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Wanna check in with Hotel Transylvania 4? Sony’s monster flick may skip theaters for Amazon debut

By Benjamin Bullard
Hotel Transylvania 4 Transformania

Your next reservation at Hotel Transylvania may not even require you to get up off the couch. In what’s reported to be a brewing mega-deal with Amazon, Sony Pictures Animation could end up bypassing this fall’s planned theatrical debut for Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, and premiere it instead on the small screen at Amazon Prime.

Variety reports that Sony and Amazon are nearing a huge $100 million agreement that could have the upcoming fourth film in the Hotel Transylvania franchise make its haunting premiere at Amazon’s premium subscription platform.

So far, there’s no early word on whether such a move could affect the movie’s pre-Halloween Oct. 1 debut date. But Transformania — billed as the final chapter in the current four-film series — brings a new spin to all the creepy monster proceedings, with Dracula and pals having to “transform,” for the first time ever, into something that resembles actual humans.

The new movie’s reported shift to a TV check-in comes as New York City enacts a fresh COVID-19 vaccine mandate for access to theaters and other indoor spots, with other big U.S. cities eyeing similar requirements. With the first three films in the Hotel Transylvania franchise already scaring up more than $1.3 billion globally, premiering a family movie in theaters during a vaccine mandate could limit its reach, as there's no approved vaccine yet for children under 12 years of age.

That leaves the living room as Sony’s next-best place to dial up a scary good time in lieu of Hotel Transylvania: Transformania’s previously-scheduled Oct. 1 release in theaters. It’s a move Sony’s already made a few times over the past year, premiering a variety of films on platforms like Hulu and Apple TV+. There’s also precedent for the reported Amazon deal: Sony’s new musical adaptation of Cinderella is slated to premiere at Amazon Prime on Sept. 3.

Marking the feature directing debut of Derek Drymon (CatDog) and Jennifer Kluska (DC Super Hero Girls), Hotel Transylvania: Transformania finds longtime franchise director Genndy Tartakovsky still on board — only this time as a writer and executive producer. A pair of new voices are registered for the series' fourth outing, with Brian Hull and Brad Abrell replacing previous stars Adam Sandler and Kevin James, respectively, as Dracula and Frankenstein.

The remainder of the movie’s voice cast is an all-star lineup of repeat visitors: expect big names like Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, David Spade, Steve Buscemi, Kathryn Hahn, Jim Gaffigan, Molly Shannon, Keegan-Michael Key, and Fran Drescher to all be back and ready for action after chilling out (or at least trying to) in the third installment’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation.

Can’t wait for the main event? While we wait for word on if and when Transformania might hit Amazon, back in April, Sony already anticipated our pre-release heebie-jeebies with an early monster-movie appetizer: the Hotel Transylvania short film "Monster Pets,” which is free to stream ’n’ scream right now on YouTube.