As concern grows over the Delta variant surge across the US and parts of the world, Sony Pictures is reportedly in talks with Amazon Studios to sell Hotel Transylvania 4 in a global streaming deal that could reach $100m.
The development comes amid ongoing hesitancy over returning to cinemas and is fuelling speculation that there could be another wave of delayed film releases and/or sales to streaming platforms.
Last week Sony announced it was pushing back Venom: Let There Be Carnage by three weeks to October 15 – the superhero spin-off’s third delay from its initial October 2020 date.
Vaccine mandates covering select public indoor entertainment venues introduce another factor that could slow down cinema-going’s return. New York City’s mandate starts on Tuesday, and Los Angeles council members are heading towards a similar resolution. A mandate begins in another major US film market – San Francisco – on Friday (20), and one is already in effect in New Orleans.
The fourth instalment in Sony’s animation franchise that has generated more than $1.36bn at the global box office in the past nine years is especially susceptible to the impact of Covid given that it is a family film and relatively few children under the age of 12 have been vaccinated.
Hotel Transylvania: Transformania was scheduled to open on October 1 and features a returning voice cast led by Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez and Steve Buscemi. Brian Hull assumes the voice of Dracula after Adam Sandler portrayed the vampire in the first three films, and Kathryn Hahn also stars.
Variety was the first to report the Amazon Studios development. Neither Sony nor Amazon Studios responded to requests for comment.