Your guide to the latest plot twists and surprise endings, now playing at a theater near you!
The film starts at a party in New Orleans. Astrophysicist Ben Matthias (Lakeith Stanfield) meets Alyssa (Charity Jordan), who provides ghost tours around the area. They fall in love and form a relationship, ending with them getting married. Cut to years later, where Ben is now alone and drinking, and Alyssa is implied to be dead. He continues her ghost tours after giving up his job and acts rudely to the guests when they ask questions about ghosts.
At the nearby Gracey Manor, a woman named Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) moves in with her son Travis (Chase W. Dillon) to turn the place into a bed-and-breakfast. When Travis goes to explore the rooms, he turns on his flashlight and comes face-to-face with the ghost of a bride (Lindsay Lamb), who freaks Travis out. He goes to tell Gabbie about it, who doesn’t believe him until a suit of armor walks up behind him, forcing them to run away. One of the spirits, the Hatbox Ghost (Jared Leto), laughs and says they will return.
Ben is visited by Father Kent (Owen Wilson), who was asked by Gabbie to find someone to take pictures of the ghosts for proof. Ben initially refuses until he learns that Gabbie is paying $2000. Ben arrives at the mansion with a special lens that he created. Gabbie shows him all the rooms where the ghosts might be but he mostly pretends to take pics because he thinks it’s a big joke.
When Ben returns to his apartment, he finds strange occurrences, such as wet footprints following him around, and when he opens his closet door, he finds an entire ocean and a boat in there, spewing water (and a harpoon) at him. Ben realizes he was followed by the ghost of a sea captain (Creek Wilson) before he returns to Gabbie and Travis, who were expecting him to return since the ghosts followed them outside the mansion as well. Ben also finds that Kent has experienced the exact same thing. He then shows the group a picture that he took with a lens he developed that captures dark matter, where he sees the sea captain’s ghost. Ben agrees to stay in the mansion until he figures out why the ghosts want them there. When he tries to go to his room, he is followed by a malicious ghost that says “he” will be happy to take Ben’s soul.
Kent wants to make a “dream team” to figure out how to solve their ghost problem. With Ben’s help, they speak to Professor Bruce Davis (Danny DeVito), an expert in paranormal happenings. Through his investigations, he has learned about the history of Gracey Manor and its original owner, William Gracey (J.R. Adduci), as well as how things started getting weird after Gracey’s wife Eleanor died of yellow fever. When Bruce wants to go to the mansion, Ben tells him no, so he tries to hide his documents until Ben and Kent try to pry them from him, and they end up getting burned.
The guys also visit a medium named Harriet (Tiffany Haddish), who initially seems like a phony, but Kent believes she actually has a gift. Harriet visits the mansion and gives her own assessment of the hauntings, even saying that she detects a grieving spirit in the room, before she leaves, and then returns two hours later because ghosts followed her. Meanwhile, Ben has set up cameras around the mansion to capture more paranormal activity.
Harriet organizes a seance with Ben, Kent, Gabbie, and Travis. They try to summon Gracey’s spirit, but he only grabs a pen and paper and writes “Talk to Leota”. When Harriet tries to summon Leota, the spirits act against her and push her out of the mansion and into a pile of mud. Bruce then drives up to the mansion to try and get in on the ghost action, only to receive the same treatment and get pushed away even further from the grounds, nearly getting hit by a truck. He is hospitalized but Ben and Gabbie take him out when the captain’s ghost causes a distraction at the hospital.
At night, the Hatbox Ghost tries to lure Ben out by conjuring an illusion of Alyssa’s spirit walking through the mansion and then outside before she pulls a nightmare face. The others wake him up when Bruce goes missing, but after they find him, he suggests they look for Leota in the attic. Ben goes up there and finds an old chest before the ghost bride tries to go for him with an axe.
The group opens the chest and finds a crystal ball containing the spirit of Madame Leota (Jamie Lee Curtis), a former medium that Gracey had sought help from. Leota tells them that Gracey contacted her after Eleanor’s death to try and speak with her. They tried a seance every midnight for a year, which opened up the room for other ghosts to come through. One such spirit posed as Eleanor and wrote to Gracey, convincing him to join her on the other side, which led to him committing suicide before Leota could stop him. The Hatbox Ghost then pulled Leota into the crystal ball and trapped her there. Leota tells the group that he needs 1000 souls to free himself from the mansion and gain full power, and he is only missing one more soul. Harriet comes up with a plan to create a banishment spell, which Leota says will work if they have an item that belonged to him in the past, but Hatbox Ghost stops them from finishing their plan.
The group starts making preparations for a reverse-seance, where Harriet will enter the ghost realm and try to banish Hatbox Ghost. Meanwhile, Ben talks to Gabbie, who mentions that Travis’s dad is no longer in the picture, making Ben think they split up. He bonds with Travis, who tells him he still talks to his dad.
When the reverse-seance takes place, Ben is the one to enter the ghost realm. He sees Gracey’s spirit and follows him, seeing other trapped spirits. Gracey blames himself for what happened and begs Ben to not let Hatbox Ghost get his last soul. Hatbox then shows up to taunt Ben and briefly possess him until Gabbie is able to snap him out of it. Ben relays his discoveries to the group and mentions that Hatbox promised to give him what he wants. Ben then tells the group about what happened to Alyssa and how she passed away in a car accident after they had a less-than-pleasant final conversation, and Harriet realizes Ben was the grieving spirit. Ben briefly has a breakdown until Bruce lightens the mood with a joke.
Since Ben has seen Hatbox Ghost’s face, Bruce comes up with an idea to go with Ben to see a sketch artist (Hasan Minhaj) to try and draw Hatbox from memory, and then add skin to his face. This helps them find out that his true identity was Alistair Crump, the son of a cruel and wealthy tycoon who shunned him from his home after the death of Alistair’s mother. After his father died, Alistair inherited his wealth and estate, and held many parties for those in high society that turned their backs on him. Alistair had these people killed and hid their bodies before his staff turned on him and beheaded him. Crump Manor has been deemed a historical landmark now turned into a B&B, so the group thinks they may find an artifact of Crump’s to banish him.
