Box Office Results for September 28, 2012

This weekend, the North American box office bounced back to life thanks to a pair of new releases from Sony, which drove the marketplace to the best September frame in history.  The animated comedy Hotel Transylvania overperformed and checked into the number one spot while the studio’s release of the sci-fi action pic Looper came in at the runner-up spot too with over $64M in combined ticket sales leading the Top 20 to a potent $115M, a new high for what is normally the slowest month of the year.  Especially noteworthy is that the weekend was driven by original films as none of the top six moves were sequels or based on well-known brands.

Mixing comedy and spooky monsters into a family-friendly 3D toon during the pre-Halloween period, Hotel Transylvania opened to spectacular results in first place with an estimate $43M generating the biggest September opening ever.  The PG-rated film averaged a stellar $12,840 from 3,349 locations including 3D surcharges and beat the decade-old record for the top September bow set this weekend in 2002 when Sweet Home Alabama debuted to $35.6M.  Hotel Transylvania also marked a comeback of sorts for box office heavyweight Adam Sandler who provided the lead voice.  His last two films over the past year performed poorly.  But now, Sandler is well on his way to scoring his 13th $100M+ grosser of the past 14 years displayig his commercial consistency once again.  Also lending their voices were Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, and Cee Lo Green.

Look for solid playability here as the CinemaScore grade was an A- and Saturday sales surged by a remarkable 73%, which was better than what many kidpics during the school year see.  The opening was a new high for Sony Animation beating out the $35.6M of The Smurfs and the $30.3M of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, which was another 3D September hit.  Both of those had good legs.

The critically-acclaimed sci-fi actioner Looper gave Sony another big win with its strong opening in second place with an estimated $21.2M.  The R-rated futuristic film from FilmDistrict and Endgame was distributed by TriStar and averaged a solid $7,086 from 2,992 theaters and took advantage of exceptional reviews to draw in a sizable audience.  R-rated action films rarely open north of $20M in September and the fact that Looper is an original story not based on any well-known brand made the performance even more impressive.  Headliners Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis spent five weeks at number one this summer with supporting roles in the hit sequels The Dark Knight Rises and The Expendables 2 and now joined forces playing the same person but from different time periods.

As expected, Looper skewed towards adult men.  Studio research showed that 59% of the audience was male and 70% was 25 or older.  But despite universal praise from film critics, actual paying customers were only moderately satisfied as the CinemaScore grade was a B.  Saturday sales climbed 28% so there could be long-term strength into October.

Following its solid top spot debut last weekend, the cop thriller End of Watch held up well in its second round dropping 39% to an estimated $8M giving Open Road and Exclusive $26.2M in ten days.  Fellow sophomore Trouble With the Curve followed with an estimated $7.5M falling an encouraging 38%.  Recent Clint Eastwood films fell 47-51% in their second weekends so the performance of this latest Warner Bros. release, which finds the legend acting instead of directing, is commendable.  Total is $23.7M.  Also doing well in its second session was the fright flick House at the End of the Street, which declined by 42% to an estimated $7.2M for $22.2M to date for Relativity.  That’s an amazing hold for a horror film.

The all-girl college a cappella comedy Pitch Perfect opened in moderate release this weekend with only 335 theaters but attracted huge crowds and landed at number six with an estimated $5.2M for a scorching $15,561 average.  Universal and Gold Circle are aiming for a word-of-mouth hit here and aggressively screened the PG-13 pic ahead of the limited bow.  Now they plan to take it to the next level with next weekend’s expansion into 2,800+ locations hoping that enough buzz will have circulated among teens and young adults that it can become a must-see hit.  Reviews have been mostly positive and the CinemaScore grade was an A with females making up 74% of the crowd.  Pitch Perfect hopes to prove that a good product can sell itself.

Falling 58% to seventh place was the 3D release of Finding Nemo, which grabbed an estimated $4.1M bumping the sum to $36.5M and the lifetime tally to $376.2M for Disney Animation.  The clown fish pic has re-entered the Top 20 list of “All-Time Domestic Blockbusters” sitting at number 19.  Screen Gems, Constantin, Davis, and Impact‘s fifth Alice pic Resident Evil: Retribution dropped 55% to an estimated $3M in its third round and has banked $38.7M to date.

