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.”


Griffin the Invisible Man (David Spade), Murray the Mummy (Cee Lo Green), Wanda (Molly Shannon), Wayne (Steve Buscemi), Frank (Kevin James) and Mavis (Selena Gomez) in “Hotel Transylvania.” (./COURTESY OF SONY PICTURES ANIMATION)

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.