When Crump learns that the group knows his backstory, he tries to get the mansion to swallow them up. While the others run for it, Ben gets Travis out to safety before joining Kent. They try to drive out, but the trees in the forest come to life and try to attack them.
Ben, Kent, and Travis (and the captain’s ghost) arrive at Crump Manor, which is holding tours led by Pat (Winona Ryder) and Vic (Daniel Levy). While the group is distracted, the three sneak off with the captain’s help and find a basement that Travis has to go through. He finds Crump’s skull covered by his top hat, which he grabs and runs away from.
When they return to the mansion, Travis stays in the car while Crump possesses Bruce to try and trick Ben and Kent into drinking poison, while Harriet and Gabbie have been tied up. After being freed, Harriet tries to use the hat to perform the banishment spell, but Crump flies out of Bruce’s body and throws the hat into the fireplace. Meanwhile, Travis thinks he is talking to his father’s spirit (Gabbie reveals to Ben that he’s been dead for about a year), and he is lured to the basement by Crump, who was manipulating him the same way he manipulated Gracey. Ben manages to stop Travis just in time before Crump sends the other ghosts to go after the group.
Kent manages to get the ghosts on his side to turn against Crump while Harriet goes to free Madame Leota to help with the banishment spell. Crump corners the others outside in the graveyard with his ghost army until Ben offers himself up to be the final soul. Crump appears to promise him he can see Alyssa again, but just as the rest of the heroes come outside, Ben reveals it was all to buy him time. Bruce appears with what’s left of the hat and gives it to Leota and Harriet. They begin to banish Crump back into his grave to the underworld. He pleads with Ben to not let it happen so that Alyssa can know he truly loved her, but Ben says she already knows and kicks Crump in the face, pulling him back to Hell for good. Leota returns to her crystal ball while most of the other ghosts choose not to cross over.
Afterwards, Harriet convinces herself she is a true medium, while Kent goes on to become a real ordained minister, and Bruce relishes his new friendships. When Ben goes back to his apartment, he finds and adopts a stray cat named Tater Tot, which was Alyssa’s favorite snack, so he takes it as a sign that she is looking out for him.
Later on, Ben goes to a party at the mansion, where Harriet, Bruce, and Kent join him, Gabbie, Travis, and the rest of the ghosts. Meanwhile, Ben and Travis bring the captain’s ghost to the sea as he requested so that he can steal a boat.
Mother and son Gabbie and Travis inherit the haunted Gracey Mansion, home to nearly 1000 ghosts. They seek help from retired astrophysicist Ben Matthias, who is still grieving the loss of his wife Alyssa, along with a priest named Father Kent, a medium named Harriet, and a professor/paranormal expert named Bruce to try and find out what the ghosts want.
The mansion is haunted by Alistair Crump/The Hatbox Ghost, a former tycoon who killed those in high society out of revenge for them and his father turning their backs on him when he was young. After Crump's death, he vowed revenge and now needs the thousandth soul to reach full power and leave the mansion. Madame Leota tells them of a banishment spell using an item that belonged to Crump in life to try and stop him.
After finding Crump's hat, Kent gets the ghosts to turn on Crump while Harriet teams up with Leota to perform the spell. While Crump tries to convince Ben to help him so he can see Alyssa again, Ben kicks Crump into his grave where he is pulled back to Hell for good.
Ben is able to move on from Alyssa's death and remains close with his new friends, while the ghosts decide to stay at the mansion now that they are on good terms with Gabbie and Travis.
The Ending Of Haunted Mansion Explained
Disney once again invites fans into theaters for a trek through a big screen adaptation of its iconic theme park ride in 2023's " Haunted Mansion ." The ride was the basis of the 2003 Eddie Murphy movie "The Haunted Mansion," which was slated by fans and critics alike. The Mouse House will be hoping for a better reception for this new version, which follows a new set of characters. They end up becoming haunted by spirits after stepping foot into a New Orleans mansion with a dark past and tons of devious ghouls. This group must work together to uncover the truth behind the mansion's ghostly past and the origins of a particularly nefarious ghost so they can overcome the cursed hand they've been dealt and stop an evil plan from being set in motion.
"Haunted Mansion" not only takes fans on a wildly fun trip through a haunted house with familiar-looking ghosts , but it also delivers a surprisingly robust story with interesting character arcs and an intriguing central mystery. Along with the mystery that the characters have to solve surrounding the ghosts and the mansion's murderous past, the visitors also deal with elements of personal grief and tragedy that make them more emotionally compelling and connective. As a whole, there's a lot going on throughout "Haunted Mansion," with a bunch of stuff to break down. So get strapped in, because we're taking a deep dive into the film's ending.
What you need to remember about the plot
Before we jump into the film's ending, let's do a little recap of everything that leads to the big finale. Once single mother Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son Travis (Chase Dillon) enter the mansion and become haunted by the various ghosts that reside there, they call on some experts who sound like they belong more at the start of a bad joke. What happens when paranormal photographer Ben (LaKeith Stanfield), priest Father Kent (Owen Wilson), psychic Harriet (Tiffany Haddish), and university professor Bruce (Danny DeVito) walk into a haunted mansion? Well, a mad scramble for answers. The group tries to work together to uncover the truth behind the mansion, its ghosts, and a particularly treacherous ghost known as the Hatbox Ghost (Jared Leto).
The group eventually discovers that the Hatbox Ghost is formerly Alistair Crump — a socialite who secretly murdered many people until he was beheaded by his detractors. As the Hatbox Ghost, Alistair has been collecting souls in the mansion for decades, hoping to reach 1,000 souls so that he can come back to the world of living. Once the group learns that Alistair is only one soul away — and is targeting both Ben and Travis due to their lingering grief — they're forced to find something that belonged to Alistair so that Harriet can perform a banishing spell with Madame Leota (Jamie Lee Curtis). Unfortunately, Alistair's got plenty of tricks up his sleeve.
