September 26, 2015

EARLY FRIDAY BOX OFFICE: No Vacancy At “Hotel Transylvania 2,” Solid “Intern”


HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 (Columbia/Sony) is giving its beleaguered studio some good news, with a strong $12.8M opening day according to preliminary numbers at Deadline.  That’s better than the $11M start for the first Hotel, and although Transylvania 2 may be more frontloaded as a sequel and not match the original’s 73% Saturday bump, it should at least equal the first movie’s $42.5M weekend (the biggest-ever September opening) and could get to $45M+ with good word of mouth.  Like Tom Cruise, Adam Sandler seems to have reached the career point where he’s only a moderate box office draw except when he’s in one of his signature franchise vehicles (Grown Ups being his other one).

Although Hotel Transylvania 2 will easily win the weekend, THE INTERN (RatPac-Dune/Warners) is performing nicely for its older audience.  Its $6.5M Friday is just a bit below the $7.2M Christmas Day opening of Nancy Meyers’ It’s Complicated, and it’s considerably better than the starts for her The Holiday and Something’s Gotta Give.  (Intern also cost roughly half of those production budgets, at a relatively thrifty $40M, which doesn’t hurt.)  Its weekend should hit $18-20M, with no real competition for its target audience until Burnt in late October.

EVEREST (Universal) expanded from 545 large-format (and premium-priced) theatres to 3006, and lost some momentum, with a $4M Friday and a likely $12M weekend.  Its per-theatre average will drop by around two-thirds, from $13K to $4K.  Things won’t be getting any easier for the adventure:  even though their locales are very different, it’s going to face direct competition next week from The Martian, which may dent it further.

THE GREEN INFERNO (High Top) is trying an unusual marketing model, avoiding almost all TV advertising to keep the costs way down.  The studio claims that it can hit profit with total box office under $10M in this way, and Green Inferno looks like it will test that model, with a $1.6M Friday at 1540 theatres that might get it to $4M for the weekend, and probably $8M or so for its total gross.

SICARIO (Lionsgate) had a strong expansion from 6 to 59 theatres, with what should be a $1M+ weekend ahead.  That would give it a $20K per-theatre average, not at the rarefied level of The Grand Budapest Hotel ($55K average at 66), but around the same as Blue Jasmine, which eventually hit $33.4M in the US.  The more action-oriented Sicario could do as well or better.

PAWN SACRIFICE (Bleecker Street) expanded disastrously from 33 to 781 theatres, and may not get above a $1000 per-theatre average for the weekend.

None of last weekend’s openings held particularly well.  THE MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS (20th) dropped 62% from last Friday to $4.2M, pacing more weakly than the first Maze Runner, which fell 54% on its 2d Friday.  It could hit $14M for the weekend, putting it on target for a $80M US total, compared to $102.4M for the original (and at double the production cost).  BLACK MASS (RatPac-Dune/Warners) dropped 59% Friday-to-Friday to $3.6M, with a 50% drop to a $11-12M weekend on the way (The Town dropped 40% on its 2d Friday and 35% in its 2d weekend), and perhaps $70M in the US, far from The Town‘s $92.2M (and with a higher production cost and almost certainly a big piece of the revenues going to Johnny Depp).  CAPTIVE (Paramount) had the misfortune to open when War Room was sucking all the Christian oxygen out of the box office (a $4M weekend will put that one on the road to $65-70M at a tiny cost), and it fell 64% from last Friday to around $250K, heading to a sub-$1M weekend, which is to say far from heaven.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."