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Feature FilmTV

Genndy Tartakovsky Isn’t Done With ‘Hotel Transylvania,’ Will Direct Third Film in Franchise

After directing the first two films in the franchise, Sony Pictures Animation announced this afternoon that Genndy Tartakovsky will return to direct Hotel Transylvania 3.

Genndy Tartakovsky.
Genndy Tartakovsky.

Many industry observers had expected that Tartakovsky would not return for the third installment, especially after Sony killed Tartakovsky’s pet project, a CGI Popeye reboot. Further, Tartakovsky’s creative instincts on the Hotel Transylvania films sometimes clashed with those of star and executive producer Adam Sandler, a battle that was confirmed in emails that were made public during the Sony leak.

Still, it’s hard to argue with success and it’s in everyone’s best interests to have Tartakovsky involved with the franchise: Hotel Transylvania 2 grossed $473 million globally, making it the second-highest grossing Sony animation film after The Smurfs.

Acknowledging the surprising turn of events, Tartakovsky said in a statement, “I thought I was done exploring the world of Hotel Transylvania after the first two films, but while I was away from the franchise finishing my TV show Samurai Jack, an idea sparked that I got really excited about and made it irresistible to return and helm myself this third adventure.”

Michelle Murdocca will produce the film again, and Sandler will executive produce and return as the voice of Dracula. Michael McCullers (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Boss Baby) is writing the screenplay, and Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg will revive their roles as Mavis and Johnny, respectively.

Sony has slated the third installment of Hotel Transylvania for September 21, 2018.


Additionally, Sony made other major announcements today, including finalizing their release slate for 2017-’18. Sony will release three animated features next year: The fully-animated Smurfs: The Lost Village (dir. Kelly Asbury) will hit theaters on April 7, 2017; Emojimovie: Express Yourself (dir. Anthony Leondis) is slated for August ’17; and The Star (working title, and formerly The Lamb, dir. Timothy Reckart) is scheduled for December 8, ’17. The latter, which is being produced in association with The Jim Henson Company, is Sony’s first foray into faith-based animation (the studio has an established reputation for producing successful faith-based live-action films). Written by Carlos Kotkin and Simon Moore, The Star is about “a small but brave donkey and his animal friends [who] become the unsung heroes of the greatest story ever told, the first Christmas.”


In 2018, in addition to HT3, Sony will release the CG-animated Spider-Man from The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Bob Persichetti, who was the original director on the upcoming Playmobil movie, will make his directorial debut on the Spider-Man film, from a script written by Lord.

In addition to the features, Sony announced three new animated TV series today:

  • Hotel Transylvania: The Television Series, produced in partnership with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, will focus on the teen years of Dracula’s daughter Mavis. Targeted for a 2017 airdate, it will air on Disney Channel worldwide.
  • Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs is slated to launch in 2017. The 2D series was commissioned by Teletoon in Canada and is being produced in partnership with DHX Medi. It will air on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and Turner channels across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Asia Pacific.
  • Ghostbusters: Ecto Force, a new generation of Ghostbusters in the year 2050 who capture ghosts around the world with help from local team. The series is being creatively spearheaded by Ivan Reitman and his production company Ghost Corps, and is being prepared for early-2018 launch.
  • Senior vice presidents of development Michael Lachance (Emojimovie: Express Yourself, Ghostbusters: Ecto Force), Jenny Marchick (The Star, Hotel Transylvania 3) and Mike Moon (Spider-Man film) are in charge of creatively spearheading the Sony Pictures Animation slate.

  • Pantufla Ocho

    I want to see what Animat (Mat Brunet) thinks of this

  • Christina R.

    Wait, there’s a HotelT TV show coming now? So why make a 3rd movie?! Personally I’d rather Genndy do the Popeye movie already (If Sony would let him, the nutbars.) but y’know. :/ Best of luck to him and his team!

  • Andrew Alderson

    Oh boy, Animat (Mat Brunet) won’t be very happy about this. because to quote han solo “I got a bad feeling about this.”

  • For goodness sake, just let Tartakovsky make “Can You Imagine?” and be done with it.

    That said, I have seen the fully animated Smurfs movie being hyped up on the production blog as being more faithful to the source material than the live action movies, so I’m looking forward to that, and I’m not even a Smurfs fan!

    A Spidey movie in the hands of Lord and Miller should be fun. An all new Ghostbusters cartoon helmed by Ivan Reitman shouldn’t be too bad, either.

    • Funkybat

      I’ll give the new Smurfs film a chance because it actually seems to be trying to stay faithful to the comic/animation origins. I cannot stand these creepy “lifelike” versions of cartoon characters featured in the previous Smurfs films, Yogi Bear, the Scooby Doo films, etc. It’s like a version of the “uncanny valley” for 2D characters.

  • Slim Cognito

    I wonder why Genndy continues to stick around there when they clearly seem to have little respect for artists or ideas. They trashed Popeye and I would assume Can You Imagine? as well.

    The fully animated Smurfs looks fantastic visually, hopefully it’s entertaining.

  • Andrew Alderson

    Also that logo for the emoji movie. Ugh…. You just have to see the emoji’s eyes that looks like it would take your soul for murder.

    • Marc Hendry

      There must be people working on the Emoji movie who are really trying their best to make a watchable movie out of it. My heart goes out to them

      • Dave

        I suddenly remember the violin players in that Titanic movie…sure their fall and demise is inevitable, but they’ll try their best as they go down with the ship.

        Because that ship is going down, no two ways about it.

