The worlds favorite monster family is back and they are going from the hotel to the high seas in Sony Pictures Animations forthcoming Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. On Wednesday morning, stars Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Keegan-Michael Key, and Kathryn Hahn were on hand at SPA headquarters to talk about the third installment of the successful animated franchise alongside director and writer Genndy Tartakovsky — who came up with the idea for the movie on his own summer vacation.
After the second Hotel Transylvania, Tartakovsky said he wanted to close the chapter on the franchise. Just when he thought he was done making the loveable monster movies he said, “my family surprised me with a cruise and something clicked — it would make a good setting for a monster family.” This sparked the beginning of Summer Vacation.
The third film will appropriately be released on July 13 in the midst of summer box office season as opposed to the previous two films which were released in the fall. The first two installments earned $830M worldwide and owning the top two September openings of all time with a 32% increase in worldwide B.O. from the original to the sequel ($358.3M for the first tile, $473.2M for the second worldwide). That said, its good to have the same team back for the third.
Tartakovsky directed the two previous Hotel Transylvania movies and co-wrote the new pic with Michael McCullers while Michelle Murdocca returns for the third time as the producer. Also returning are the entire cast along with some new voices.
Adam Sandler returns as the Count Dracula while Gomez reprises her role as Mavis the teen vampire. Andy Samberg voices human Johnny Stein and Key plays Murray the Mummy. He stepped in to play the bandage-wrapped character in the second movie, replacing CeeLo Green. Also returning are Steve Buscemi and Molly Shannon as Wayne and Wanda Werewolf; Kevin James and Fran Drescher as Frank and his wife Eunice; and David Spade as Griffin the Invisible Man. New to the family are Chrissy Teigen as Crystal, Griffins invisible girlfriend, Joe Jonas as the singing Kraken, Jim Gaffigan as Abraham Van Helsing, and Hahn as Ericka Van Helsing.
The presentation included clips from Summer Vacation, giving us the first look at the monsters new adventure. As Dracula becomes stressed and lonely (he uses a monster dating app called Zingr) Mavis has an idea that they go on a vacation. They take the whole clan with them, but as they try to enjoy their cruise, they are being hunted by Ericka Van Helsing. Her family, as shown in additional fun clips, has had a history of hunting Dracula and monsters. We saw Gaffigan in animated action as he tries and comically fails to end Dracula. As one of the newest members of the cast, Hahn was thrilled to be part of the project — mainly because of her kids.
“My body of work isnt something [my kids] can see,” said the Bad Moms actress. “I was so excited that they can watch something mommy did — these movies are so charming and it was a ball.”
Samberg, Gomez, and Key talked about how it is revisiting their characters. Gomezs character has grown in the past two movies and she finds familiarity with her character and, more than that, she seems to be a big part of the story in Summer Vacation
“At this point it seems nice to act with everyone — its so nice to know what your characters are,” said Gomez. “Seeing Mavis go through all this and have kid — its nice to see to give Drac a break.”
As for Key, he talked what goes into playing Murray the Mummy. “I sleep 15 hours a day with lots of cover — a duvet, a comforter and plenty of sheets,” he says. He also talks about what he does to create Murrays distinct voice. “I eat foods with lots of cholesterol — fried chicken, okra — all southern foods. Whatever makes you phlemy.”
During the panel, Tartakovsky revealed another piece of inspiration for the movie: a hairy chest contest. While on his family cruise, the director admitted that he participated in — and won — a hairy chest contest. He talked about putting Drac in a hairy chest contest — but he would obviously lose because he is not hairy.
“Id like to see your chest,” said Sambeg.
“Maybe later,” laughed Tartakovsky.
“Okay, Ill look at it later,” said Samberg. “And everyone is invited!”
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.