The top movie at the box office this weekend was Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, the third in the Adam Sandler animated franchise. Ironically, it’s also the only place to find Sandler these days outside of Netflix, where he’s still making movies as part of a massive production deal. The film made $44 million, which is right in line with expectations. It’s almost exactly what the first film earned in its opening weekend and about $4 million less than the sequel’s opening weekend.
For Sony, the Hotel Transylvania series is a no-brainer. They’re relatively inexpensive films to make (around $80 million, or less than half of what it cost to make a Pixar film), and they turn a tidy profit (the second one made nearly $500 million worldwide). Reviews for the third film have been mixed (59 percent on Rotten Tomatoes), and for the third consecutive time, the film earned an A- from Cinemascore.
As a parent subjected to these films, I thought that both critics and audiences were too kind to a film where “The Macarena” played a pivotal role in the plot. As a parent, I also understand why these films earn as much money as they do: They’re mildly amusing diversions that seem to be released on the exact weekends when parents need a two-hour break. The films also benefit from the star power and social-media presence of their voice actors — Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Joe Jonas, Keegan Michael-Key and Andy Samberg, among others — although they might be wise to spend some of that money in the fourth film to punch up the jokes (garlic, we learn in this film, makes vampires fart).