What happened at the end of the movie?
The last soul for Alistair's plan can't just be any old soul — it needs to come from a willing volunteer, which is why he targets Ben and Travis. They are still dealing with their unresolved feelings over the deaths of loved ones (Ben's wife and Travis' father, respectively), so they're vulnerable to falling for Alistair's tricks. Travis nearly does when Alistair mimics his father's voice, but Ben is able to intervene and remind Travis of what his father would actually want. However, this doesn't keep Alistair from attempting to coax Ben and it forces him to make a crucial choice — either sacrifice himself to save everyone else or let Alistair's reign of terror continue.
After Alistair transports Ben, Travis, and Gabbie to a graveyard that he's turned into haunted ritual grounds, Alistair continually reminds Ben that he'll never be over Alyssa's death and that giving up his soul will be the only way to see her again. However, Ben doesn't succumb to Alistair's tricks, and with the help of his new friends — both living and dead — he ends up defeating Alistair by kicking him into the open grave below. With a new perspective and new friends to stand by his side (including an adorable cat named Tater-Tot to remind him of Alyssa), Ben has finally come to terms with Alyssa's death and is able to move forward in life.
What happened to the mansion?
Oddly enough, the other spirits don't move on or disappear after Alistair is defeated. Rather, they return to the mansion to continue their ghostly lives there, but are now in much better spirits since Alistair is no longer ruling over them. Ghosts can be seen dancing and flying throughout the dining hall and it feels like they're reliving lives that were suddenly cut short. After seeing all the spirits dance through the halls, Gabbie and Travis decide to stay and look after the spirits.
Some time later, Ben and Travis help fulfill Sea Captain Ghost's final wish to be brought back to the sea, where he promptly and hilariously steals a boat. After that, Ben is seen giving Kent Alyssa's belongings and preparing to start a new chapter in his life. However, before he leaves, he spots a cat sitting on the porch with the name Tater-Tot on its collar –- which is tied to a story that Ben told the group about Alyssa's love of unhealthy food. It's a reminder of Alyssa, and it fits with something Harriet told Ben about little signs in life that remind us of people even when they're gone. The film ends with everyone reuniting at the mansion for a Halloween party and the spirits singing and dancing through the end credits.
What does the end of the movie mean?
One of the biggest running themes of "Haunted Mansion" deals with grief and how people live on in memory — which is pretty fitting for a movie about ghosts. Ben, in particular, is plagued by grief over Alyssa's death and it's something that affects him throughout the film. In a deeply heartfelt and emotional scene, Ben talks to the group about his unresolved feelings and how Alyssa's death still haunts him. He almost breaks down in tears talking about how Alyssa died in a car accident and how he's unsure that Alyssa knew he loved her — the key reason behind his continual suffering.
For Harriet, she's reminded of a lost loved one by the sounds of train whistles because of their love of model trains. She tells Ben that he too will find something to fondly remember Alyssa by and that will help him move on. Not only is that thing for Ben this entire experience, since he recognizes that he can't hold onto Alyssa's memory anymore, but also Tater-Tot the cat. Ben's arc in "Haunted Mansion" is meant to remind viewers that even when someone is gone there are ways for their memory to live on. The biggest takeaway from the ending of the film is that people can overcome grief without forgetting the person they're missing.
Why didn't the ghosts all vanish at the end of the movie?
Once Alistair is pulled back into the ground to spend the rest of his undead existence in a ghastly nightmare, most viewers likely expected the rest of the spirits to disappear and move on, since Alistair was the main thing keeping them in the mansion. However, instead of vanishing, the ghosts move back into the mansion and begin celebrating Alistair's demise. Alistair might have been the key reason that the ghosts were haunting everyone that entered the mansion, but he's not the reason that they haven't been able to move on. Like the Sea Captain Ghost, every spirit that remains in the mansion still has something they're holding onto in the real world that's likely keeping them from going into the afterlife.
As Harriet explains, every soul will be caught in an in-between ghost world if they still have regrets or things left unresolved when they leave the world of the living. So, while they would understandably want to party in the mansion that they've called home for so long after Alistair is dealt with, there's still some unresolved aspects in their stories -– which is why they can't leave yet. Perhaps Gabbie, Ben, and the group can take on new roles in granting these ghosts their final wishes when they're ready to move onto the afterlife.
What the end of the movie means for the franchise
Despite Disney always trying to turn their new films into robust ongoing franchises, "Haunted Mansion" features an ending that pretty much closes the book on this story without hinting at a future storyline. The end of the film doesn't tease any potential for Ben and the group's story to return, nor a way for the spirits of the mansion to have their stories be further fleshed out. There isn't even a post-credit scene hinting at the possibility of Alistair returning from his new grave. So, it seems like "Haunted Mansion" could be a one-and-done story for Disney, a rarity in Hollywood nowadays.
However, there are still some avenues for a potential sequel story should the Mouse House decide to go down that route at a later date. A sequel could easily see Ben and the group deal with another haunted mansion they become aware of, or start to become acquainted with some of the ghosts still lurking around the mansion. Given the mansion's murder-filled history, there could even be a new antagonist that rises to gain the same power that Alistair couldn't. A strong box office performance and positive critical reception could entice Disney to do more movies in this world. However, with Disney CEO Bob Iger's recent comments about downsizing some of their already established franchises, it's probably more likely that this will be the only "Haunted Mansion" movie for quite a while.
What has the director said about the franchise's future?
Although there hasn't been an announcement of a sequel to "Haunted Mansion," director Justin Simien has stated that the door is open for more stories in this world. While talking with SFX Magazine , Simien mentioned that he believes the film's world-building creates tons of potential for a sequel. "It's definitely in the realm of possibility," said Simien, adding that a lot of thought went into fleshing out the world that the movie takes place in. "We certainly set up a lot that I think a lot of other stories could derive from and continue from. Not really up to me, but I definitely think there are possibilities there."
