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September 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Sony’s animated Hotel Transylvania turned out to be something of a monster at the box office over the weekend, scaring up some $43 million in ticket sales, a record for September. (The previous record was set 10 years ago when Sweet Home Alabama opened with $35.6 million.) Sony’s other new release, the critically praised time-travel flick Looper, also debuted nicely with about $21.2 million. [Update: reported late Sunday that the movie earned even more in China — $24 million; however, U.S. distributors receive only 25 percent of Chinese box-office revenue versus 50 percent from other overseas markets.] Together, they blew wind into the sails of a box office that had been languishing in the doldrums for the past month. Overall sales were up 20 percent over the comparable weekend a year ago, according to preliminary estimates. Clearly families turned out for Hotel Transylvania in hordes on Saturday — and the studio expected Sunday business to follow suit. Saturday’s $19-million take (which rose from $11 million on Friday) was the most ever earned by any film on a single day in September. Meanwhile, Fox’s controversial Won’t Back Down was expected to flop with around $3-5 million, and it didn’t disappoint the prophets of doom. It took in only $2.7 million. On the other hand Universal’s strategy of opening the musical Pitch Perfect in a limited number of theaters to stimulate positive word-of-mouth in advance of next week’s wide release appeared to pay off. The film took in around $5.2 million, representing an impressive per-screen average of about $15,600.