Selena Gomez film “Hotel Transylvania” rocked the box office over the weekend while Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s sci-fi film “Looper” also made a strong showing along with third place finisher “End Of Watch” and Clint Eastwood movie “Trouble With the Curve.”
With cooler weather arriving in September and kids back in school, the appetite for movies appeared to grow. It was the first weekend in five where movie receipts beat last year’s box office for the same date.
Movegoers spent $110 million to see their favorite films, up 20 percent over last year at this time, according to deadline.com.
Weekend Top Ten Grossing Films*
Movie Theaters Wknd Gross Total 1. Hotel Transylvania 3,349 $39.5M Debut 2. Looper 2,992 $21.5M Debut 3. End Of Watch 3,083 $7.7M 2wk $25.8M 4. Trouble With The Curve 3,212 $7.4M 2wk $23.6M 5. House At End Of Street 3,083 $7.1M 2wk $22.2M 6. Pitch Perfect 335 $5.1M Debut 7. Finding Nemo 2,639 $4.0M 3wk $36.4M 8. Resident Evil 5 2,381 $2.7M 3wk $38.4M 9. The Master 856 $2.6M 3wk $9.5M 10. Won’t Back Down 2,515 $2.6M Debut
*Domestic only; Totals Sat, Sun only
Sony Pictures reaped the lion’s share of that with $66.2 million or 56 percent of the box office take. “Hotel Transylvania” took in $42 million, “Looper” grossed $21.5 million, “End of Watch” scored $7.7 million and “Trouble with the Curve” grossed $7.1 million.
The animated “Hotel Transylvania” included a slew of well-known stars. Along with Gomez, who played Dracula’s teen daughter Mavis, Adam Sandler was Dracula, SNL’s Andy Samberg played a normal guy, Kevin James, played Mavis’s uncle and Cee Lo Green played a mummy. Also voicing characters were Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Fran Drescher and Jon Lovitz.
Oddly, critics mostly panned the movie. It got a 42 percent rating on rottentomatoes, which tracks reviews. But audiences loved it. They gave it an 80 percent rating. Anything over 50 percent is considered positive.
“Even the animation is ugly,” wrote Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger.
But New York Times critic Neil Genzlinger was on board with the film. “The movie loses its originality as it rolls toward its predictable conclusion, but it’s still lovely to look at,” he wrote.
Given the movie’s strong audience approval, the contrast suggests Hollywood isn’t making enough family-fun movies that can be watched by pre-teens and tweens.
“Looper,” on the other hand, is a critical darling. It received an outstanding 93 percent rating from critics, which puts it in the same league as “The Hunger Games” which scored a 96 percent. Audiences were right in step with a 91 percent rating.
“An indie-inflected popcorn movie with major brains, brilliant acting and a highly satisfying payoff, ‘Looper’ is the first must-see movie of the season,” wrote Lou Lumenick of The New York Post.
The movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Joe, a hit man, also known as a “looper,” Bruce Willis, as Joe 30 years into the future, Emily Blunt as Sara, Paul Dano as Seth, Noah Segan, Piper Perabo and Jeff Daniels.
Joe eliminates people sent to him from 30 years into the future through time travel, which organized crime gangs use to eliminate rivals. But when the person sent back is his older self, things go awry. Joe fails to make the hit and becomes a marked man by the gang.
“A mind-bending ride that is not afraid to slow down now and again, to explore themes of regret and redemption, solitude and sacrifice, love and loss. It’s a movie worth seeing and, perhaps, going back to see again,” writes Christopher Orr in The Atlantic.