This week is CinemaCon, a yearly trade show for the movie theater industry where Hollywood studios show off their biggest upcoming blockbusters in order to sway theater owners as to which films to book for their screens. One of the biggest stories of this year’s show thus far has been a renewed push by Sony Pictures Animation to diversify their and expand their output with new franchises based on both existing intellectual-property and original characters; a push that mirrors similar animation-focused efforts underway at Warner Bros and other studios.

However, that doesn’t mean Sony is abandoning its already-existing animation franchises, including Adam Sandler’s moneymaking Hotel Transylvania series. The third installment in the animated monster film series, Hotel Transylvania 3 is now officially scheduled for arrival in 2018, confirming previous reports on the matter.

Hotel Transylvania is not only one of Sony Pictures Animation’s most proven hit franchises, the series also marks the biggest recent box-office success for Sandler, who provides the voice of Count Dracula. While the comedian has moved much of his original output to Netflix (as part of his contract with the streaming giant) and has also seen his last few theatrical features open to mixed box-office reception, the Hotel films have been among the most popular and well-reviewed features he’s appeared in for quite some time. Hotel Transylvania 3‘s previously-reported September 21st, 2018 date was confirmed by Sony at CinemaCon; that’s the same date that Warner Bros. currently has claimed for its Scooby-Doo reboot S.C.O.O.B., so expect one of these two family-friendly animated film to change dates over the next two years.

A spoof of classic monster movies in the “Universal Horrors” mold, the Hotel Transylvania films also parody vacation-resort comedies and generational misunderstandings. In the original, Sandler’s Dracula is the father of a teenage daughter whose castle doubles as a vacation destination where fellow monsters and their families can relax without fear of human persecution. When a human teenager inadvertently arrives on the scene and falls for the Count’s daughter, it upsets the balance of the resort but ultimately leads to a positive reconciliation. The film’s sequel once again found Dracula trying to adjust to familial changes, as he worries as to whether his grandson has failed to inherit vampire abilities.

Hotel Transylvania 2 Movie Cast 2015 Hotel Transylvania 3: Sony Confirms September 2018 Release Date

No plot details, casting or creative teams have been revealed for Hotel Transylvania 3, though it’s likely safe to assume that Sandler and much of the main supporting cast (largely culled from Sandler/Happy Madison regulars) will return in one fashion or another. Comedy legend Mel Brooks, introduced in Hotel Transylvania 2 as The Count’s own elderly father, is also a possibility for a return performance. Animation cult-icon Genndy Tartakovsky directed both films, but has already indicated he does not plan to be part of the third.

The announcement came as part of a broad slate of projects revealed for CinemaCon by Sony Pictures Animation. In addition to Hotel Transylvania 3, the studio is also touting The Emoji Movie, an animated comedy-adventure in which the titular texting-icons go on an adventure through the digital worlds contained within the apps of a smartphone, an animated Smurfs reboot (titled Smurfs: The Lost Village) that will restore the characters to their original conception apart from the previous live-action/CGI films, and the video game adaptation The Angry Birds Movie. The studio also has an animated Spider-Man movie arriving in 2018 and is developing The Lamb, a “faith based” feature that retells the Biblical Nativity story from the perspective of animals.

NEXT: Animated Spider-Man Movie Logo Revealed

Hotel Transylvania 3 will open in U.S. theaters on September 21st, 2018.

Source: Sony Pictures [via Deadline]

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