Three years ago this weekend, Hotel Transylvania set a new opening weekend record for the month of September with $42.5M on its way to a surprising $148.3M final domestic run ($358.4 worldwide). Sony looked at the family marketplace and very smartly opened up Hotel Transylvania 2 on the same weekend this year and set yet another September record, this time grossing an estimated $47.5M from 3,754 theaters for a per screen average of $12,653, just a hair below the original’s $12,697 average. Sequels tend to have front-loaded opening weekends so part 2 will have a hard time reaching the heights of part 1, however, there are no other similar family films hitting theaters until The Peanuts Movie on November 6th, so unless Pan or Goosebumps bring in a family crowd, Hotel Transylvania 2 could do reasonably well. Audiences liked what they saw giving the film an A- CinemaScore.
Director Nancy Meyers returned to the big screen for the first time in six years with the Anne Hathaway/Robert De Niro comedy The Intern which grossed an estimated $18.2M this weekend from 3,306 theaters for a per screen average of a solid $5,514. Meyers has a very strong track record as a director, even if she’s better known as a writer. Of her six directorial films, three of them have grossed over $100M, including her last trip to theaters, It’s Complicated which made $112.7M over the Christmas holidays of 2009. In fact her previous four films opened during the month of December where films tend to have longer legs so The Intern may not hit the same numbers but should still have a solid run. Audiences liked what they saw here too giving the film an A- CinemaScore.
Last weekend’s number one film, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, fell a reasonable 54% to an estimated $14M bringing its total to $51.7M. Look for a final in the $85M range which would come up a little short of the original’s $102M total from last year. The mountain thriller Everest added nearly 2,500 screens and jumped one spot to number four this weekend with an estimated $13M, bringing its total up to $23M. Its per screen average fell nearly 68% from last weekend. Rounding out the top five was the Johnny Depp-led Black Mass which slipped 49% from last weekend to an estimated $11.5M, bringing its total up to $42.6M. Look for a finale in the $70M unless a lot of awards buzz start to hit.
In its third weekend the M. Night Shyamalan horror flick The Visit scared up another $6.75M, according to estimates, bringing its cume up to $52M. Seventh place belonged to the dramatic thriller The Perfect Guy which brought in another $4.75M this weekend, bringing its total to $49M. The surprise hit of the season, War Room continued its strong run slipping only 31% in its fifth weekend to an estimated $4.3M bringing its total to an impressive $56M on an estimated $3M budget.
The horror film The Green Inferno from director Eli Roth debuted poorly in ninth place taking in an estimated $3.5M from 1,540 theaters for a per screen average of $2,269. As much as you see Roth’s name I was a little surprised to realize that this is only his fourth feature film as a director and his first since 2007’s Hostel Part II. 2003’s Cabin Fever was a cult favorite, opening to $8.6M and ending with $21M, while his biggest film was 2006’s Hostel which opened to $19.5M and finished with $47M. Hostel Part II was a bit of a disappointment opening with $8.2M on its way to a $17.6M finale. The Green Inferno might be able to make back its estimated $6M budget, but don’t expect too much more as audiences gave the film a very poor C- CinemaScore rating. Roth will next be in theaters in a couple of weeks with the Keanu Reeves thriller Knock Knock.
Rounding out the top 10 was critical darling Sicario which expanded into 59 theaters and grossed an estimated $1.77M for a per screen average of an astounding $30,000. Its total now stands at $3.5M and the film goes into wide release next weekend.
The top ten films grossed an estimated $125.3M which was up 30.6% from last year when The Equalizer opened at number one with $34.1M; and up 36.9% from 2013 when another animated sequel, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, debuted in the top spot with $34M.
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