With "Finding Nemo 3D" not doing as well as anticipated, animated family film "Hotel Transylvania" is in good position to open as the number one movie at the box office as we finish one of the slowest September's in recent memory. Aiming at a different crowd will be acclaimed R-rated thriller "Looper," which stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as time-traveling hit men. Drama "Won't Back Down" is also slated to hit theaters across the country, though a minimal marketing effort and limited buzz suggest that it will finish out of the top five.
Starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Steve Buscemi, "Hotel Transylvania" takes aim at audiences just as families are starting to make plans for Halloween, which is now only a month away. With a bevy of the big names from smash comedy hit "Grown Ups" in the voice cast, "Hotel Transylvania" should have some appeal for both adults and kids, making it an easy sell to families this weekend.
Also working to the advantage of "Hotel Transylvania" this weekend is a complete lack of new family titles currently in theaters. Though "Finding Nemo" represents some competition, last weekend's so-so opening for "Nemo" proved that many families would rather rent the Blu-ray than pay the inflated prices for 3D. "Hotel Transylvania," on the other hand, represents the first new family film to hit theaters in more than a month, giving it a clear advantage as it reaches roughly 3,300 theaters across the country this weekend. Look for "Hotel Transylvania" to reach the top of the charts with somewhere near $30 million, which would be the most by a movie at the box office in six weeks.
While "Hotel Transylvania" scoops up family audiences, plenty of adults will likely turn to "Looper," an R-rated thriller that has been gathering considerable critical acclaim in the weeks leading up to its release. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, "Looper" has a popular cast that should give it some appeal, though it still has to compete with adult-intended films like "End of Watch" and "Trouble with the Curve."
But while "End of Watch" and "Trouble with the Curve" provide some competition, "Looper" is also a somewhat familiar sci-fi concept that should help bring out mainstream action audiences. Though "Looper" will have some difficulty competing for action audiences next weekend with "Taken 2," look for it to open with a steady $20-$23 million at 2,800 total venues this weekend and to put together a decent overall box office run for distributor TriStar.
Not having nearly the same level of mainstream appeal this weekend looks to be Fox's "Won't Back Down," an inspirational drama starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. With a PG rating, "Won't Back Down" could potentially have some appeal to families, though the opening of "Hotel Transylvania" will make it a very difficult sell to younger audiences. Expect "Won't Back Down" to fizzle this weekend and likely stay out of the top five with somewhere in the neighborhood of $4-$6 million at an estimated 2,500 theaters.
Also looking to finish once again in the top ten is Paul Thomas Anderson's acclaimed art house film "The Master," which got off to a very good start in a limited release but has slowed considerably. Though it originally looked like "The Master" could challenge Anderson's last effort "There Will Be Blood" at the box office, there doesn't seem to be any crossover appeal for "The Master" and it will likely see a significant decrease in screenings fairly soon. "The Master" could see a rejuvenation if it gets some awards season attention, but a quick decline at the box office seems likely.
Next week, Liam Neeson's action-thriller "Taken 2" should be able to overcome scathing critical reviews and competition to land atop the box office charts as we turn the page to a packed October release schedule. Tim Burton's animated film "Frankenweenie" will give "Hotel Transylvania" some competition and comedy "Pitch Perfect" will expand nationwide after opening in limited release this weekend.
RTT Box Office Predictions for 9/28/12 - 9/30/12 (in millions):
1. Hotel Transylvania (Sony/Columbia): $28
2. Looper (TriStar): $21
3. End of Watch (Open Road Films): $7
4. Trouble with the Curve (Warner Bros.): $6.6
5. House at the End of the Street (Relativity): $6.2
6. Won't Back Down (Fox): $5.2
7. Finding Nemo 3D (Disney): $5
8. Resident Evil: Retribution (Sony/Screen Gems): $3.4
9. Dredd (Lionsgate): $3.2
10. The Master (Weinstein): $2.9
by RTT Staff Writer
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