Simien went even further in talking about how the film's depiction of the Hatbox Ghost can be applied to other ghouls within the lore. "It was really just about expanding what we know and what we can see around the story just a bit further, but not filling in every blank," said Simien. "We're pulling from what has been established, what really has been rumored, and tried to flesh him out and flesh that story out too. I think it's really satisfying. But it also leaves the door open for a lot more." While the decision lies with the higher-ups, the director clearly sees potential for the lore of "Haunted Mansion" to be further explored.
Other ways the franchise could continue
Even if a direct sequel doesn't happen, there are other ways that Disney could continue the story of these characters and this world. Spin-off films focusing more specifically on the stories of the ghosts might end up being discussed, kind of like what The Conjuring Universe does with its spooky characters. Disney could even make a villain-focused origin movie for the Hatbox Ghost, just like they did with "Maleficent" and "Cruella." And if they wanted an alternative to the big screen in order to keep costs down, Disney+ would be a great place for "Haunted Mansion" content.
An animated series focusing on the film's characters and ghosts could be an absolute blast and deliver some fun, family-friendly horror content that audiences of all ages would enjoy. Another "Haunted Mansion" crossover could also be worth looking into — it happened not too long ago with "Muppets Haunted Mansion," which most critics loved. Imagine how fun it would be to see Mickey Mouse or other Disney characters going through their own terrifying journey in the "Haunted Mansion" franchise. Frankly, it sounds like a perfect recurring Halloween special for the streamer. Another great idea is an anthology series based on the ghosts of the mansion, with a new ghoul's past fleshed out every week in a new episode.
If Disney genuinely isn't interested in continuing the franchise on the big screen, so be it. However, there are still plenty of ways to give "Haunted Mansion" fans their spooky fun. We're hoping that we get to go back to the mansion before too long.
What the ending reveals about Disney's other attraction adaptations
"Haunted Mansion" is far from being the first of Disney's theme park rides to get its own movie adaptation, and it definitely won't be the last. Along with a sequel to 2021's "Jungle Cruise," Disney is set to develop more "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, as well as movies based on rides like " Big Thunder Mountain Railroad " and "Space Mountain." While it's clear that Disney isn't pumping the brakes on trying to bring their most famous rides onto the big screen, the lack of franchise building in the ending of "Haunted Mansion" could be a sign that Disney's other ride adaptations could be just one-offs, too.
Aside from "Pirates of the Caribbean," none of Disney's ride adaptations have been remotely as successful or garnered a big enough fanbase that could keep them afloat for multiple pictures. If "Haunted Mansion" does well, maybe that would change. However, the ending of "Haunted Mansion" makes it pretty obvious that Disney doesn't intend on churning out multiple movies unless they determine there's an appetite for them. So, the upcoming "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad" and "Space Mountain" films — as well as any other ride adaptations Disney decides to make in the future — will likely be standalone adventures.
Could Eddie Murphy reprise his role in a future project?
As we touched on earlier, the idea of other franchises crossing over with "The Haunted Mansion" isn't all that strange since it happened not too long ago. "The Muppets" had their fun with the franchise in the 2021 Halloween special "Muppets Haunted Mansion," so the door is open for virtually any franchise to trek through the ghost-filled mansion. From Mickey and his friends having an animated horror adventure to Marvel characters maybe taking a trip to the iconic horror site, there are plenty of cool crossovers that could be incredible to see. But you know what crossover would be really amazing? A crossover with the 2003 "Haunted Mansion" movie Disney did.
While it would be tough to believe that these movies take place in the same world, there's surely a storyline involving a spectral connection that could bring the two universes together. The idea of seeing LaKeith Stanfield and Eddie Murphy (who starred as real estate agent Jim Evers in 2003's "Haunted Mansion") on the big screen together sounds like an absolute treat, and watching the horrors of those two worlds blend would undeniably please genre fans. Sure, it's a wildly ambitious task, but a request that Disney could certainly fulfill. This is just one of the many enticing potential crossovers that could make the "Haunted Mansion" franchise something truly special.
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‘haunted mansion’ director justin simien on the original darker ending and how test screenings changed the film.
Casting LaKeith Stanfield in the lead role changed how the filmmaker approached the final moments: "You can't help but care for him."
By Brian Davids
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[This story contains spoilers for Haunted Mansion .]
Haunted Mansion director Justin Simien wanted to make a Disney movie that wasn’t afraid to challenge younger audiences in the same way that the Disney classics of his youth did. From Bambi’s Mother’s death in Bambi (1942) to Scar murdering Mufasa in The Lion King (1994), Disney has never shied away from heavier subject matters and themes, but in the case of the Haunted Mansion , there was one line that Simien just could not cross.
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“Once we cast LaKeith, there was something that changed about what I personally needed from the ending of the movie,” Simien tells The Hollywood Reporter . “Frankly, I didn’t want to see a Black man have a tragic end in a movie like this. I wanted him to have hope at the end of the movie, and a tragic end for a Black character would’ve been really hard to swallow, at least for me right now.”
There were also versions of the movie that featured a bigger role for Alyssa’s ghost, but the late addition of a more heartening epilogue expanded on the idea of Ben potentially moving on with Rosario Dawson’s Gabbie and her son Travis (Chase Dillon), who dealt with their own recent loss.
“We shot so much movie. There’s probably a four-hour version of the movie that nobody would want to sit through, including myself,” Simien says. “It has different possibilities of what could have happened between Ben entering the house and the group finally exiting the house and deciding to come back to it on their own. But through the process of just testing it and working with the Disney team, that’s not exactly the version that we ended up with.”
Test screenings are a key step in Disney’s filmmaking process since the studio strives to make films that appeal to everyone. And while not every filmmaker is fond of testing, Simien values test audience feedback a great deal.
