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'Hotel Transylvania' Not Exactly September Record & Sleeper Hit 'Looper' No Chinese Blockbuster

Looper 2012 Joseph Gordon-LevittLooper 2012: Joseph Gordon-Levitt sci-fier tops North American box office two weekdays in a row

Oct. 4, '12, update: Looper, the October 2012 sleeper hit starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, surpassed last weekend's top movie, Hotel Transylvania, two days in a row this week: on Tuesday, Oct. 2 ($2.36 million vs. $2.19m) and Wed., Oct. 3 ($1.55 million vs. $1.54m) according to figures found at Box Office Mojo. (Image: Looper 2012 star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the young Bruce Willis.)

Though hardly a blockbuster, the Rian Johnson-directed $30 million-budgeted sci-fier has been performing quite well domestically. With $26.49 million after six days, Looper is clearly way ahead of the previous weekend's releases: After 13 days out, Jake Gyllenhaal / Michael Peña's End of Watch has collected $28.22 million, Clint Eastwood / Amy Adams' Trouble with the Curve $25.28 million, Jennifer Lawrence's House at the End of the Street $23.44 million, and Karl Urban's disastrous Dredd $11.79 million.

Looper 2012 international box office

Looper's international prospects seemed iffy at first – no international box office draws, no 3D – but the film has performed surprisingly well in a few territories, particularly Russia ($5.08 million), the United Kingdom ($3.92 million), and Australia ($3.02m). In 12 markets listed on the Box Office Mojo chart, Looper has brought in around $14 million, in addition to approximately $3.5-$4 million in China as reported at Box Office Mojo – not “$23 to $25 million” initially announced due to a yuan-dollar mix-up.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Looper 2012 picture: Sony Pictures.

Sept. 30

Selena Gomez Mavis Hotel TransylvaniaHotel 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, 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 $30 million; that was later upped to a figure close to $40 million. (Image: Selena Gomez Mavis Hotel Transylvania.)

Hotel Transylvania's international figures were considerably more modest, as the $85 million-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, $100 million-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 $243 million.

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 $563.74 million.

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.

Looper movie Joseph Gordon-LevittLooper movie: Joseph Gordon-Levitt sci-fier surpasses expectations

Looper, Rian Johnson's time-bending action sci-fier starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, took in a better than expected $21.2 million at 2,292 locations in North America this weekend, averaging a good – though hardly outstanding – $7,086 per venue, and trailing only Hotel Transylvania's $43 million according to studio estimates. Both movies are Sony Pictures releases, and helped this weekend's top twelve movies to collect about 21 percent more than the top twelve on the same weekend last year – the first “up” 2012 weekend in a month. (Image: The young Bruce Willis a.k.a. Joseph Gordon-Levitt Looper movie.)

Sharing plot points with Chris Marker's La jetée and its US-made remake, Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (which also features Bruce Willis), Looper has earned overwhelmingly positive reviews. The $30 million-budgeted sci-fier currently has a 95 percent approval rating and 8.3/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Looper's international prospects are iffy, as neither Joseph Gordon-Levitt nor Bruce Willis are box office draws overseas (or in North America, for that matter). Also, the 3D element, almost invariably a positive selling point abroad, is missing. On the positive side, good word-of-mouth may keep Looper around long enough for the film to earn back its reported production costs at the domestic box office alone.

Also worth noting is that Looper is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's biggest “weekend opener” by far. True, The Dark Knight Rises, Inception and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra had much more successful debuts, but none of them could be called a “Joseph Gordon-Levitt Movie.”

Looper movie cast

Besides Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, the Looper cast includes Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo, and Jeff Daniels.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Looper movie photo: Sony Pictures.

Sept. 29

Hotel Transylvania Mavis Selana Gomez characterHotel Transylvania weekend box office could reach $40 million in North America

Hotel Transylvania may turn out to be Sony Pictures Animation's biggest all-animated box office hit ever. According to studio estimates, the $85 million-budgeted Hotel Transylvania – with the box-office-boosting assistance of 3D surcharges – took in $11 million at 3,349 North American sites on Friday, Sept. 28, and is expected to gross near $40 million by Sunday evening. (Adam Sandler's Dracula, Selena Gomez character Mavis Hotel Transylvania image.)

