‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ had the highest September debut weekend on record, surpassing the haul of… the first ‘Hotel Transylvania’ in 2012.  The second raked in $47.5M over the $42.5 generated by the first.  Sony had previously taken a huge hit with Adam Sandler’s live action summer flop ‘Pixels’ but the animated family flick which featured the comedian in the starring role as Dracula redeemed the one-time box office champ.  ‘HT2’ is Sandler’s second best opening ever, after 2005’s ‘The Longest Yard’.  Sony is on a roll!  Following #1’s ‘War Room’ and ‘The Perfect Guy’, ‘HT2’ is the studio’s third consecutive peak debut.

More after the numbers:

  1. Hotel Transylvania 2 (Sony) – $47.5M
  2. The Intern (Warner Brothers) – $18.2M
  3. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (20th Century Fox) – $14M
  4. Everest (Universal) – $13M
  5. Black Mass (Warner Brothers) – $11.5M

While Sandler has a larger filmography, it may have been costar Selena Gomez who helped draw more ‘HT2’ viewers as she promoted to kids (including a Scholastic Book campaign) and the often-overlooked Hispanic community.  (Sony partnered with Univision for a three month promotional blitz.)

Josh Greenstein, Sony’s worldwide marketing and distribution chief, stated:

“It speaks to how much people love these characters. We took a global approach on everything we did in terms of marketing and distribution which is a big focus for (Sony Pictures chairman) Tom Rothman in regards to our labels’ strategy. We knew family and Hispanic components were very important and we knew we had a movie that was beloved. We tried to age it up in the sell as much as we could, making it accessible to not only kids, but also teens and families. This is a phenomenal result for Sony Pictures Animation, and for Kristine Belson, who oversaw this project.  We’re so happy for Adam Sandler and Genndy (Tartakovsky) who made a great film.”

Speaking of under-served communities, the #2 movie, Nancy Meyers’ ‘The Intern’ delivered to the older female crowd, the same moviegoers who made her previous mature dramedies ‘Something’s Got To Give’, ‘The Holiday’ and ‘It’s Complicated’ sleeper hits.

In third place, ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ had better legs than anticipated, outpacing the under-performing ‘Everest’, which fell below expectations upon its wide release.  ‘Everest’ which opened in IMAX is still holding strong in that format, becoming the first IMAX movie to top $10M in September.

Gangster drama ‘Black Mass’ rounded out the Top Five.

Next weekend should easily belong to ‘The Martian’ but good word of mouth for ‘HT2’ could give it some competition.  Also opening is ‘Legend’ another true life gangster bio, starring two Tom Hardys as twin British crime bosses Ronnie and Reggie Kray.  (You had me at two Tom Hardys.)

Check back to see how these newbies fare!

Source: Deadline