Below, during a recent spoiler-filled conversation with THR , Simien also discusses the head-turning moment he witnessed while riding Disneyland’s Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance attraction with Dawson.
Has Disney given you permanent line-cutting privileges for the Haunted Mansion ride? A golden ticket perhaps?
( Laughs .) Not unless there’s something I don’t know. When I finished working for [Disneyland] during college, I took this booklet that allowed me FastPass access. This was years and years ago, but to my chagrin, I found out that it no longer works. So, if they want to [provide a golden ticket], I’m there.
Did you include anything in the movie that’s considered inside baseball for you and anyone else who’s worked at Disneyland?
There are definitely a lot of Easter eggs in the movie, and a fun one that I honestly forgot that we had even put in the movie until I started seeing it again with audiences was the line partitions. You see the actual gargoyles outside of the ride as you’re queuing to get in. So there’s a moment where that’s kind of featured, but we tried to find a space for everything that truly made sense for the story.
LaKeith Stanfield has a very different energy than most leading men. Did you want that very quality, especially in a ghost story?
Do you relate to his character the most?
I certainly do relate to that character the most. Ben [Stanfield] and Travis [Chase Dillon], and their relationship, probably has some part of my psychology expressed through it. This grizzled-over adult has had to hide his vulnerability, but is now opening up to this kid who needs a father figure. That probably has something to do with me as an adult, finding a way to take care of that inner child, who really just wants to play but needs some guidance, and maybe opening my adult self up to some vulnerability as well. I mean, that all sounds very intense for a movie like this, but that’s just the place that I work from. So that relationship really came through for me in the script as well as in the performances.
For a movie about letting go, was this movie therapeutic for you at all?
Man, I don’t know that it was, but I might need some therapy after the movie. In fact, I’ve already scheduled my sessions. ( Laughs .) But it was definitely exciting to play in a much bigger sandbox, and to feel unrestrained by budget and time to realize some more ambitious things. Maybe it was a little cathartic getting to tell such an emotional story on such a big scale.
Yeah, it was a balancing act. It’s certainly difficult to tell a story about grief in the packaging of a large, four-quadrant, family-style movie, but at the same time, so many of the movies that Katie Dippold, the screenwriter, and I were inspired by managed to do that. Certainly some classic Disney movies managed to do that, and I think the Haunted Mansion ride really manages to do that as well. What’s core and essential to classic Disney is the sense that life is really difficult and that kids are aware of that. There’s some scary and dark things going on in the world around them, but [classic Disney movies] also give them some strength, some courage and the feeling that they will find family and get through it and even laugh a little bit. Those are the ones that stick to our bones, so it’s certainly a tough balancing act, but it felt like the right way to go on this one.
The egg-pun scene and the action figure scene did a nice job setting up the potential for a new family between Ben, Gabbie and Travis.
The egg scene was such a joy to shoot between LaKeith and Rosario, and you feel the chemistry between Ben and Gabbie and Travis, this potential new family unit. Even with the uncles and aunties like Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson and Tiffany Haddish, I certainly root for them all as a family unit by the end of the movie. We want them to all move into that house somehow and make it work between who they are now and all these crazy ghosts. So that certainly was thematically important point to drive home here.
Maybe it’s because of Ghosbusters: Afterlife , but I kept expecting Ghost Alyssa to appear in dramatic fashion for a tearful goodbye with Ben. While I prefer the choice you made, were you ever remotely close to doing that?
The epilogue then allowed you to hint even more at a possible future for Ben, Gabbie and Travis. Was that a late addition?
The epilogue was certainly a late addition. The first version of the movie that I encountered had a bit of a darker ending, one that I actually really respected and enjoyed, but I correctly guessed that it maybe wouldn’t get past the sort of Disney machine. But once we cast LaKeith, there was something that changed about what I personally needed from the ending of the movie. Frankly, I didn’t want to see a Black man have a tragic end in a movie like this. I wanted him to have hope at the end of the movie, and a tragic end for a Black character would’ve been really hard to swallow, at least for me right now. So we went with something a bit more hopeful, but there was probably something to the other version as well.
You touched on it moments ago, but what did you make of this particular test screening process?
I love the test screening process. Dear White People , my first feature, went through a lot of test screenings, and that was a difficult movie to test screen within the studio system once we got picked up. And I actually really wanted to incorporate some of that feedback, but I didn’t get a chance to on that movie. So, with my second movie, Bad Hair , we had almost endless test screenings that the producers and I went through on our own, particularly between the Sundance debut and its eventual release on Hulu.
The movie that we all remember way after its release and its initial buzz and conversation is co-created between the movie itself and audiences. So you’re flying blind if you don’t go through the [test screening] process. What was interesting about having multiple test screenings in the studio environment is that you have to manage not only your own emotional defenses to what people are saying, but you have to manage a lot of other people’s emotional defenses to what people are saying, as well. It’s a very fast-paced environment, and you have to find the truth of what people are saying. Maybe it’s not literally what they’re saying, but it’s what they call “the note behind the note.”
So it was definitely a very tricky process, especially within a very large studio, but I don’t really know how to make a movie without it, to be honest. I don’t want to just make things for myself to live inside a little magic box. I want to make things for people to see, and I want my work to hit people in a certain way. So, if I could, I would test all the way through. I would test screenplays, and I would even test scenes after I shot them, if that was a thing we could do.
Did Winona Ryder wander onto set from a neighboring soundstage? Is that how she ended up in this movie, uncredited?
Rosario Dawson told me the story of how she serenaded Danny DeVito in a Stormtrooper costume, so did you have your own run-in with Rosario the Stormtrooper?
My run-in was also seeing her serenade Danny, and it was beautiful. But my favorite Rosario- Star Wars moment was when I was riding Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland. There’s a moment where you’re arrested by the Empire, and you walk through a corridor with all these straight-faced Stormtroopers and guards that are glaring at you because you’re a prisoner. And these castmembers are wonderful, however, I was with Rosario Dawson, who’s Ahsoka. And the moment she passed their eye line, you could see them just geek out a little bit. So that was probably the most adorable thing I’d ever seen because they truly were in awe of her, and I don’t think there’s anyone more deserving than her to be the Queen of Star Wars at this time.
