Friday Box Office Analysis
By Tim Briody
September 29, 2012
CGI entry Hotel Transylvania is some big news the box office hasn't seen in a while, taking in a very solid $11 million on Friday. The last several weeks have seen a "niche" project in ParaNorman and a 3D rerelease in Finding Nemo, so the last new animated entry was July's Ice Age: Continental Drift. It's rare we reach a point where younger audiences are underserved these days, but this is one of those times, and Hotel Transylvania is a big beneficiary.
Perhaps the most surprising box office stat in some time is that a record that has now stood for exactly ten years this weekend is in jeopardy. The record for a September opening weekend is held by Sweet Home Alabama with $35.6 million on this very weekend in 2002. For Hotel Transylvania to match that it would require a multiplier of 3.23, which is entirely reachable. A previous animated September Sony release, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs managed a 3.72 in 2009, while Finding Nemo's 3D rerelease a couple weeks ago earned a 3.3 multiplier, and last month's ParaNorman opened with a 3.06. Hotel Transylvania is more likely to come closer to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs than ParaNorman, and should have a weekend of $38.1 million, good for the new September opening record.
Time travel thriller Looper starts with $6.9 million on Friday, firmly in second place. Despite the confusing plot, it's a win for both Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, each of whom are recovering from flops. Outstandingly reviewed, that can only benefit its box office over the remainder of the weekend as it draws in older viewers. Give it a weekend of $21.8 million.
Out of nowhere, and only in 335 theaters this weekend is Pitch Perfect, earning $1.7 million and beating another opener that is in over seven times as many theaters. A comedy about an all-girl college acapella group, the limited release somehow found the right chord (sorry) to easily earn the best per-screen average in the top ten. A weekend of $5 million is a pretty stunning debut and could create some buzz for its wider release next weekend.
Won't Back Down
Not the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers biopic, teaching drama Won't Back Down is the anti-Pitch Perfect and earns only $1 million in 2515 theaters. Give it $3 million and we'll never hear about it again.
After a photo finish last weekend, End of Watch, House at the End of the Street and Trouble With the Curve are all pretty much lumped together again with about $2.4 million each, declining 49%, 50% and 46% from last Friday respectively. The second weekend benefits the non-horror film the most, but all three will still be mostly inseparable when the weekend estimates are in. Give the trio around $7 million a piece, with End of Watch ahead, followed by Clint Eastwood and then the horror movie.