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Weekend Wrap-Up: An Early Halloween Treat

October 1st, 2012

September ended on a record-breaking note as Hotel Transylvania finally bumped Sweet Home Alabama out of top spot on the September weekend list. That record lasted a full decade, which is amazing given the total ticket price inflation since 2002. Not only did Hotel Transylvania crush predictions, Looper also did a little bit better than predicted, a tiny bit better than predicted. This is true of just about every film in the top ten, and every little bit helps. Overall, the weekend box office surged 30% from last weekend to $118 million, which was 19% higher than the same weekend last year. Let's hope this is more than a momentary blip and the beginning of a new winning streak.

Hotel Transylvania became the first film to earn $40 million over a weekend in September opening with $42.52 million. This is far outside the expectations of the vast majority of analysts. Not only that, but its internal multiplier was stunning at 3.88. Even for a family film, this is great. The film's reviews were only mixed, but it is clearly connecting with families better than it is with critics and unless it collapses next weekend, it will hit $100 million. This is the kind of surprise we needed going into the final stretch of the year.

Looper was a distant second place with $20.80 million, which was within a rounding error of weekend predictions. With the best reviews in the top five, the film could have better than average legs and become a solid midlevel hit. With a reported production budget of $30 million, the film is well on its way to profitability. It won't get there domestically, but if it can merely match its box office numbers internationally, it will get there before the home market. We will have more information on Wednesday about the international box office numbers, but I will give an advance look. It made more in its opening in China that it did here. Not more relative to the size of the two markets, but more in terms of raw dollars.

End of Watch was just ahead of expectations with $7.81 million over the weekend for a total of $25.98 million after ten days of release. At this pace, it should reach $40 million with relative ease, making it the distributor's second biggest hit thus far. With a reported production budget of under $10 million, it's already well on its way to profitability.

Trouble with the Curve was right behind with $7.28 million over the weekend for a total of $23.47 million after two. It too will reach $40 million, which is, as I've previously stated, mildly disappointing.

House at the End of the Street held on better than expected down just 42% to $7.12 million. This is fantastic for the genre and is the opposite of what one would think would have happened based solely on the reviews. It was an inexpensive film to make, so unless it bombs internationally, it will break even sooner rather than later. If it does well internationally, it will break even before it reaches the home market.

Pitch Perfect was a surprise entry in the top ten pulling in $5.15 million in 335 theaters. Its per theater average was $15,371, or about three times what I thought it would be. Its reviews are better than most wide releases, so it could do really well during its wide expansion on Friday. I've certainly become more bullish about the film's chances.

On the other hand, not every film in the top ten was strong. Won't Back Down bombed, hard, earning tenth place with just $2.60 million in 2,515 theaters. Its per theater average was just $1,035, or barely more than half the Mendoza Line. Its reviews were bad, but not this bad, so one could ask if the marketing was poorly done, or perhaps there's more to it than that. It will disappear as soon as theater owners are contractually able to drop it.

Dredd fell out of the top ten during its sophomore stint with just $2.28 million over the weekend for a total of $10.86 million after two. Its reviews were great, so it is a little hard to explain this result. Bringing up Judge Dredd's quality only goes so far. Perhaps its appeal was too narrow, as the original comic is far from mainstream.


Filed under: Weekend Box Office, Hotel Transylvania, House at the End of the Street, Looper, Dredd, Won't Back Down, Trouble with the Curve, End of Watch, Pitch Perfect