Trilogies are a tricky thing. While they largely to make tons of money from a captive audience, it can be challenging for filmmakers to create an engaging story for a threequel. Third movies are famously the worst from major trilogies, and now the pressure is on for Hotel Transylvania to break that trend. The animated franchise is changing things up with Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, taking the iconic character of monsters, and bringing them on a monster cruise. This is a bold departure from the first two films, and I recently spoke to franchise director Genndy Tartakovsky about this decision. It turns out that he was ready to walk away from the property, before a family vacation of his own sparked his imagination. As he told me,
After I was doing press for the second movie I said 'I'm not doing another one!' I was very adamant about it. Because it's a toil-- sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Like any job And because it's creative it burdens your soul sometimes when things don't go your way. It's your baby. It's a difficult process, so I was kind of like 'I'm kind of done with the franchise. I should do my originals.' And that year my in-laws surprised me with a cruise. And as I was walking on the boat I started to see all these families, all the different dynamics, and started to look at them. Even in my own. And though 'Wow, this is a great setting for our family.'
You've heard of art imitating life before, right? In this case, Genndy Tartakovsky's real life experience helped revitalize his interest in the Hotel Transylvania franchise. Because while directing and advertising the first sequel may have taken a lot out of the animator, getting the motley crew of monsters out of the Hotel and in a new space allowed for new storytelling and comedic opportunities.
Hotel Transylvania 3 follows the beloved group of monsters 6 years after the events of the second film as they take a family vacation. While we'll follow Dracula falling in love and everyone else getting a vacay, the location of cruise allows for bigger sets and locations. As Genndy Tartakovsky teased during our conversation,
Just getting them out of the Hotel. The few times we got them out of the Hotel in the second movie was fun. But for this, it's pushing the monster world actually. In the second one we saw suburbia and stuff, and did those jokes. In this case it's the Bermuda Triangle, it's Atlantis, it's underwater, it's deserted islands. It's all these things that have a monstrous set on it.
While threequels might have a bad wrap in the movie world, it looks like Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation is going to seriously up the stakes and limits of the franchise's world. The first two movies made great money at the box office, so we'll have to see if they can strike gold thrice.
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation will arrive in theaters on July 13, 2018. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.