With the pandemic still raging on, Sony’s fourth installment of its animated Hotel Transylvania films is looking like it will skip the theatrical release altogether. Amazon is nearing a $100 million deal with Sony for the movie to premiere on Prime Video this fall.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania was originally scheduled to open in theaters on Oct. 1, but new information given to Variety reports Sony has been shopping around for alternatives since early August. The move to a streaming release would be due to the rise in Covid cases along with the new Delta Variant, and the fact that there are no vaccines available for children under 12. New York City has mandated vaccines for all indoor exhibitions, and other major cities are likely to do the same, making a family movie premiere in theaters not feasible.
Sony is likely not the only movie studio to shift upcoming family releases to streaming. We’ve already seen most releases of 2020 and 2021 adopt a hybrid release model with day and date streaming options, including Disney’s Jungle Cruise, Paramount’s Paw Patrol: The Movie, and its upcoming My Little Pony: A New Generation which will also head to Netflix.
The first three Hotel Transylvania films have grossed more than $1.3 billion in theaters worldwide since 2012, so finding a lucrative alternative is surely a top priority for Sony, which is the only major movie studio without a dedicated streaming service. In the past, Sony has placed films with a variety of streaming services, including Tom Hanks’ Greyhound on Apple TV+, American Pickle on HBO Max, Fatherhood on Netflix, and its upcoming Cinderella will premiere on Amazon.