Box Office Report: Sony's 'Hotel Transylvania' Eyeing Strong $30 Mil-Plus Weekend

2:35 PM PST 09/28/2012 by Pamela McClintock

"Looper" also off to good start, while "Won't Back Down" is struggling; "Pitch Perfect" generating strong returns in limited release.

In a victory for Sony's animation unit, kids pic Hotel Transylvania is headed for a $30 million-plus debut at the domestic box office.

Boasting a voice cast led by Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez, the 3D family toon will have no trouble winning the weekend crown. If traffic holds, the $85 million movie will come in ahead of the $30.3 million opening of fellow Sony animated pic Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in September 2009.

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Hotel Transylvania and new entry Looper -- which likewise is off to a strong start -- should help the box office recover from a tough postsummer stretch.

Looper, directed by Rian Johnson and receiving stellar reviews, should gross north of $18 million in its debut (bullish observers believe it could cross $20 million). The sci-fi action pic stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis and is a being released by Sony's TriStar label in tandem with FilmDistrict and Jim Stern's Endgame Entertainment (Endgame fully financed and produced the time-travel yarn).

Prospects for the weekend's third new wide release, the Maggie Gyllenhaal-Viola Davis education drama Won't Back Down, aren't as bright. The $15 million film, fully financed and produced by Walden Media, might gross only in the $5 million range for the weekend.

Won't Back Down, about a parent and teacher's battle to take over a failing public school, has drawn the ire of teachers unions.

VIDEO: 'Hotel Transylvania' Trailer

Specialty openings include Universal's musical comedy Pitch Perfect, about an all-girl a cappella group. The film, whose cast includes Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow, opens Friday in 335 theaters and is on course to open to a pleasing $2.5 million to $3 million. The pic expands nationwide Oct. 5.

Universal held its largest-ever word-of-mouth screening program for Pitch Perfect, which it co-financed with Paul Brooks' Gold Circle Films. Brooks produced the film alongside Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman.

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