If so, that's about $10 million more than early Friday estimates indicated (see further below); it's considerably more than the amount earned by the previous Sony Pictures Animation all-animated domestic box office champ, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; and it means that the terrible domestic box office drought may have come to a close. Hotel Transylvania could even end up boasting the most successful September opening ever at the domestic box office. (Or could it? More information below.)

Hotel Transylvania vs. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Smurfs

Three years ago, the Phil Lord and Chris Miller-directed, $100 million-budgeted Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs opened with $30.3 million (approx. $32.5 million today) at 3,119 U.S. and Canada locations. Featuring the voices of Andy Samberg, Anna Faris, James Caan, and Neil Patrick Harris, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs went on to gross $124.87 million domestically and $118.13 million internationally. Worldwide total: $243 million.

Now, Sony Pictures' mix of live action and animation The Smurfs remains the studio's most successful release featuring animated characters. In summer 2011, The Smurfs brought in $142.61 million in North America (after opening with $35.61m) and an astounding $421.13 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $563.74 million.

Chances are Hotel Transylvania will finish its worldwide run somewhere between Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Smurfs. At this stage, it's hard to tell where exactly the latest Sony Pictures Animation movie will land – but considering that The Smurfs had international brand recognition, Hotel Transylvania's grand total will likely be closer to that of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

Best September opening weekend ever in North America?

In case Hotel Transylvania does indeed debut with close to $40 million in the U.S. and Canada, the Sony Pictures Animation release will have the best September opening weekend ever at the North American box office. Well, that is, if you live on a planet where inflation doesn't exist.

The current “official” September leader, the Reese Witherspoon movie Sweet Home Alabama, opened with $35.64 million in 2002. That's ten years ago. And that amount represents approximately $49 million today.

Also, let's not forget that Rush Hour's $33 million in 1998 represents about $56.5 million today. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker starred in Brett Ratner's action comedy.

Hotel Transylvania voice cast

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, the Hotel Transylvania voice cast includes Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs's Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, and David Spade. Screenplay by Robert Smigel and Peter Baynham.

Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez Mavis Hotel Transylvania image: Sony Pictures Animation.

Sept. 28

Hotel TransylvaniaHotel Transylvania to easily top North American weekend box office

Hotel Transylvania will easily top the North American box office this weekend, followed by the well-received Joseph Gordon-Levitt / Bruce Willis sci-fier Looper at a distant second.

According to early estimates found in The Hollywood Reporter, Sony Pictures Animation's $85 million-budgeted Hotel Transylvania – with the assistance of 3D surcharges – is expected to gross north of $30 million at 3,349 sites. Whether that figure will be far enough north to surpass Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs remains to be seen.

Back in September 2009, the $100 million-budgeted Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs opened with $30.3 million (approx. $32.5 million today) at 3,119 locations. To date, that remains the best box office opening ever for a Sony Pictures Animation release. Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and featuring the voices of Andy Samberg, Anna Faris, James Caan, and Neil Patrick Harris, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs went on to gross $124.87 million in the U.S. and Canada and $118.13 million internationally. Grand total: $243 million.

Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, Hotel Transylvania's voice cast includes Cloudy's Andy Samberg, Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, and Fran Drescher.

Looper: Joseph Gordon-Levitt sci-fier expected to have good, but not outstanding debut

Directed by Rian Johnson, the time-bending Looper is expected to reach $18 million at 2,292 locations by Sunday evening. A sci-fier sharing elements with Chris Marker's La jetée and Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys (which also features Bruce Willis doing some time traveling), Looper has received mostly positive reviews. The film currently has a 95 percent approval rating and 8.3/10 average among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Good word-of-mouth may help to keep Looper long enough at North American theaters for the sci-fier to easily surpass – and perhaps recover? – its relatively modest $30 million budget (not including marketing / distribution) at the domestic box office alone. Also in the Looper cast: Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo, and Jeff Daniels.

Considerably less successful is 20th Century Fox's Won't Back Down, toplining Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. The $15 million-budgeted public-school drama is expected to gross around $5 million at 2,515 theaters over the weekend. Directed by Daniel Barnz, Won't Back Down also features Oscar Isaac, Holly Hunter, and Rosie Perez.

Hotel Transylvania image: Sony Pictures Animation.

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1 Comment to 'Hotel Transylvania' Not Exactly September Record & Sleeper Hit 'Looper' No Chinese Blockbuster

  1. meiner

    Hotel Transylvania .. film critics are obviously not the target audience of this movie and definitely too old for a review of a children's film