October Arrives A Week Early as Box Office Records Set
By John Hamann
September 27, 2015
It’s the last weekend of September, so the box office should be just waking out of its post-summer sleep and building toward October. Instead, we have five films earning more than $10 million and the biggest opener ever for the ninth month. Could this be the biggest September ever?
Following a weekend with openers of the $30 million plus and $20 million plus variety (in September - *drink*), I thought things might soften a bit this weekend. I figured this weekend's sequel would debut lower than the original film, and the other opener would fail to punch above $10 million. Instead, Hotel Transylvania 2 pushed the envelope against its predecessor, and The Intern opened decently despite likely playing to an older audience. On top of that, Everest expanded nicely, while The Green Inferno opened low but fell right within expectations. Add to that an attention getting box office performance by Sicario – both last week and this week – which will give it some further attention with Oscar going forward.
The #1 film at the box office this weekend is Hotel Transylvania 2, and after a week of lowered expectations both by Sony and by some box office analysts, this one popped. The Adam Sandler flick started strong on Friday (there were no Thursday previews) with a stellar opening day of $13.3 million, improving on the original by $2.3 million. Consensus prior to opening was that the sequel would open lower than the original, not higher. Additionally, given that the original’s debut is the current high-water mark for the month of September, the sequel was heading for more headlines.
The original Hotel Transylvania had a very high internal multiplier of 3.9, so the sequel was not likely match that of the original. Still, because it plays so well to kids, the multiplier would be higher than 3.5. As Tim Briody pointed out yesterday in BOP’s Friday Box Office Analysis, this range would put it between $46.4 million and $51.7 million. In the end, the animated Sony sequel earned $47.5 million over three days and set the record for the top box office debut in September. It did it by going very wide in 3,754 venues (400 more than the original) and by answering an audience call that has gone unheeded since Minions launched 12 weekends ago.
The Hotel Transylvania franchise is becoming a nice box office bastion for Adam Sandler. After the much-hoped-for Pixels fizzled (good concept, bad execution), and following a string of disappointments, the Transylvania films stand out among Sandler’s top films going back almost a decade (I don’t count the Grown Ups movies – no one should).
Neither the original nor the sequel received great reviews (the original was 44% at Rotten Tomatoes, while the sequel is 47% fresh); however, according to Cinemascore, the kids seem to like them just fine. Both films earned an A-, which should give Hotel Transylvania 2 similar legs to the original, which had an opening-to-total multiplier of 3.5. The first Hotel Transylvania finished with $148.3 million, and added another $210 million overseas, all against a budget of $85 million. This one cost $5 million less at $80 million, putting Sony in an even better position this time around.