Dwayne Johnson might be able to save people from death, but fighting off a cartoon vampire is a whole different story as his “Skyscraper” was no match for Adam Sandler’s “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.”
“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation” has checked into the No. 1 spot at the box office in its opening weekend and left the Dwayne Johnson action thriller, “Skyscraper,” in the dust.
Sony Pictures estimated Sunday that the animated family movie earned $44.1 million from North American theaters. As the first in the franchise to open in the summer, it’s just slightly under the previous installment’s $48.5 million debut in September 2015.
Worldwide, “Hotel Transylvania 3” has already earned more than $100 million.
“It’s really terrific,” said Adrian Smith, Sony’s head of domestic distribution. “We’re positioned to take advantage of the valuable summer weekdays, and there are six weeks of summer left.”
The successful series has grossed over $900 million worldwide to date.
Going into the weekend, experts expected a three-way race to the top between “Hotel Transylvania 3,” ″Skyscraper” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” but the family film won by a large margin.
“There haven’t been a lot of options for families this summer,” said comScore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “They become instant hits.”
This is the third victory in a row for Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania” franchise, which follows the family life and small-business endeavors of Count Dracula, voiced by Adam Sandler. Each of the three films has cleared $40 million on its opening weekend and broken $100 million total. While the first two succeeded in the Halloween seasons of 2012 and 2015, this one was marketed as a summer film, with the count and his family boarding a cruise ship; the film was released in the only month in which all schools across the country are on summer vacation. Children and their parents made up 60 percent of the audience, according to exit surveys.
While audiences aren’t yet sick of the count, they do seem to be tiring of Mr. Johnson, whose action vehicle “Skyscraper” arrived in third place with $25.5 million, according to comScore, which compiles box office data. That’s a big drop-off compared to other recent films in which he saves the world, including “San Andreas” ($54.6 million in 2015) and this year’s “Rampage” ($35.7 million). With that film, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and a new season of “Ballers” all released in the last year, it’s possible we’ve reached the point of Rock oversaturation.
But while the domestic numbers are discouraging so far, Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures will be banking on big returns from China, where Mr. Johnson is a megastar. “Skyscraper” is even set in China, so it’s possible that by the time the film opens there next week, the weak domestic returns will be beside the point. The film’s production budget was about $125 million.
Johnson’s “Skyscraper,” a rare original summer blockbuster, remained earthbound in its first weekend in North America. The Universal Pictures film brought in only $25.5 million domestically. “Skyscraper” cost a reported $125 million to produce, not accounting for marketing costs.
Johnson has been a consistent presence in movie theaters this year with both “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Rampage” prior to “Skyscraper.” Both previous films opened in the $35 million range, and while “Jumanji” went on to be a worldwide box office juggernaut, “Rampage” petered out domestically just under $100 million. As with “Rampage,” however, the studio is expecting the majority of “Skyscraper” profits to come from international audiences.
“‘Skyscraper’ is really engineered for a global release, and it got a terrific start,” said Jim Orr, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “We have great faith in a more than terrific run at the domestic box office going forward.”
Internationally, “Skyscraper” grossed $40.4 million from 57 territories for a global total of $65.9 million.
Second place went to Disney and Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” which brought in an additional $28.8 million in its second weekend, down 62 percent from last week. It’s one of the steeper second week falls in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first “Ant-Man” fell 53 percent.
“Incredibles 2” took fourth place with $16.2 million and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” rounded out the top five with $15.5 million.
A handful of smaller releases made notable splashes this weekend including Annapurna’s buzzy dystopian satire “Sorry to Bother You,” which opened in limited release last week and added 789 locations this weekend totaling 805. It earned $4.3 million in its expansion for spot No. 7 on the charts.
The coming of age film “Eighth Grade” also scored top marks, and the highest per theater average of the year, with $252,284 from four theaters. The well-reviewed pic will expand nationwide in the coming weeks.
And documentaries continue to perform well too, including the Fred Rogers doc “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” which added $1.9 million from 868 theaters, and “Three Identical Strangers” which expanded to 167 theaters and grossed $1.2 million.
Estimated ticket sales are for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
- “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” $44.1 million ($46.4 million international).
- “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” $28.8 million ($35.3 million international).
- “Skyscraper,” $25.5 million ($40.4 million international).
- “Incredibles 2,” $16.2 million ($33.3 million international).
- “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” $15.5 million ($26.7 million international).
- “The First Purge,” $9.1 million ($6.2 million international).
- “Sorry to Bother You,” $4.3 million.
- “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” $3.9 million ($1.7 million international).
- “Uncle Drew,” $3.2 million ($70,000 international).
- “Ocean’s 8,” $2.9 million ($4.3 million international).
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theaters (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:
- “Dying to Survive,” $66.6 million.
- “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” $46.4 million.
- “Hidden Man,” $44.8 million.
- “Skyscraper,” $40.4 million.
- “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” $35.3 million.
- “Incredibles 2,” $33.3 million.
- “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” $26.7 million.
- “Asura,” $6.6 million.
- “The First Purge,” $6.2 million.
- “Ocean’s 8,” $4.3 million.