Genndy Tartakovsky, director of the first two “Hotel Transylvania” flicks, really didn’t want to helm another.
“I was burned out and done and said there is no way,” he tells The Post.
Then in 2015, the same year that “Hotel Transylvania 2” hit theaters, his in-laws surprised him with something far scarier than monsters: a family cruise.
“There’s the initial thought of being trapped on a boat with my in-laws for a week,” he says, laughing. “Even though I like them … Still!”
Inspiration had struck — what is a cruise ship but a hotel on water? The trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with his in-laws, wife and three kids sparked what would become “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” in theaters Friday. The animated adventure sees Dracula (Adam Sandler), his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) and the rest of their rowdy gang return for a cruise just for monsters. On board, Drac falls for the ship’s captain, Ericka (Kathryn Hahn), not realizing she’s the great-granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing (Jim Gaffigan), who is planning to murder him.
Eric Charbonneau/REX/ShutterstockTartakovsky, 48, says Sony Pictures Animation had already begun work on a different plan for a third “Hotel” film without him, but when he pitched his idea, they jumped on it.
One condition was that Tartakovsky — who created the TV series “Dexter’s Laboratory” and “Samurai Jack” — would have more creative control. As a result, he’s a co-writer for the first time in the film series. Being “an animator at heart,” as he says, led to a bigger focus on visual storytelling.
“The perfect example of this is if Dracula feels happy and in love, you could perhaps see him in the script going, ‘I’m happy and I’m in love!’” Tartakovsky says. “But in my version, he does a dance for two minutes.”
Audiences who’ve enjoyed — or endured — a cruise before will recognize many elements of their journey, including off-boat excursions and amenities like a swimming pool, massage parlor, kids club and of course, an all-you-can-eat buffet.
“For some reason, when they bring out the fried shrimp on the buffet, there’s, like, a stampede,” the director says. “It happened to me on two cruises, and I thought it was the funniest thing.”
A gag based on that unique phenomenon didn’t make the final cut though, and the filmmakers ultimately steered clear of humor at the industry’s expense — tempting as it may have been.
“We were trying to be careful not to crap [on] cruises too much because I think a lot of people do like cruising,” says Tartakovsky, with a laugh. “There’s definitely positives to it!”
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