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.

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