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Fueled by families hungry for kid-friendly fare, Sony’s Hotel Transylvania 2 bit off the top September opening of all time with a North American debut of $47.5 million, not accounting for inflation.
Transylvania 2, playing in 3,754 locations, opened higher than Hotel Transylvania (2012), the previous record-holder for top September opening with $42.5 million. “We had a great date, and this is a big win for Sony Pictures Animation,” said Sony president of marketing Josh Greenstein. “And the movie is exploding.”
The $80 million sequel opened to a respectable $29.2 million from 32 territories in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, but that wasn’t enough to win the foreign race. Instead, the victor was Chinese film Lost in Hong Kong, which opened to a dazzling $100 million in China, according to Rentrak. The comedy also debuted in select theaters in the U.S, earning a strong $558,900 from 27 theaters for a location average of $20,700.
The other high-profile title on the foreign circuit this weekend was Warner Bros.’ big-budget tentpole Pan. The Peter Pan origins story opened in Australia two weeks ahead of its North American launch in order to take advantage of school holidays, earning $1.5 million.
In the U.S., Transylvania 2, voiced by Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James and Keegan-Michael Key, earned a promising A- CinemaScore and, in another record, is the best start ever for an SPA title. Internationally, it is soaring in Latin America, collecting $7.2 million in Mexico alone. All told, it opened in 32 percent of the foreign marketplace.
Director Nancy Meyers’ comedy The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, opened in the No. 2 slot with $18.2 million from 3,305 theaters. That’s a solid swing for the filmmaker and Warner Bros., considering Meyers’ films target older adults, who don’t rush out on opening weekend but tend to deliver a long run.
“This is a terrific result, and Nancy Meyers really is a brand,” said Warner Bros. executive vp domestic distribution Jeff Goldstein, adding that the $40 million movie played well in every part of the country.
Overseas, The Intern launched in 40 markets, or 38 percent of the marketplace, grossing $11.8 million for a global debut of $30 million. Many markets delivered Meyers her best opening to date, including South Korea with $2.7 million and Russia with $1.4 million.
The Intern, starring Hathaway as a young executive who hires an older man to be her intern, skewed female as expected (62 percent in North America), while 55 percent of the audience was over the age of 50. Like Transylvania 2, the movie earned an A- CinemaScore.
Elsewhere, Baltasar Kormakur‘s Everest came in behind expectations in North America with $13.1 million from 3,006 theaters as it expanded nationwide after a limited 3D engagement last weekend in Imax and premium large-format theaters. The film’s 10-day domestic total is $23.1 million.
Everest, loosely based on the real-life tale of two climbing expeditions left stranded high atop the world’s largest mountain in 1996, is a bigger player overseas, grossing a strong $33.8 million in its second weekend from 62 markets for a foreign total of $73.7 million and global cume of $96.8 million for Universal, Working Title, Cross Creek Pictures and Walden Media.
Also opening this weekend was Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno, which is being released via Blumhouse’s new label BH Tilt, whose aim is to avoid a big marketing spend by opening genre fare in targeted theaters. In this case, Green Inferno only went out in 1,540 locations. The horror movie, Roth’s first directorial effort in eight years, grossed a meek $3.5 million to come in No. 9, versus the $4 million-$5 million the filmmakers were hoping for.
“Eli made a terrifying movie for die-hard horror fans that we were proud to have as the first release in our targeting experiment. We tried something new, got close to our goal and are excited to analyze the results and apply what we learn to the next movies under this model,” said John Hegeman, who oversaw the marketing campaign for BH Tilt.
Filmed in Chile, Green Inferno, which made its world premiere two years ago at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, follows a group of college students who travel to the Amazon jungle, only to be taken prisoner by the indigenous tribe they have come to save.
Placing No. 3 was Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, which fell 54 percent in its second weekend to $14 million from 3,792 locations for a domestic total of $51.7 million. The sequel is pacing somewhat behind the first installment, which had grossed $58 million at the same point in its run.
Internationally, Scorch Trials zoomed past the $100 million mark, earning $28.4 million from 70 territories for a foreign total of $121.8 million and global cume of $173.5 million. Among new openers, the sequel pulled in $4.1 million in South Korea and $2 million in Germany.
Johnny Depp‘s Black Mass, rounding out the top five, dipped 49 percent in its second outing to $11.5 million for a 10-day North American cume of $42.6 million. The adult drama saw a far bigger drop than similar titles The Town (35 percent) and The Departed (29 percent).
At the specialty box office, Denis Villeneuve‘s acclaimed crime-thriller Sicario continued to score as it expanded into a total of 59 theaters in its sophomore outing. The Lionsgate movie blazed into the top 10, grossing $1.8 million for one of the best location averages of the weekend.
Edward Zwick‘s Pawn Sacrifice, starring Tobey Maguire as chess champion Bobby Fischer and Liev Schreiber as his Russian rival, Boris Spassky, is likewise expanding in its second weekend, but far more aggressively. The drama, from Bleecker Street, grossed a so-so $1.1 million from 781 locations for a cume of $1.3 million.
Openings at the specialty box office included Ramin Bahrani‘s financial drama 99 Homes, starring Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon and Laura Dern. The film earned $32,807 from two theaters in New York for a modest location average of $16,403.
Roland Emmerich‘s Stonewall bombed in its limited start, grossing $112,414 from 127 theaters for an abysmal location average of $871. The historical drama was a passion project for the openly gay director, and recounts the events surrounding the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a bloody standoff with police outside a Greenwich Village gay bar that is widely credited with kicking off the modern gay-rights movement.
Weekend Box Office 9/27/15
|1. Hotel Transylvania 2||$48.5M||$48.5M||3754||1|
|2. The Intern||$17.8M||$17.7M||3305||1|
|3. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials||$14.3M||$52.0M||3792||2|
|5. Black Mass||$11.0M||$42.1M||3188||2|
|6. The Visit||$6.7M||$52.2M||2967||3|
|7. The Perfect Guy||$4.7M||$48.9M||1889||3|
|8. War Room||$4.2M||$56.0M||1920||5|
|9. The Green Inferno||$3.5M||$3.5M||1540||1|
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