The Paul Thomas Anderson Oscar hopeful The Master slowed down in its second weekend of wide play and grossed an estimated $2.7M, off 38%.  The Weinstein Co. and Annapurna release averaged just $3,207 from 856 theaters and has shown signs of struggling with a mainstream audience.  Cume to date is $9.6M.  Sophisticated adult audiences will quickly start turning their attention to other pictures in October including Liam Neeson‘s hostage sequel Taken 2 opening next weekend and Ben Affleck‘s buzzworthy hostage drama Argo bowing a week later.

The inner city school drama Won’t Back Down failed to connect with paying moviegoers to dismal results in tenth place with an estimated $2.7M from 2,515 locations for a $1,074 average.  20th Century Fox and Walden‘s PG-rated release starring Academy Award nominees Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis generated no commercial interest and was panned by critics.

The Emma Watson film The Perks of Being a Wallflower enjoyed a nice expansion this weekend widening from 4 to 102 theaters grossing an estimated $1.1M.  That delivered a potent $11,147 average, which keeps the Summit pic on track for further expansion.  Total is $1.5M.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower earned an encouraging A grade from CinemaScore and skewed 70% female.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $104.6M, which was up 26% from last year when Warner Bros. Pictures and Alcon Entertainment‘s Dolphin Tale climbed into the number one spot with $13.9M; and up 27% from 2010 when Columbia Pictures and Relativity Media’s The Social Network opened on top with $22.4M.

September 28, 2012 to September 30, 2012 Top Ten



1.   Hotel Transylvania

  • $45,000,000
  • Sony Pictures Animation (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

2.   Looper

  • $21,200,000
  • a TriStar release (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
  • FilmDistrict and Endgame Entertainment

3.   End of Watch

  • $8,000,000
  • an Open Road release (Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment)
  • Exclusive Media

4.   Trouble With the Curve

  • $7,530,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

5.   House at the End of the Street

  • $7,154,000
  • Relativity Media

6.   Pitch Perfect

  • $5,213,000
  • a Universal release (NBCUniversal)
  • Gold Circle Films

7.   Finding Nemo 3D

  • $4,066,000
  • Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

8.   Resident Evil: Retribution

  • $3,000,000
  • a Screen Gems release (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
  • Constantin Film, Davis Films, and Impact Pictures

9.   The Master

  • $2,745,000
  • a Weinstein Co. release
  • Annapurna Pictures

10. Won’t Back Down

  • $2,700,000
  • a 20th Century Fox release (Fox Entertainment Group)
  • Walden Media


September 30, 2011 to October 2, 2011 Top Ten



1.   Dolphin Tale

  • $14,245,000
  • a Warner Bros. release (Warner Bros. Entertainment)
  • Alcon Entertainment

2.   Moneyball

  • $12,500,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

3.   The Lion King 3D

  • $11,057,000
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

4.   50/50

  • $8,858,000
  • a Summit release
  • Mandate Pictures (Lions Gate Entertainment)

5.   Courageous

  • $8,800,000
  • a TriStar release (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
  • Sherwood Pictures

6.   Dream House

  • $8,209,000
  • a Universal release (NBCUniversal)
  • Morgan Creek Productions

7.   Abduction

  • $5,650,000
  • Lionsgate (Lions Gate Entertainment)

8.   What’s Your Number?

  • $5,600,000
  • a 20th Century Fox release (Fox Entertainment Group)
  • New Regency Pictures (Regency Enterprises)

9.   Contagion

  • $5,040,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

10. Killer Elite

  • $4,855,000
  • an Open Road release (Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment)
  • Omnilab Media


October 1, 2010 to October 3, 2010 Top Ten



1.   The Social Network

  • $22,446,000
  • Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment) and Relativity Media

2.   Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

  • $10,887,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

3.   Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

  • $10,003,000
  • 20th Century Fox (Fox Entertainment Group)

4.   The Town

  • $9,749,000
  • Warner Bros. Pictures (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

5.   Easy A

  • $6,749,000
  • Screen Gems (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

6.   You Again

  • $5,723,000
  • Touchstone Pictures (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

7.   Case 39

  • $5,351,000
  • Paramount Vantage (Paramount Motion Pictures Group)

8.   Let Me In

  • $5,147,000
  • an Overture release (Relativity Media)
  • Hammer Films (Exclusive Media Group)

9.   Devil

  • $3,564,000
  • a Universal release (NBCUniversal)
  • Media Rights Capital

10. Alpha and Omega

  • $2,925,000
  • Lionsgate (Lions Gate Entertainment) and Crest Animation

~ by Matt Whitfield on October 7, 2012.

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