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‘Hotel Transylvania 2’ Surprises as Biggest Halloween Hit

Sony Animation’s family film has raked in $325 million since setting a September box-office record in debut

“Hotel Transylvania 2” is this Halloween’s biggest hit at the box office, even though it’s not even a little bit scary and came out more than a month ago.

Jack Black gave us “Goosebumps,” Jason Blum‘s “Paranormal Activity” franchise said farewell and Guillermo del Toro took us up “Crimson Peak” this Halloween season. But none of those films proved the box-office draw that Sony Animation’s “Hotel Transylvania 2” has become.

The film, about a resort for monsters run by Count Dracula, has taken in $156 million domestically and $370 million worldwide since opening to a record $48 million on Sept. 25. With “Goosebumps” knocking off “The Martian” when it debuted three weeks ago, Sony has had a very happy holiday.

“Both ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Hotel T 2’ benefited from their Halloween-friendly themes,” said Rentrak senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “They may have been among the very few beneficiaries of this crowded and crazy pre-holiday season box-office corridor.”

That early release date could cause some to question whether “Hotel Transylvania 2” is really a Halloween movie, but the holiday was always on the mind of the Sony brain trust.

“We knew if we could get out there early and successfully, we’d be set up all through the holiday,” said Rory Bruer, Sony Pictures president of worldwide distribution. “Now it’s on its way to being one of the most beloved franchises of all time.”

Despite a shrug from the critics (its at 51 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes), “Hotel 2” received an “A” CinemaScore when it debuted. Family audiences have supported it steadily and in the five weeks since, it has dropped an average of just 34 percent in grosses each week. A 50 percent hold is considered good, so that’s impressive.

“Hotel Transylvania” features the voices of Adam Sandler, Mel Brooks, Steve Buscemi, Selena Gomez and Kevin James. But if it does become a classic, it will do so without a key component. Director and series creator Genndy Tartakovsky, whose distinctive animation style infuses the $80 million sequel and the original, has said he won’t be back for a third film.

Sony hasn’t announced a third “Hotel,” but with the first two films grossing nearly $685 million worldwide, it will be hard not to.

“There are a lot of stories left to tell,” said Bruer, who hoped there would be a third installment. “Adam and the filmmakers have created an unforgettable animated world that plays to audiences everywhere.”