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Box office report: 'Hotel Transylvania' sets September record with $43 million; 'Looper' strong in second

Right about now, some intern at Sony is probably carting a few crates of champagne into the boardroom. Or at the very least least a couple buckets of Halloween candy.

The studio had a terrific weekend, breaking the September box office slump with the top two hits in the country.

Hotel Transylvania led the way with a tremendous $43 million from 3,349 theaters — the highest September opening weekend of all time ahead of Sweet Home Alabama‘s $35.6 million bow a full decade ago. READ FULL STORY

Box office update: 'Hotel Transylvania' tops Friday with $11 million, 'Looper' rides in second

The September box office slump is finally over!

Sony Pictures Animation’s Adam Sandler-voiced kiddie flick Hotel Transylvania easily topped the chart on Friday with an estimated $11.0 million. The film’s family-friendly appeal should give it a terrific weekend multiplier, and Hotel is likely looking at a $37 million weekend and an easy first place spot.

In second was another Sony (well, technically TriStar) release: Looper, which earned a solid $6.9 million on Friday. The Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Bruce Willis action thriller could take in about $19 million by Sunday’s end. READ FULL STORY

Box office preview: 'Looper' and 'Hotel Transylvania' check in to theaters

For the past few weeks, it seems like every box office preview has started off with some iteration of the following: “After last weekend’s dismal results, the box office will get a much-needed boost over the next few days.”

And then it doesn’t.

Film after film has underperformed this September. No one bothered to read The Words. Audiences dreaded seeing Dredd. And Trouble with the Curve swung and missed. But, for some misguidedly optimistic reason, I’m holding out hope that this weekend the box office really will get that much-needed boost.

The well-reviewed time-bending thriller Looper hits theaters this weekend and will likely do solid business, but it will almost certainly yield to animated pic Hotel Transylvania, which is set to win the weekend. One other wide release, teaching drama Won’t Back Down, is also entering theaters, but it’s expected to fizzle almost immediately.

Here’s how the box office might shake out over the next three days: READ FULL STORY

Toronto Film Festival: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis at 'Looper' opening night premiere make audience gasp, cheer

Looper

Joseph Gordon-Levitt sat on the edge of his balcony seat, crouched forward, hands clasped, his dark double-breasted jacket draped next to him, as he, and his Looper costars Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, along with close to 2,600 other people, watched the sci-fi thriller at Toronto’s enormous Roy Thomson Hall for its Toronto International Film Festival premiere, kick-starting the fest Thursday night.

READ FULL STORY

Toronto Film Festival: Emily Blunt on 'Looper,' Joseph Gordon-Levitt's transformation, and why she had a big pile of wood in her backyard

Up until this week, all the attention around the sci-fi thriller Looper has been on Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s transformation into a younger version of Bruce Willis. In the film, written and directed by Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom), Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a mob assassin called a looper who kills off marks beamed back from the future. It’s a steady, well-paying, simple-if-brutal gig, until one day the mob decides to close your loop, and send back your future self to be killed off, severing all ties to the crime. Unfortunately for Gordon-Levitt, his older self is played by Bruce Willis, who escapes his assassination, forcing the younger Joe to try to chase down and murder his older self.

And that’s where Emily Blunt’s character comes in. It’s a part that’s been kept largely under wraps — all Blunt’s said publicly is that Joe’s pursuit of Older Joe brings him in contact with her and her family — but all that is about to change when the film premieres Thursday as the opening movie of the 2012 Toronto Film Festival. EW had a chance to talk with Blunt in July about the role; why she leapt at the chance to be in the film; the unusual training regimen she took on for the part; why she called Looper “the best movie I’ve ever been a part of”; and what it’s like to be directed by Johnson. Check out our conversation below:  READ FULL STORY

'Looper' clip: Joseph Gordon-Levitt would like Bruce Willis to 'do what old men do, and die'

In anticipation of its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival next week, the first clip from the sci-fi thriller Looper hit the Web today, featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis as the same man, 30 years apart. The younger man (Gordon-Levitt) is one of the titular Loopers, a class of mob assassin tasked with offing marks zapped from the future — until their loop is “closed” when they have to kill their future self (in this case, Willis).

