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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Adam Sandler’s monster mash-up “Hotel Transylvania” has brought the weekend box office back to life after a late-summer slump.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the animated comedy debuted at No. 1 with $43 million, one of the strongest starts ever for a movie opening in September.

“Hotel Transylvania” set a new high for September debuts in terms of actual dollars, beating the previous record of $35.7 million for 2002’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” But factoring in today’s higher admission prices, “Sweet Home Alabama” sold more tickets.

This weekend’s box office was further strengthened by a solid No. 2 debut for Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s time-travel thriller “Looper,” which took in $21.2 million.

Hollywood’s overall grosses rose for the first time in a month compared to the same weekend last year.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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