“Hotel Transylvania 2” will take a bite out of the box office this weekend, as “The Intern” looks to recapture the sparkle of past Nancy Meyers hits like “Something’s Gotta Give” and “It’s Complicated.”
Then there’s “Everest,” the high-altitude adventure that got off to a muscular start in a limited Imax and premium format run last weekend. It expands to 3,004 theaters on Friday. The trio of high profile releases join holdovers like “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” and “Black Mass” in powering what is shaping up to be a healthy September for ticket sales. The past three weekends have seen overall receipts top the year-ago period, and overall revenues are up 20% from last year. The streak could continue if the combination of the “Hotel Transylvania” followup, Meyers’ latest comedy, and the mountaineering drama prove to be a bigger draw than Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer” and “The Boxtrolls” were over the same weekend in 2014.
Look for “Hotel Transylvania 2” to make the most noise, sinking its teeth into $35 million from 3,753 theaters. That’s a little shy of the $42.5 million opening the first film in the family series enjoyed in 2012, but Adam Sandler, who voices Count Dracula, isn’t as big a draw as he once was and the previous picture debuted against weaker competition in the form of “Looper” and little else. “Hotel Transylvania 2” was produced for $80 million and should do well internationally given that the first picture did nearly 60% of its business overseas. It opens in roughly 30 foreign markets, including major territories such as Mexico and Brazil, gradually rolling out across the globe through mid-October.
As for “Everest,” the Universal release should get a lift from strong word-of-mouth. The picture received an A CinemaScore rating after racking up a sturdy $7.2 million from 545 screens. Look for the film to add $17 million to its haul, putting it in prime position to recoup its $55 million production budget. The studio is being more conservative and predicting a launch in the mid-teens. Through Tuesday, “Everest” has grossed $8.7 million stateside and $43.7 million globally.
“The Intern,” a Warner Bros. workplace comedy with Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro, won’t match the opening of “It’s Complicated,” the director’s most recent look at love and enviable interior design, but it should get off to a solid start, opening to $15 million across 3,305 theaters. That puts it in line with Meyers’ “Something’s Gotta Give” ($16.1 million debut) and “The Holiday” ($12.8 million), both of which showed some staying power and appealed to older women. “The Intern” cost $40 million to produce, roughly half of those films’ budgets. It’s a sign of the new frugality being applied to adult-oriented fare at a time when Hollywood is saving its treasure for Batman and Spider-Man sequels and spin-offs.
Last weekend’s champ, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” will surrender its top perch and will likely see its $30.3 million opening cut in half during its sophomore weekend. A second weekend gross of $15 million seems feasible. As for “Black Mass,” the Johnny Depp gangster movie will experience a similar slide, falling to $12 million from its $22.6 million kick off.
There’s an unusual distribution experiment taking place this weekend, as well. Micro-budget horror guru Jason Blum is debuting “Green Inferno,” Eli Roth’s chronicle of the dangers of intruding up Peruvian cannibals’ turf, across 1,539 screens where it should do between $4 million to $5 million. The film was acquired for $1 million. To keep costs low, Blum’s production company Blumhouse is limiting the number of locations where the picture screens and leaning more heavily on digital marketing as opposed to relying on more expensive television spots.
In limited release, Roadside Attractions will field gay rights drama “Stonewall,” A24 offers up gambling drama “Mississippi Grind,” and Broadgreen Pictures debuts foreclosure crisis drama “99 Homes.” Lionsgate will also push “Sicario” from six theaters to more than sixty, after the drug war thriller scored the year’s best per-screen average.