Confused? Don’t sweat it too much. As Willis himself makes clear in this clip, trying to figure out the metaphysics of time travel is an exercise in futility. Much more important, to the characters and to the film: What would happen if you had to face down your future self?

Check out the clip below:  READ FULL STORY

'Looper' Comic-Con panel: Emily Blunt calls it 'the best movie I've ever been a part of'

The Project: Looper

The Panel: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Emily Blunt, director Rian Johnson

Footage Screened: Johnson called the sizzle reel an expanded version of the latest trailer, but there were still brand new peeks at one of the buzziest sci-fi films at Comic-Con. The first was a conversation between Gordon-Levitt — playing Joe, a mob assassin called a Looper who takes out marks zapped back to him from the future — and the mob boss played by a burly, bearded Jeff Daniels. First, the boss noted that he recruited Joe as the youngest Looper he’d ever hired, and then asked Joe where he was going to go after he retired (more on that in a sec). “I’m going to France,” said Joe. “You should go to China,” said the boss. “I’m going to France,” said Joe. “I’m from the future,” said the boss. “You should go to China.”  READ FULL STORY

'Looper' U.S. trailer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis face off as the same man

Yesterday, writer-director Rian Johnson (BrickThe Brothers Bloom) noted on Twitter that if you are already planning on seeing his next film — the sci-fi time-travel thriller Looper — it’s likely best to skip watching the film’s trailers. Johnson’s concern was that certain moments in Looper‘s story of a mob assassin (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tasked with killing himself from 30 years in the future (Bruce Willis) could be spoiled for you if you know too much about them going in.

Does he have good reason to worry? Well, the new domestic trailer for the film was released today, and it is indeed markedly different from yesterday’s international trailer thanks to an extended look at a crackling diner scene between Gordon-Levitt and Willis. Taken together, the two previews manage to paint a rough picture of the film’s main storyline and tone without taking us through every major beat of the plot.

Still, Johnson is right. If you have already decided to see Looper, there’s no need to see any more of it before you step into a theater. But if you remain unconvinced, perhaps this trailer will push you over the edge. Check it out below:   READ FULL STORY

'Looper' international trailer: Joseph Gordon-Levitt hunts himself, a.k.a. Bruce Willis

On the one hand, the new international trailer for Looper looks damn cool: Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a Mob assassin called a Looper who kills people sent to him from the future, and one day, he’s sent himself, 30 years older, played by Bruce Willis.

On the other hand, writer-director Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) had this to say today about the trailer on Twitter: “If you’re already set on seeing Looper, I’d avoid any trailers from here on out. They don’t ruin the movie, but they tip a few little things.” He later added, “Just to clarify – I approved all the trailers, they’re great and they won’t ruin anything big. But the small things they tip are fun to discover in the movie.”

What to do, what to do? Oh, just check out the trailer below:  READ FULL STORY

New trailer for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's sci-fi action movie 'Looper' might throw you for a loop

In the last three days, director Rian Johnson and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt released not one but two teasers for the trailer for their upcoming film Looper — and in one of them Gordon-Levitt cranked the expectations meter pretty high, calling the movie “my favorite thing I’ve ever done.” Pretty big words from a guy whose credits include, among other things, Inception, (500) Days of Summer, 50/50, and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, not to mention Johnson’s whip-smart, under-seen 2005 high-school noir Brick. So what is Looper? Well, now we have a trailer, which promises a gritty, mind-bendy sci-fi-action ride with Gordon-Levitt as a hit man who has to assassinate his future self (Willis), complete with lots of bullets and explosions, lots of time scrambling, and lots of style—plus, the initially jarring sight of Gordon-Levitt’s face rendered almost unrecognizable so he more closely resembles a young Willis (he evidently spent three hours in the makeup chair every morning). READ FULL STORY

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