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It was the biggest September debut ever, the best for Sony Pictures Animation and, coupled with the $21.2 million debut of TriStar and Film District's sci-fi thriller "Looper," gave Sony a 1-2 punch that revived a moribund overall box office. The two films accounted for more than half of the overall grosses and, for the first time in a month, the overall box office was running ahead of the comparable week last year, by 20 percent.
The Saturday number posted by "Hotel Translyvania" -- $19 million -- was the biggest single September day ever, and was a 73 percent gain over Friday's $11 million. The film is playing at 3,349 locations and earned a per-location average of $12,840.
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The opening is the biggest box office debut since weekend since "Dark Knight Rises" took in $160 million back on July 20 and it beat the previous best September debut, which was posted by "Sweet Home Alabama" with $35.6 million in 2002.
Seventy-six percent of the "Hotel Transylvania" opening was driven by families and 24 percent was general moviegoers 12 and older. Of the audience over 12 years old, 60 percent was female. Women and kids under 18 years old gave it an "A" CinemaScore; it received an "A-" overall.
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"Hotel Transylvania" features the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, Molly Shannon, Cee Lo Green and Jon Lovitz. Genndy Tartakovsky, who executive-produced the TV series "Star Wars: Clone Wars," directs.
Tristar had Film District's "Looper," starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, in 2,992 theaters. Audiences gave it a "B" CinemaScore. Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels co-star in the time-travel saga written and directed by Rian Johnson ("Brick").
The audience for "Looper" was 59 percent male and 70 percent was over 25 years of age.
The weekend's other wide opener, Fox's inspirational school drama "Won't Back Down," fizzled. It took in just $2.7 million from 2,515 locations over the three days. The PG-13-rated drama stars Viola Davis ("The Help") and Maggie Gyllenhaal in the tale of two single mothers, one a teacher, trying to transform their children's elementary charter school in Pittsburgh.
Universal was looking to give "Pitch Perfect" a boost with an unusual platform release, opening the musical comedy in just 335 theaters ahead of its wide opening next week.
The weekend should give the studio some buzz to build on: "Pitch Perfect" took in $5.2 million, an impressive $15,560 per-screen average. It hit its demographic target. It's audience, 74 percent female, gave it an "A" CinemaScore.
Anna Kendrick stars as the new voice on her school's all-girl a cappella singing group, determined to update the set-list with more up-to-date music. Rebel Wilson co-stars and Jason Moore directs. The studio said Sunday that it intends to widen the release to around 2,800 theaters next weekend.
Last weekend's No. 1 film, Open Road Films' cop drama "End of Watch," took in $8 million from 2,780 locations, upping its overall domestic gross to $26.1 million.
Warner Bros. Clint Eastwood baseball movie "Trouble With the Curve" took in $7.5 million from 3,212 locations, raising its overall gross to $23.7 million after two weeks.
The Jennifer Lawrence horror thriller "House at the End of the Street" brought in $7.3 million from 3,085 locations for Relativity.
With "Hotel Transylvania," Sony Pictures has released its 8th No. 1 film of the year. The others were "Underworld Awakening," "The Vow," "21 Jump Street," "Think Like A Man," "Men in Black 3," "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Resident Evil: Retribution."
Sony Pictures also regains the lead and becomes the top studio year to date in terms of industry market share.
This weekend's top 10 movies:
"Hotel Transylvania," $43 million
"Looper," $21.2 million
"End of Watch," $8 million
"Trouble With the Curve," $7.5 million
"House at the End of the Street," $7.3 million
"Pitch Perfect," $5.2 million
"Finding Nemo," $4.1 million
"Resident Evil: Retribution," $3 million
"The Master," $2.7 million
"Won't Back Down," $2.7M million
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