And lastly, have you had any haunted experiences?
*** Haunted Mansion is now in theaters. This interview was edited for length and clarity .
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Disney’s Haunted Mansion movie is the anti-Pirates of the Caribbean
At least when it comes to theme-park film adaptations
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In 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl defied all odds. Gore Verbinski’s fantasy epic seemed doomed, since pirate movies had faded out of popularity decades prior and a theme park-inspired blockbuster was still a weird, novel concept. But when it splashed into theaters, it made more than $650 million worldwide and launched a five-movie franchise, with more rumored on the way .
Here’s the thing, though: Apart from the Disney fans who followed the saga of the film’s production, not many people even realized it was a theme park movie. Verbinski made the wise choice to not build the movie around the ride. Sure, diehards might be able to squint and point to smaller references, like the dog holding a keyring in its mouth. But Pirates of the Caribbean is an adaptation in name only. And in 2003, that worked.
By contrast, The Haunted Mansion , the movie that came out the same year, is full of characters from and references to the corresponding Disney ride. The film earned some cult love, but it was critically panned, and while it made blockbuster money, it couldn’t compare to Pirates of the Caribbean ’s box-office booty.
Making a theme park movie in 2023 is very different than it was 20 years ago. In 2023, theme parks are more expensive than ever, but also more accessible via social media . People who can’t afford Disney park vacations can still watch ride-throughs on YouTube , and fan sites keep readers up to date on every minute change and plan for the parks and their attractions.
So instead of shying away from references and in-jokes, Justin Simien’s 2023 version of Haunted Mansion goes even harder than the 2003 movie. The new film, starring LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, and Danny DeVito, is full to the brim with theme park nods — from the wallpaper pattern in the haunted mansion to the main ghostly characters, from the soundtrack to the portraits hanging on the walls. It’s basically a checklist of the most beloved items from the Disney park attraction. But here’s the thing: It kinda works?
[ Ed. note: This review contains some setup spoilers for Haunted Mansion , and also ride spoilers.]
What separates the Haunted Mansion as a theme park attraction from Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise , and other rides turned movies is that the ride itself already has a lot of story and lore attached to it . The Haunted Mansion is a little different in each Disney park, but they all have storytelling details nestled into every cobwebbed crevice. For this movie, Simien and writer Katie Dippold ( Snatched , the 2016 Ghostbusters ) have brushed off some of the dusty busts and portraits in order to bring them to life. I couldn’t count every single ghost that appeared, but I definitely recognized some staples from the ride.
You don’t need any deep ride-lore appreciation to watch the movie, which is a pretty fun comedy-horror bolstered by a stellar cast. But it sure does help, especially when it comes to some of the film’s more puzzling details. A brief pan to a portrait of a lady reclining and then turning into a catlike woman in a beam of moonlight, for instance, might seem like a random furry cameo if you don’t know that it’s one of the portraits you ride past in the opening moments of the attraction.
Those brief nods are nice little details, but when the movie starts to integrate specific ride mechanics, I wasn’t quite sold. It might be a win for theme park enthusiasts to see that Simien and Dippold managed to integrate the stretching-room mechanic pretty seamlessly into the movie, but even as someone who loves the Haunted Mansion, that felt a bit too in-jokey for me. I don’t like the big climatic moments of my movie experiences to be tied to specific bits of knowledge — even when I’m the one in on it this time around. Sure, it made for a cool set-piece, but that was the moment the movie pandered to the ride too much for me.
That said, it is still deeply impressive that the 2023 Haunted Mansion leans so much on the ride but still manages to be a solid, enjoyable movie. The plot itself could use some streamlining, especially with an unnecessary field trip some of the characters take late in the movie, moving the action away from the mansion. But the stars bring their all to the roles.
Stanfield is more of the straight man (if anyone in this kooky cast can be a straight man) for everyone to bounce off of, but as a socially awkward, grieving astrophysicist turned reluctant paranormal investigator and tour guide, he brings his own grounded humor. DeVito and Haddish are both chaotic entities, playing a kooky history professor and a flamboyant medium, respectively. Rounding out the investigator quartet is Wilson as Father Kent, a priest who keeps offering pep talks and positive spiels, even if the actual prayers and blessings he says seem to be a bit… off.
In another movie, every one of these characters would be relegated to a role as the sole comedic relief in the cast. Here, brought together, they ricochet off each other with delightfully frenzied energy as they react to the hauntings in the mansion. And the movie does get spooky, within the safe confines of still being a PG-13 Disney flick.
In 2003, Verbinski distanced Pirates of the Caribbean from being a theme park movie. In 2023, Simien and crew revel in the fact that Haunted Mansion is one. Simien could’ve simply just leaned on the theme park of it all, like 2021’s Jungle Cruise , but he committed to getting all the little details on screen — and he committed hard. It’s full-throttle indulgence, and a full 180 from the Pirates of the Caribbean take on theme park movies. Both takes work, though this time around, the niche in-jokes might not hit with everyone. But for the subset it resonates with, Haunted Mansion is a grim, grinning delight.
Haunted Mansion hits theaters on July 28.
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‘Haunted Mansion’ Review: Disney Horror Comedy Channels Its Spooky Illusions From Original Ride
Justin Simien's creative, post-'Pirates' reboot of the Disneyland attraction features decent laughs from Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson and Danny DeVito, but disappoints in the VFX department
By Peter Debruge
Chief Film Critic
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For a few years there back in the early ’80s, Disney took a turn to the dark side, releasing live-action movies like “The Watcher in the Woods” (featuring a creepy late-career Bette Davis) and “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (from the mind of Ray Bradbury) that were intense enough to inspire nightmares — in kids, at least. The youngsters of that time are now parents, and some are surely asking themselves how far they can trust Disney not to traumatize another generation when a movie like “ Haunted Mansion ” comes along.
