates had the animated feature grossing around $30m; that was later upped to a figure close to $40m. (Image: Selena Gomez Mavis Hotel Transylvania.)
Hotel Transylvania's international figures were considerably more modest, as the $85m-budgeted (not including marketing / distribution expenses), Genndy Tartakovsky-direted animated feature opened with $8.1 million in eight markets, including three major ones: Australia, France, and Germany.
Hotel Transylvania to become the most successful all-animated Sony Pictures Animation release?
If studio estimates are accurate, Hotel Transylvania easily surpassed the opening-weekend figure of Sony Pictures Animation's previous all-animated domestic box office champ, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Three years ago, the Phil Lord and Chris Miller-directed, $100m-budgeted animated film opened with $30.3 million (approx. $32.5 million today) at 3,119 North American venues. Featuring the voices of Andy Samberg, Anna Faris, James Caan, and Neil Patrick Harris, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs finished its run with $124.87 million domestically and $118.13 million internationally, for a grand total of $243m.
Now, bear in mind that The Smurfs, Sony Pictures' mix of live action and animation remains the studio's highest-grossing production featuring animated characters. In summer 2011, The Smurfs raked in $142.61 million in North America (after opening with $35.61m) and $421.13 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $563.74m.
Best September opening weekend ever in North America?
Hotel Transylvania now officially (or almost, as weekend box office actuals come out on Monday) boasts the biggest September opening ever at the North American box office, having easily surpassed Reese Witherspoon's Sweet Home Alabama, which opened with $35.64 million back in 2002.
Reality check: 2002 was ten years ago. Sweet Home Alabama grossed the equivalent of about $49 million today – and without the advantage of 3D surcharges. In other words: Sweet Home Alabama sold many more tickets than Hotel Transylvania.
In terms of ticket sales, the September champ remains Brett Ratner's action comedy Rush Hour. The Jackie Chan / Chris Tucker flick collected $33 million in 1998, or approximately $56.5 million in 2012 dollars.
Hotel Transylvania voice cast
The Hotel Transylvania voice cast features Selena Gomez as Mavis, Adam Sandler as Dracula, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, and David Spade. The screenplay is credited to Robert Smigel and Peter Baynham.
Selena Gomez Mavis Hotel Transylvania image: Sony Pictures Animation.