LEAVE IT TO Sony — and Adam Sandler — to rouse the slumbering box office.
Sony’s animated 3-D release, “Hotel Transylvania,” had a $43-million domestic debut to set a September bow-in record in terms of total dollars, according to studio estimates releaesed Sunday. (Final numbers expected Monday.)
“Hotel Transylvania,” a monster mash of cartoon creatures featuring the voices of Sandler and Selena Gomez, broke the record of “Sweet Home Alabama,” which debuted with $35.7-million — though at 2002 admission prices, that live-action Reese Witherspoon film sold more tickets.
“It’s absolutely an incredible result,” Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution for Sony Pictures, told Reuters of the studio’s surprise. Sony had predicted a debut in the $25-million to $30-million range.
Counting foreign markets, “Transylvania” grossed $51.1-million globally.
The film also benefitted from savvy slotting: Next weekend, “Transylvania” will face fierce competition from another Halloween-timed animated 3-D release: Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie.”
With a 1-2 punch, Sony was the driving force behind turning around the sluggish month at the box office; its sci-fi film “Looper,” starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was second with $21.2-million.