Toon on track to best expectations; sci-fi thriller looks for bump from positive buzz

Counterprogramming itself, Sony bowed both a 3D toon and a cerebral actioner this frame eyeing B.O. bounty and easily taking first and second place. And gold goes to the former as “Hotel Transylvania” scared up $11 million domestically on Friday.

The toon, toplining the likes of Adam Sandler and Selena Gomez and helmed by Cartoon Network alum Genndy Tartakovsky, is likely to land just north of $38 million after three days according to insiders. Predictions going into the weekend were a tad muted given the ongoing B.O. slump and the unpredictability of kid-skewing pics, but “Hotel” appears to be on track to exceed early expectations.

As for adult fare, R-rated Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis-starrer “Looper,” also from Sony, is looking to take second this weekend with a three-day estimated near $20 million. The sci-fi thriller grossed $6.9 million Friday and could see a nice if modest boost Saturday and Sunday from positive word of mouth and strong critical reception.

Universal rolled “Pitch Perfect” out for preview screenings at only 355 locations Friday that earned a stunning $1.7 million in advance of its wide opening next week. Modest playdates be damned, the laffer landed in sixth place at the domestic B.O. Friday.

And Fox’s “Won’t Back Down” picked up the tail end of this frame’s newcomers with just under $1 million. Despite the controversy surrounding the film — a drama about two mothers arresting control of their kids’ failing elementary school at the same time as real-world educators have been going on strike — pic is looking at the low single digits for this frame.

Behind “Looper,” Open Road’s “End of Watch” is down just 39% for $2.4 million Friday in third, and Warner Bros.’ “Trouble with the Curve” is right on its tail with $2.3 million. Both films are looking at about $8 million through Sunday.

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