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Walk-around characters and celebrities share the spotlight at "Hotel Transylvania" screening

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Walk-around characters and celebrities share the spotlight at "Hotel Transylvania" screening

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There's reportedly this interesting moment when you work on an animated feature when the ownership of that movie shifts from the production team to the audience.  But I've never actually seen it happen ... Until this past Saturday morning, that is.

Sony Pictures Animation was holding a special pre-opening screening of "Hotel Transylvania" at The Grove Stadium 14. And given that some of the key creative & voice talents from this Columbia Pictures release were supposed to be on hand at this event, I schlepped on out to The Grove early, early on Saturday.

Photo by Jim Hill

As I arrived onsite, I have to admit that I found it kind of amusing that the "Hotel Transylvania" red carpet had been set up under the marquee of Pacific's The Grove Stadium 14.  Which was still promoting "ParaNorman," the horror-themed animated feature which preceded "Hotel Transylvania" into the theaters.

Anyway ... Even though it was barely 8:30 a.m. (and the red carpet arrivals wouldn't really get underway for an hour yet),  the press was already out in force, staking out their positions along the carpet.

Photo by Jim Hill

By 9:30, the first wave of the celebrities had arrived at the theater. "Saturday Night Live" veteran Jon Lovitz (who voices Quasimodo, the twisted chef at Hotel Transylvania) entered the press line and began talking about his history with Adam Sandler.

"Adam's a good guy. We had a lot of fun working together back at NBC on "Saturday Night." Which is why -- whenever he's making a new movie -- Adam always checks to see if there's a part in the script that I could possibly play. And if there is, he then gives me a call,"  Jon said to reporters working the press line.

Photo by Jim Hill

Now red carpet events can sometimes be pretty crazed & intense. With reporters & photographers jockeying for position, often screaming and shouting in order to get the attention of celebrities as they move along the red carpet. But Saturday morning's "Hotel Transylvania" red carpet event wasn't really like that. People weren't putting on the dog in order to make the scene at the Grove Stadium 14. They actually brought along their dogs.

Fran Drescher and her 11 year-old Pomeranian, Esther.
Photo by Jim Hill

Mind you, Ms. Drescher used Saturday's "Hotel Transylvania" event as a way to help get the word about her Cancer Schmancer Movement, that non-profit organization which Fran launched back in 2007 that's dedicated to the idea that all women's cancers be diagnosed in Stage 1, the most curable stage. And the celebrities who took part in Saturday's red carpet event were happy to grab a t-shirt and help get Cancer Schmancer a little more media exposure.

Selina Gomez, Fran Drescher, Adam Sandler and Jon Lovitz all gather together in
front of the cameras for a quick Cancer Schmancer photo op. Photo by Jim Hill

But beyond this ... The "Hotel Transylvania" red carpet was a pretty civilized affair. With both Selina Gomez ...

Selina Gomez chats with one of the younger reporters
working on the press line. Photo by Jim Hill

... and Adam Sandler ...

Adam Sandler makes a point while being interviewed.
Photo by Jim Hill

... being very generous with their time, making sure that each of the reporters & photographers working this event got the quotes that they needs / the shots that they had to have for their stories.

Me personally, I more enjoyed touching base with "Hotel Transylvania" producer Michelle Murdocca. Who was still over the moon about the hugely positive response this Sony Pictures Animation production had gotten earlier this month during its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

"Hotel Transylvania" Michelle Murdocca.
Photo by Jim Hill

It was also fun to get the chance to chat with Genndy Tartakovsky, who is now officially the hardest working man in animation. Given that -- even though it's still four days before "Hotel Transylvania" officially rolls into theaters -- Genndy & his story team are beginning work TODAY on their next project for SPA, a feature-length CG version of "Popeye."

"Hotel Transylvania" Genndy Tartakovsky (foreground) works the press line at
Saturday's red carpet. Photo by Jim Hill

And speaking of team ... Before Saturday's screening of "Hotel Transylvania" got underway, Tartakovsky walked to the front of the theater and -- after grabbing a mike -- took a moment to pay tribute to this film's production team. Singling out many of the people who were seated in the audience that morning for their contributions to this project.

Genndy steps into the spotlight so that he can then pay tribute to
the "Hotel Transylvania" team. Photo by Jim Hill

And directly after the screening ... Well, the audience then swarmed out into the lobby of The Grove Stadium 14. And where people had previously been excited about all of the celebrities that were in attendance at Saturday morning's event, now it was all about the "Hotel Transylvania" characters. With parents scrambling to get shots of their kids posing with Johnnystein ...

Photo by Jim Hill

... and Dracula and his daughter Mavis.

Photo by Jim Hill

It was at this moment when I spotted Adam Sandler standing in the lobby of The Grove Stadium 14 with kind of a bemused smile on his face. Where previously this world-famous comedian had  been swarmed by reporters & photographers, now it was the character that he'd voiced for "Hotel Transylvania" who had become the rock star.

But that's the way it is with animated features. You make these things and then send them out into the world, with the hope that audience will like the characters that you've created, the worlds that you've built for these characters to live in and explore.

Copyright Sony Pictures Animation.
All rights reserved

And based on the reaction of the audience at Saturday's "Hotel Transylvania" screening (Not to mention the fact that Adam Sandler was basically able to exit The Grove Stadium 14 without any members of the audience bothering him because all eyes were now on the walk-around versions of the "Hotel Transylvania" characters), I would imagine that a lot of people will be checking into / checking out "Hotel Transylvania" when it hits theaters this Friday.

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  • Fascinating.

  • I am liking the look and feel of this movie a lot..

    But don't expect professional film critics to agree with me, because it doesn't have the Pixar logo preceding the opening credits.

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