How spooky 'Hotel Transylvania 2' set September box office opening record

The animated movie 'Hotel Transylvania 2' set a record this past weekend for the best September opening ever, while the comedy 'The Intern,' which is the newest Nancy Meyers film, also performed well. 

Sony Pictures Animation/AP
'Hotel Transylvania 2' stars Adam Sandler (center), Mel Brooks (r.), and Asher Blinkoff (l.).

The animated sequel “Hotel Transylvania 2” not only topped the box office when it opened this past weekend, it reportedly set a record for the best opening in September of all time. 

“Transylvania,” which centers on Count Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez), and her husband (Andy Samberg) and son (Asher Blinkoff), earned more than $47 million domestically this past weekend. The first film opened in 2012 and was also a financial success. 

“The Intern,” which stars Robert De Niro as an older intern to a younger boss (Anne Hathaway), came in second place with a weekend gross of more than $18 million. The film is the newest by Nancy Meyers, who also wrote and directed such movies as “It’s Complicated” and “The Holiday.”

“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” which is the second in a planned trilogy of movies adapted from the “Maze Runner” young adult book series, grossed an additional $14 million this weekend. The film opened on Sept. 18 and is a sequel to the 2014 film “The Maze Runner,” which also did well at the box office in the fall. 

The movie “Everest,” which is based on a 1996 incident in which several people died on the mountain, came in fourth and grossed more than $13 million. The movie had opened the previous weekend at IMAX and other large-format theaters and expanded this weekend. It isn’t a great debut for “Everest.”

The movie “Black Mass,” which stars Johnny Depp as criminal James “Whitey” Bulger, came in fifth, grossing more than $11 million. It had opened on Sept. 18.

What led to the big success of “Hotel”? A lack of competition for family audiences was doubtless one factor. Parents most likely aren’t taking their children to see the crime drama “Black Mass”; “The Intern,” which looks like it has some adult humor; or “Everest,” with its no doubt harrowing scenes. The other movie for young audiences right now is “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” and that’s most definitely aimed at teens, with its PG-13 rating warning of “extended sequences of violence and action, some thematic elements, substance use and language.” 

With its spooky theme – Frankenstein’s creature and the Phantom of the Opera are supporting characters – “Hotel” no doubt attracted families already excited about Halloween. October is, of course, a natural time for a spooky movie to be released, though some other recent animated offerings like “Frankenweenie” haven’t done well despite coming out in the month of Halloween. (Perhaps recent spooky animated movies that disappointed at the box office like “Monster House” and “Paranorman” would have done better if they’d come out in September or October.) 

While we as a culture are far beyond the belief that animated movies are only for kids (take a look at the multiple Oscar Best Picture nominations awarded to Pixar if you're in any doubt), the fact remains that the last high-profile animated release was July’s “Minions” (the film “Shaun the Sheep Movie” was barely noticed by audiences when it came out in August). Families looking for an animated movie to see together no doubt accounted for a large part of the audience for “Hotel” this past weekend.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.