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Box office preview: Hotel Transylvania 2, Everest, The Intern

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Sony Pictures Animation

Everest, The Intern, and The Green Inferno are all hitting theaters this weekend, but it’s Hotel Transylvania 2 that’s expected to sink its teeth into the box office.

The family-friendly animated adventure, starring Adam Sandler as a hotel-managing Dracula, is expected to debut to $35 million or more, but three other films are jockeying for second, each eyeing a weekend in the mid-teens. Here’s how this weekend’s box office race might play out.

1. Hotel Transylvania 2 — $35 million

Most are expecting the sequel to Genndy Tartakovsky’s animated Dracula adventure to reel in about $35 million, although some are predicting it could fly as high as $40 million. The first Hotel Transylvania opened the same weekend in 2012, debuting to $42.5 million and setting the record for the biggest September opening ever. There’s been a dearth of family-friendly animated openings since Shaun the Sheep hit theaters in early August (before that, it was Minions in early July), and if Hotel Transylvania 2 opens anywhere above $26 million, it’ll be Sony’s biggest debut of the year.  

2. Everest — $17 million

Baltasar Kormakur’s Everest opened exclusively in limited 3-D and premium theaters last weekend, earning a whopping $7.2 million in 545 locations. Now, it’s going wide, expanding to more than 3,000 theaters, and most are predicting that positive word-of-mouth should help boost it to $15 to $17 million.

3. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials — $16 million

The second film adaptation of James Dashner’s best-selling young adult series fell just short of the original, debuting to $30.3 million last weekend. Still, that was more than enough to secure first place, and strong international numbers have already boosted The Scorch Trials to more than $118 million worldwide. The first Maze Runner, which opened the same weekend last year to $32.5 million, fell about 46 percent in its second weekend, and if Scorch Trials does the same, it’ll bring in about $16 million.

4. The Intern — $15 million

The Intern marks director Nancy Meyers’ first film since 2009, starring Robert De Niro as the titular intern and Anne Hathaway as his boss. The Intern is eyeing a debut of around $15 million, although some are predicting that in a box-office race filled with action-adventure films, the adult-skewing dramedy could climb even higher.

5. Black Mass — $12.5 million

Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger biopic, starring Johnny Depp as the legendary gangster, opened to $22.6 million last weekend, putting it on par with similar Boston crime dramas like The Departed and The Town. Black Mass is eyeing a 45 to 55 percent drop in its second weekend, which should put it between $12 and $13 million.

Outside of the top five, The Green Inferno, Eli Roth’s first directorial feature in eight years, is also set to debut, and the cannibal flick is expected to earn between $3 and $5 million. Stonewall is also opening in limited release, and Sicario is expanding to about 50 theaters after opening last weekend and earning the biggest per-theater average of the year.