These days, practically every Disney movie seems to be haunted by the specters of what came before, as the company keeps exploring ways to tap into its existing IP. You know the fairytale/animated feature/ride, now see the movie — or so goes the pitch, as the studio counts on audiences to make the connections between each film and whatever inspired it. “Haunted Mansion” benefits from the example of “Pirates,” taking what parkgoers love about the ride (clever sight gags and imaginative ghosts, in this case) and treating those as Easter eggs in a fairly compelling stand-alone story.
While the visual effects are surprisingly weak for a film of this scale, the script (from “Ghostbusters” writer Katie Dippold) proves far better than anyone might expect, establishing an emotional foundation for what might otherwise be a gimmick-driven haunted house movie. The film opens on a meet-cute between a skeptical astrophysicist, Ben ( LaKeith Stanfield ), and a woman who puts much more faith in all things supernatural (played by Charity Jordan), then skips forward a few years, after tragedy has cut their marriage short.
The movie’s first few paranormal illusions are fairly effective, as Simien takes his cues from the Disneyland ride. (Come to find, Simien actually worked at the park one summer in film school.) But as the film unfolds and other characters join the ghost-busting operation — including a loudmouthed medium named Harriet ( Tiffany Haddish ) and Bruce (Danny DeVito), a dyspeptic Tulane professor who specializes in all things supernatural — “Haunted Mansion” starts to require more elaborate CGI, and visual effects supervisor Edwin Rivera and the team at Industrial Light & Magic seem overwhelmed. Meanwhile, Al Nelson’s sound design adds an invisible but essential boost to the ambiance.
As mystical Madame Leota, Jamie Lee Curtis appears awkwardly superimposed on a crystal ball, looking like something out of a low-budget “Goosebumps” episode. And Simien took the trouble to cast Jared Leto as the headless Hatbox Ghost, who’s intriguing when glimpsed in silhouette or quick flashes here and there, but disappoints when finally revealed as a subpar CG ghoul with cartoonish features. Even so, the film’s single funniest scene involves Stanfield (as the film’s sullen straight man) and DeVito (who took a shining to horror in the early 2010s, tapping into that dark streak here) describing said apparation to a police sketch artist.
The more this overlong movie relies on ghosts, the less engaging it becomes, and though Simien presents a few optical illusions — such as endless hallways and a stretching room modeled after the ride’s trompe l’oeil antechamber — the ideas are more interesting than the execution. While most of the cast gets laughs by bickering, Ben and Travis deliver the film’s more serious message (this is a Disney movie, after all). Both characters have lost loved ones and might be tempted to join them on the other side. “Haunted Mansion” honors their grieving process, even as it attempts to put smiles on audiences’ faces.
Reviewed at Frank G. Wells Screening Room, Burbank, Calif., June 13, 2023. MPA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 123 MIN.
- Production: A Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures release of a Disney presentation of a Rideback production. Producers: Dan Lin, Jonathan Eirich. Executive producers: Nick Reynolds, Tom Peitzman.
- Crew: Director: Justin Simien. Screenplay: Katie Dippold, based on Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Camera: Jeffrey Waldron. Editor: Phillip J. Bartell. Music: Kris Bowers.
- With: LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Chase W. Dillon, Daniel Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto.
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Haunted Mansion review – Disney theme-park chiller is joyless Halloween merch
Lakeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson and Jamie Lee Curtis cannot save this laborious story of a creepy old dwelling and the awful Hatbox Ghost
T here’s scope for a genuinely disturbing and subversive horror set in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion, the attraction which first opened at the original theme park in Anaheim in California in 1969, with cloned versions appearing at the Magic Kingdom in Florida in 1971 and Tokyo Disneyland in 1983. There’s also scope for a properly funny, amiably creepy Goosebumps-type family comedy based on it. But this tiresome, convoluted piece of corporate IP product isn’t it; like the 2003 film version with Eddie Murphy , it feels cynical – though I must admit I have never seen the Muppets Haunted Mansion special.
This new attempt to cross-monetise the tourist walkthrough is laborious and joyless while the throwaway funny lines, which do exist, only serve in the end to remind you how clunky it really is overall. Writer Katie Dippold has worked on funny movies and TV shows such as Parks and Recreation and Ghostbusters, but this isn’t her A-game.
We begin with an almost unbearably extended, unsatisfying exposition sequence showing top scientist Ben Matthias (Lakeith Stanfield) meeting cute with his future wife, a haunted-house tour guide. Later we see him alone and really depressed and doing the tour-guide job himself; the explanation for this is withheld, but the reveal is anticlimactic. All this is quite apart from introducing us to single mom Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her young son Travis (Chase Dillon), who are moving into a creepy old New Orleans mansion little realising it’s haunted.
When she grasps the horrible ectoplasmic truth, Gabbie brings in various wacky experts: an exorcist priest (Owen Wilson), a medium (Tiffany Haddish), a professor (Danny DeVito) along with Ben himself. They are all destined to be trapped inside the creepy old dwelling, and to face the awful Hatbox Ghost (Jared Leto) – although he appears to be connected with a quite different house, thus sort of insulating the Haunted Mansion of the title from anything that is supposed to be bad.
Of all these people, it’s Haddish who comes closest to being funny or in any way interesting, although a cameo from Jamie Lee Curtis as an imperious soothsayer trapped inside a crystal ball does get a few laughs. In the end, it’s another piece of Halloween merchandise.
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Haunted Mansion (2023 movie)
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‘Haunted Mansion’: Not just confused but inconsequential
Disney’s ghost-themed film based on the amusement park ride is a boring mess.
If you had high expectations for “Haunted Mansion” — the movie based on the Disneyland theme park ride of the same name — I have some bad news. With muddy CGI, far too much story for even its two-hour run time and an emotional heart in cardiac arrest, “Haunted Mansion” simply doesn’t hold together. What should have been a light summer romp is rarely funny, never scary and a boring mess.
