A new Disney film will once again try to turn the Haunted Mansion into a major movie franchise after a reboot by director Guillermo del Toro failed to happen and a “dreadful” Eddie Murphy comedy based on the beloved Disneyland ride became a flop with critics and fans.
A new ‘Haunted Mansion’ live-action movie by Disney’s film studio based on the 1969 Disneyland ride is in the works with “Ghostbusters” writer Katie Dippold, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Del Toro’s name has long been attached to a “Haunted Mansion” reboot that at one time was reportedly going to star Ryan Gosling. “The Shape of Water” filmmaker announced at Comic-Con 2010 that he was writing and producing a scary and fun “Haunted Mansion” movie centering on the Hatbox Ghost that would have a heightened sense of reality.
The 2003 “Haunted Mansion” starring Murphy as a real estate agent who buys a mansion that turns out to be haunted raked in $182 million at the worldwide box office on a $90 million budget, according to Variety.
Film critics called the Murphy “Mansion” movie “laughless,” “lifeless” and “soulless.” Critic Richard Roeper of Ebert and Roeper described the supernatural horror comedy as “dreadful.” The film’s Metacritic score of 34 found movie critic reviews were “generally unfavorable” toward the film. More than 100 critics gave the movie a 14% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes. The 30% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 135,000 user ratings was only slightly better than the woeful critical reception.
While most Disneyland and Disney California Adventure attractions are based on Disney, Pixar, Marvel or Star Wars films, a few rides were dreamed up by Walt Disney Imagineering with completely original backstories.
Disney has a long history of trying to turn Disneyland rides and lands not based on movies into major intellectual properties.
The most prominent success story: Pirates of the Caribbean. The Johnny Depp-starring franchise based on the 1967 Disneyland ride has spawned five films and earned $3 billion at the international box office, according to Variety.
Disney hopes to turn Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise into its next major movie franchise starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a riverboat skipper and Emily Blunt as an intrepid explorer.
A “Jungle Cruise” film has been in the works since 2006, according to the Internet Movie Database. “Toy Story” co-stars Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were paired to make “Jungle Cruise” in 2011. Johnson became attached to the project in 2015. The Johnson-Blunt film was originally slated to be released in October 2019, but reshoots bumped the release date back to summer 2020. The pandemic has now pushed the tentpole film to July 2021.
The Hollywood blockbuster landscape is littered with hopeful Disney franchises based on Disneyland rides and lands that have become mostly forgotten in pop culture history — including the 1997 “Tower of Terror,” 2000 “Mission to Mars,” 2002 “The Country Bears” and 2015 “Tomorrowland.”
The new “Haunted Mansion” movie is expected to draw on the spooky and creepy supernatural scares of the Disneyland ride along with a “graveyard’s worth of characters” like psychic medium Madame Leota, Black Widow Bride Constance Hatchaway and the fan-favorite Hatbox Ghost, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich have a history with big popcorn blockbusters like “Sherlock Holmes,” “It,” the “Lego Movie” franchise and Disney’s billion-dollar-grossing live-action “Aladdin” remake.
Writer Katie Dippold has experience combining laughs and scares on the all-female reboot of “Ghostbusters” in 2016. Dippold has also had hits with “The Heat” action-comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in 2013 and the “Snatched” action-comedy starring Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn in 2017. She also worked as a writer and story editor on the “Parks and Recreation” workplace sitcom starring Amy Poehler.