In a victory for Sony's animation unit, kids pic Hotel Transylvania is headed for a $30 million-plus debut at the domestic box office.
Boasting a voice cast led by Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez, the 3D family toon will have no trouble winning the weekend crown. If traffic holds, the $85 million movie will come in ahead of the $30.3 million opening of fellow Sony animated pic Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in September 2009.
Hotel Transylvania and new entry Looper -- which likewise is off to a strong start -- should help the box office recover from a tough postsummer stretch.
Looper, directed by Rian Johnson and receiving stellar reviews, should gross north of $18 million in its debut (bullish observers believe it could cross $20 million). The sci-fi action pic stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis and is a being released by Sony's TriStar label in tandem with FilmDistrict and Jim Stern's Endgame Entertainment (Endgame fully financed and produced the time-travel yarn).
Prospects for the weekend's third new wide release, the Maggie Gyllenhaal-Viola Davis education drama Won't Back Down, aren't as bright. The $15 million film, fully financed and produced by Walden Media, might gross only in the $5 million range for the weekend.
Won't Back Down, about a parent and teacher's battle to take over a failing public school, has drawn the ire of teachers unions.
Specialty openings include Universal's musical comedy Pitch Perfect, about an all-girl a cappella group. The film, whose cast includes Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow, opens Friday in 335 theaters and is on course to open to a pleasing $2.5 million to $3 million. The pic expands nationwide Oct. 5.
Universal held its largest-ever word-of-mouth screening program for Pitch Perfect, which it co-financed with Paul Brooks' Gold Circle Films. Brooks produced the film alongside Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman.
- Hotel Transylvania
- Adam Sandler
- Selena Gomez