Director Genndy Tartakovsky has a pair of big box office successes under his wing with Sony’s 2012 animated feature Hotel Transylvania, and this fall’s record-setting follow-up Hotel Transylvania 2. The success of the franchise guarantees a third installment from the studio, but Tartakovsky himself has confirmed that he won’t be returning to the helm.
The first film, featuring the voice talents of Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Fran Drescher, David Spade, and Molly Shannon, grossed nearly $150 million domestically, with an additional take of $210 million from international markets. The sequel, which adds the incomparable Mel Brooks, has already grabbed $50 million domestically after four days in theaters. So why would Tartakovsky turn down a chance to shepherd another film?
In speaking to The Wrap, Tartakovsky confirmed his departure from the director’s chair for the franchise, and gave the following as his reasoning:
“‘Hotel Transylvania 3’ is going to happen without me,” he said. “Two is enough. I have a lot of other ideas, and I kind of have to express them and have them come out.”
That might be the most refreshing statement you’ll hear out of a Hollywood director’s mouth for the next year. Tartakovsky, whose animation creator credits include Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack, with work as an animator on a number of other popular shows, has spent the bulk of his career on the small screen. The success of Sony’s Hotel Transylvania films certainly established Tartakovsky’s ability to handle feature-length animation, though he remains a man of conviction when it comes to his creative vision. This stance led him to part ways with the studio’s newly re-imagined Popeye project due to creative differences and other difficulties:
What happened with “Popeye?”
We made a version that we were happy with, and the studio didn’t like that version. It’s still a mystery for me that they didn’t like that version. They wanted to do “Popeye” for the brand recognition and I loved the character and grew up with it, so there was a tug of war. They wanted it really updated, and I can only update it a little before it isn’t “Popeye” anymore. To be truthful, it was in the middle of the Sony hack and the studio was really struggling. It was just really bad timing.
It sounds like Tartakovsky is eager to embark on his own passion projects now that his coffers have been replenished and he still has some cachet from the success of Hotel Transylvania. He likely cashed in those chips to get Sony Pictures Animation to let him pursue his original idea titled Can You Imagine? It’s described simply as a fantastic journey through one boy’s imagination. Unfortunately he hasn’t revealed much more about the film, so we’ll just have to wait until he gets rolling to get any new updates. If it’s anything like his previous original creations, his fans are in for a big treat.