After weeks of underperforming, the box office finally has a strong weekend, topped by the most unlikely of celebs: Adam Sandler. Having been in a slump his last few films, Sandler takes a crack at an animated kids comedy with “Hotel Transylvania.” Looks like it’s done the trick as his Dracula character leads a marry gang of ghouls to number one at the box office with a $39.5 million weekend (the biggest opening since “The Dark Knight Rises”).
In second place is director Rian Johnson’s latest “Looper,” a sci-fi time travel thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the younger and older versions of the same character. The film made $21.5 million, giving Sony Studios the top two box office earners. The other new release, “Pitch Perfect,” lived up to its hype, as the Anna Kendrick-starrer had the best per-screen average on Friday ($14,645 on 335 screens) to finish in sixth place with $5.1 million. See interviews with the cast.
With some heavy hitters topping the box office this weekend it will be interesting to see who will take the WWTW crown.
Adam Sandler – “Hotel Transylvania”
Boy, did Adam Sandler need this one. Going through a box office slump that he’d never seen before in his career, which included bombs like “That’s My Boy” and “Jack and Jill,” Sandler moved to animation (his first time since 2002’s “Eight Crazy Nights”) and looks to have found a hit. Always known for his crazy voices and adolescent charm, he fit perfectly as the Dracula character. Examining if Sandler’s turn to kids fare is a smart choice, Forbes puts it best, “Our standards are much lower when it comes to kids films and for Sandler, that’s a good thing.”
Now he just has to figure out a way for us to like him again when we see his face on screen.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Bruce Willis – “Looper”
With the disaster of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s last starring vehicle “Premium Rush” a faint memory, audiences got to see what JGL could really do in a starring vehicle with “Looper.” And he was in good hands, as director Rian Johnson had already teamed with Gordon-Levitt in the cult hit “Brick” in 2005, showing that the once teen idol was ready for more adult fare.
In this gangster/time travel movie, Gordon-Levitt plays a hit man from the past who eliminates people the mob in the future don’t want to deal with. But things get tricky when his future self is the target (played by Bruce Willis). JGL is unrecognizable as he is made up to look like a younger Willis.
Working the talk show circuit, Gordon-Levitt was certainly very visible this week, and showed his diverse range with a “Saturday Night Live” hosting appearance.
Bruce Willis is no stranger to sci-fi fare, and in fact, some of his biggest earners are the films that go beyond him doing straight dramas. Though we didn’t see much of ol’ Bruce this week, the Internet got a nice treat this week as over at Film.com the site celebrated one of the megastar’s patented looks: him looking confused. Enjoy.
The Winner Is…
Again, Adam Sandler really needed this week to work out well, so he deserves a WWTW win as well.
In a world where what we think is funny changes constantly, the fact that Sandler’s brand of comedy has been relevant since he started on “Saturday Night Live” around 1990 is quite remarkable. But it’s not likely that Sandler is going to just do kiddie cartoons the rest of his career, so the next hurdle for him to clear is finding a live-action project that will give him a solid box office win.
We here at WWTW think it’s around the corner.