"Hotel Transylvania 4" go to Amazon Prime with Bound100M plus contract

It's almost official: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is set to skip theaters, confirming rumors. Variety reports that Sony Pictures Animation (SPA) is nearing a $100 million-plus deal to send the feature to Amazon Prime Video.

Transformania, the fourth film in the series, had hopscotched around the release calendar, changing dates three times in the pandemic. It was most recently set for October 1, where it clashed awkwardly with MGM's The Addams Family 2, another Halloween-friendly animated family feature.

The franchise is box-office gold: the first three movies grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide. Yet the rise in Covid cases, coupled with policies like New York City's vaccine mandate for indoor venues, has renewed the risks around a theatrical release.

Sony is the only Hollywood major without its own mass-market streaming platform, and as such it has sent movies to other streamers throughout the pandemic. SPA's three last films - The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Wish Dragon, and Vivo - all went to Netflix, and there was speculation that Transformania would too.

Instead, it is heading for one of Netflix's biggest rivals. Prime Video's animation strategy has been muted and a little haphazard to date, although it recently rolled out a high-profile acquisition, the anime feature Evangelion: 3.0+1.01 Thrice Upon a Time. Transformania will be its biggest animated pick-up yet by far.

Sony will retain rights to home entertainment, linear tv, and Chinese exhibition, Variety cites a source as saying.