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 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 more than $900 million worldwide to date.
Going into the weekend, experts expected a three-way race to the top among "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 Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for comScore. "They become instant hits."
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"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.
(Universal Pictures is a division of NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC News.)
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, at just less than $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 by 62 percent from last week. It's one of the steeper second-week falls in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first "Ant-Man" fell by 53 percent.
A handful of smaller releases made notable splashes over the weekend, including Annapurna's buzzy dystopian satire "Sorry to Bother You," which opened in limited release last week and added 789 locations over the weekend. 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 picture will expand nationwide in the coming weeks.
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)