  • white vader

    It’s so sad he has to continue to try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear on these. What a crime neither he nor McCracken are appreciated. At least he’s getting to finish Jack. Something I never thought would actually happen.

  • Inkan1969

    Tartakovsky’s team has done revolutionary work in expressive CGI animation. But I wish they’d get a chance to apply that work to a good script for a change. (The first film’s script was OK, but the second one was hopeless.)

  • Doconnor

    It’s surprising they would let a competitor’s franchise like Hotel Transylvania on the Disney Channel.

    The Jim Henson Company has a long history with CG animation. The Jim Henson Hour’s Digit was the first computer animated character on a TV show and they developed some of the first motion capture technology. They have produced a lot of CG animated children shows.

  • Fer Morales

    Keep Sandler as far away from the script as possible, please. Let Gendy work with the writer on that, because the second movie clearly show which parts Sandler had a hand on.

    • Dave

      Yeah, ’bout time Hollywood [or at least Sony in this case] start to realize that “star power” has lost its’ appeal to everyone.

      Still amazed how Genndy salvaged HT2 from the clutches of Sandler all things considered.

    • I agree, the writing for the sequel was all over the place compared to the first film. Not everyone is meant to write an animated film.

  • Renard N. Bansale

    Good for him, because his direction of the HT films is so full of life, prevents the films from collapsing from the weight of any pop culture/modern family film quirks, and renders them into surprisingly entertaining family fare.

  • Ken Martinez

    Here’s hoping Genndy gets put back on Popeye. His direction plus TJ Fixman’s script would be a perfect match.

  • J.S

    That Emoji character looks really generic.

    • Oscar

      More like Pac-Man or the characters from Angry Birds.

      • Funkybat

        I was about to say, very reminiscent of the 1980s Hanna-Barbera Pac-Man design. I would much rather see a 3D revival of THAT franchise than an “Emoji” movie. I do not have high hopes, especially given the track record from that studio. I was hoping the aftermath of that data dump would mean revolutionary change in the leadership of the animated film division – nope……we get “Emoji Movie.”

  • Crystal

    I’d rather Genndy stick around with TV. It’s making better use of his talents. Was hoping he’d do a new TV show or miniseries (maybe for Toonami?) after Samurai Jack. I don’t care if HT3 happens, but I’d rather seen Genndy doing something better.

    I don’t get why people are so fixated him on doing Popeye. I’d rather he’d make something more grown-up than these CGI kids’ comedies with celebrity voices that’s in the vein of what everyone else is doing.

    • Oscar

      What about Disney Channel?

      • I honestly couldn’t see a Genndy project on Disney. He might not have as much freedom like he did with CN.

  • I’m just wondering if “Can You Imagine?” is still in the works or if that’s also suffering from the awkward state that Sony Pictures Animation seems to perpetually be in. In any case, are they willing to let him tackle the screenplay this time? Probably not, but it would be nice to see the man’s influence outside of the wacky visuals.

    As for everything else, I’m cautiously optimistic about The Smurfs, deliciously awaiting the schadenfreude to be gained from the Emoji movie, interested in The Star, and totally on-board with the animated Spidey film. I can take or leave the television projects, though I wonder why they went this route instead of Netflix/Amazon/Hulu. Cloudy certainly isn’t going to get a good timeslot on Cartoon Network. And HT on Disney Channel (in the US) raises eyebrows considering that the Mouse’s own in-house animated series barely get any airtime there, outside of the preschool shows, and I don’t see them bending that new status quo for an acquisition of all things.

  • I’m really surprised that Genndy would return to Sony to create another Hotel Transylvania after the previous experience of creative control clashing. Especially that he would be working with the same leadership in how the project would go. If it happens like HT2 for the third installment, I don’t know how the movie will survive this time around.

    For doing animated feature films for Spider-Man and Ghostbusters, it feels like they are really milking the franchises and overdoing it. If they were direct to DVD projects, I don’t think it would be a problem. We’ll just have to see how it fares for Sony.

    • Funkybat

      I believe there is some kind of multi-pronged plan of attack at Sony for a launch-relaunch of Ghostbusters as a multi-platform, multi-version “brand.” There will be “Classic Ghostbusters” i.e. the original film and its sequel, the “Real Ghostbusters” original animated franchise (which itself had a couple of different iterations) and now the new female Ghostbusters film (which they would surely love to have a couple of sequels to) and this animated “Future Ghostbusters” series. That may not even be everything. Ghostbusters is a very beloved film, with a smaller but strong contigent of fans who also live the “Real Ghostbusters” series. But even if this new film is a huge hit and spawns a sequel or two, I just can’t see Ghostbusters having a huge footprint the way “Pokemon” or “TMNT” or other massive decade-plus brands do. It’s kind of like expecting the “Austin Powers” franchise to have multiple spinoffs and perennial popularity. It’s something that’s popular and enduring, but not an “evergreen” brand.

  • Christina R.

    That IS weird. I would’ve half-expected it to be on Nickelodeon. Wait a second: “…With Dracula away on ‘Official Vampire Business,’” “…enter Aunt Lydia, Dracula’s older and much meaner sister…Aunt Lydia pushes for
    even more order and tradition at the Hotel.”

    …So to the showrunners, Drac isn’t Drac without Sandler so write him out of the show? But by having his “big sis” be described as a more extreme female clone of him, that point is made moot. Like, what’s the point, just hold auditions for a close match to Sandler’s voice and keep Drac. Whatevs, I ain’t gonna watch it. Smurfs seems to be the only promising thing to me right now. :/

  • Some Guy

    The title for the Emoji movie is so squeezed in, I read it as “Emo Jim’s Movie”