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.
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.
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.
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
"Hotel Transylvania" Genndy
Tartakovsky (foreground) works the press line at Saturday's red carpet. Photo by
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 ...
... and Dracula and his daughter Mavis.
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.
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.