LOS ANGELES • Hotel Transylvania 2 easily topped the weekend box office, sinking its teeth into an impressive US$47.5 million (S$67.8 million) and providing a big win for star Adam Sandler and Sony Pictures, the studio behind the animated franchise.
Both had endured rough patches at ticket booths.
Sandler, once among the most consistently commercial leading men in Hollywood, has suffered a series of flops, such as Blended (2014), That's My Boy (2012) and Jack And Jill (2011), that have raised questions about his bankability.
And Sony, which had its inner workings laid bare in last year's hack attack by North Korea, was subjected to a summer that saw films such as Aloha (2015) and Sandler's video game Pixels (2015) rejected by audiences.
It has been on the upswing in recent weeks, fielding modest hits such as War Room and The Perfect Guy, but this is the studio's biggest opening since 22 Jump Street debuted with US$57 million in June last year.
Hotel Transylvania 2, a sequel to the vampire-themed 2012 original, also sets a new September record, passing the previous film's US$42.5- million start. The US$80-million production, which features the voice of Selena Gomez, got off to a strong start overseas, outpacing the first film's results in parts of Latin America.
"It's on its way to being one of the most beloved franchises of all time," said Mr Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures president of worldwide distribution. "There are a lot of stories left to tell," he added, saying that he hoped there would be a third instalment.
Landing in distant second was Nancy Meyers' The Intern, starring Robert De Niro as a 70-year-old widower who goes to work at a fashion website, whose founder is played by Anne Hathaway. Filmed for US$40 million, it earned US$18.2 million in its first weekend out.
The films edged Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials into third place after debuting at the top of the box office last week, according to box- office tracker Exhibitor Relations.
Thriller Everest, in which a group of climbers find themselves engulfed in a blinding blizzard on the side of the iconic mountain, rose to fourth place in its second weekend out with US$13.1 million. REUTERS