After a month of films that could take the top slot with little or no effort, this week saw two new wide releases  come out and deliver more than was expected, and a film in limited release that exceeded expectations as well. Hotel Transylvania, Looper and Pitch Perfect were all big winners this weekend. Check out the numbers…

Film Weekend Per Screen Total
1 Hotel Transylvania
$43,000,000 $12,840 $43,000,000
2 Looper $21,200,000 $7,086 $21,200,000
3 End of Watch $8,000,000 (-39.2) $2,878 $26,169,000
4 Trouble With the Curve $7,530,000 (-38.1) $2,344 $23,726,000
5 House at the End of the Street $7,154,000 (-41.8)
$2,320 $22,225,000
6 Pitch Perfect $5,200,000 $15,522 $5,200,000
7 Finding Nemo $4,066,000 (-57.8) $1,541 $36,475,000
8 Resident Evil: Retribution $3,000,000 (-55.2) $1,260 $38,700,000
9 The Master $2,745,000 (-37.5) $3,207 $9,633,000
10 Won’t Back Down $2,700,000 $1,074 $2,700,000

Hotel Transylvania is an original property, and its success should launch Genndy Tartakovsky‘s film career. Yeah, it may feature the voice talents of Adam Sandler and his cronies, but this is a pretty good win in the scheme of things. Tartakovsky is attached to direct a Popeye movie next, and we’ll see if that comes to pass or if he can use this to leverage for a better follow up. If it does okay internationally, they’ve got a nice sized hit on their hands, and with the holiday themes, it could become a perennial if people like it.

Looper, though distributed in America by Sony, was financed independently, and I believe that the film had a $30 Million budget. So that it’s going to do in the $50-$60 range domestically, and already made over $20 Million overseas means that they’ve got a movie that isn’t going to lose money, and should actually net a tidy profit. Unfortunately, getting a movie made in what amounts to a mid-budget range is increasingly difficult these days, so it seems likely that director Rian Johnson will either have to take his chances with independent financing for his follow up, or jump into a big franchise type situation. Hopefully he can get something going at Warner Brothers.

End of Watch and House at the End of the Street held way better than expected in the face of two films that could have sucked the air out of the room. Most horror movies fall over 50%, so that’s impressive. But out of the top five, Pitch Perfect was on 355 screens and was doing sell-out business all weekend. I don’t know if that helps its expansion next Friday, but it might. People seem to love the film, even though the filmmaking sounds very point and shoot. That doesn’t matter if the performers deliver. We could see it expand to a $20 million dollar three day next weekend, but you never know.

For the record, Resident Evil: Retribution has already made $175 Million worldwide.

Won’t Back Down didn’t find its audience, and it’s been called anti-union propaganda, so I guess it has two black eyes. As it was released by 20th Century Fox – who has a right wing news station under its umbrella – the studio probably got embarrassed about the film, which was surely just meant to be a harmless “people working hard” type of film. As such it’s one of the worst wide releases of all time (in the top twenty), and the second worst release of a film on over 2,500 screens.

Reality Check: I didn’t think Hotel Transylvania had a $40 Million dollar opening in its future, though I thought it would be #1. Basically, kids are hard to track. I went high on Looper, but it appears word of mouth took it even higher, and I assumed the new wide release would be able to trump a horror movie’s second weekend. Wrong.