The film centers on Ben (LaKeith Stanfield), an astrophysicist turned New Orleans tour guide who is particularly skeptical of ghosts. He’s approached by Father Kent (Owen Wilson) to help single mom Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her 9-year-old son Travis (Chase Dillon) with a small problem in their new home: an old manor infested with poltergeists. Persuaded by the promise of $2,000, Ben agrees, taking along a camera said to be able to capture “the ghost particle.” After humoring Gabbie and Travis, Ben goes home, just as convinced that ghosts do not exist as he was before. But it’s not long before the spirits Ben so cavalierly ignored begin to haunt him. He returns to the titular mansion, finding Father Kent, Gabbie and Travis waiting. Eventually, the team recruits a medium (Tiffany Haddish) and a ghost historian (Danny DeVito) to try to rid the place of its many ghoulish inhabitants.
From there, the film loses momentum. Like a Disney ride running on a backup generator, “Haunted Mansion” is a low-energy experience, featuring too many stops and starts to ever keep a viewer’s attention. Despite repeating some names and gags from Disney’s shorter (and superior) “The Haunted Mansion,” the new film is neither a sequel nor a true retread of that 2003 movie, and viewers should feel no need to preface their viewing with the original.
Director Justin Simien (“ Dear White People ”) seems to have taken inspiration from Tobe Hooper’s “ Poltergeist .” (This was equally true of Simien’s “ Bad Hair ”). The filmmaker uses similar setups and camera tricks to reference the 1982 masterpiece of PG-rated horror. It’s not a bad idea. Tasked with adapting family-friendly scares into a widely appealing film, “Poltergeist” is an understandable touchstone. But Simien hasn’t mastered the tonal juggling act here: “Poltergeist” was both funny and scary; “Haunted Mansion” is neither. While Hooper’s film used the suburban California setting to critique consumerism and the promise of early Reagan-era America, Simien’s film plays like an extended advertisement for an amusement park attraction.
And isn’t that what it really is?
Needless to say, “Haunted Mansion” isn’t the only ride Disney has tried to spin off into a motion picture. 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” spawned four sequels (for now), creating what’s widely regarded as one of the better modern film franchises. Brad Bird’s “ Tomorrowland ” was a less successful attempt at creating franchise entertainment. More recently, “ Jungle Cruise ” tried to capitalize on not only the success of the Disney brand, but also the star power of Dwayne Johnson.
This latest effort is not all bad. DeVito’s professor makes for a nice wild card, energizing the film at its slowest points. (You’ll breathe a sigh of relief whenever he’s on-screen.) The film is also highlighted by several comedic cameos; those scenes change the tone of the film and shift the focus away from a below-average main story. While they are ultimately just diversions, you won’t really mind.
Here’s the bigger problem: Who is “Haunted Mansion” for? It’s too dark for a family film, too weightless and juvenile for grown-ups. In a season notable for high-level action spectacle and important auteur projects , “Haunted Mansion” is not just confused but inconsequential.
PG-13. At area theaters. Contains some mature thematic elements and scary action. 122 minutes.
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A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest and a historian to help exorcise her newly bought mansion after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts. A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest and a historian to help exorcise her newly bought mansion after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts. A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest and a historian to help exorcise her newly bought mansion after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts.
- Justin Simien
- Katie Dippold
- LaKeith Stanfield
- Rosario Dawson
- Owen Wilson
- 308 User reviews
- 160 Critic reviews
- 47 Metascore
- See more at IMDbPro
- Ben Matthias
- Father Kent
- Bruce Davis
- Madame Leota
- (as Chase W. Dillon)
- William Gracey
- Mariner Ghost
- Hatchet Ghost
- Eleanor Gracey
- New Year's Eve Bartender
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The 'Haunted Mansion' Cast Dream Big
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Did you know
- Trivia Gracey Manor is modeled after the original Disneyland Haunted Mansion. Crump Manor is modeled after Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World.
- Goofs Later on in the movie, a secret seance room is discovered via blueprints and the room has a domed skylight. The same domed skylight is visible in the backyard, even more so when Ben talks to Travis in the backyard.
Gabbie : I know this place isn't as warm as I hoped. But I'm gonna light a vanilla candle, and it's gonna be a game-changer.
Gabbie : Yeah, we gone
- Crazy credits The Disney's 100th anniversary logo had several variations for that film; in the trailer, the logo was set at night, with the moon above, and is lit up in purple and blue lights. Meanwhile in the actual film, the logo is brighter than usual and is desaturated.
- Connections Featured in AniMat's Crazy Cartoon Cast: The HARDCORE Powerpuff Girls (2020)
- Soundtracks His Soul Left Gloss on the Rose Written and Produced by Kris Bowers , Erion Brandon Williams (as Brandon Williams), Derrick James Moss (as Derrick Moss), Paul Michael Robertson (as Paul Robertson), Julian Omari Gosin (as Julian Gosin), Manuel Perkins , Corey Donovan Peyton (as Corey Peyton), Lumar Christopher Leblanc II (as Lumar LeBlanc III), and Marcus Otis Hubbard (as Marcus Hubbard) Performed by The Soul Rebels
User reviews 308
- Jul 28, 2023
Theatrical Releases You Can Stream or Rent Right Now
- How long is Haunted Mansion? Powered by Alexa
- July 28, 2023 (United States)
- United States
- Amazon Link
- Dinh Thự Ma Ám
- New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
- Walt Disney Productions
- The Walt Disney Company
- See more company credits at IMDbPro
- $150,000,000 (estimated)
- Jul 30, 2023
- Runtime 2 hours 3 minutes
- Dolby Surround 7.1
- Dolby Digital
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- 12-Track Digital Sound
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Haunted mansion movie lands 2023 release date.
Disney's latest theme-park-attraction-turned-film, The Haunted Mansion, starring Tiffany Hadish and LaKeith Stanfield, will release in March 2023.
Disney's new Haunted Mansion movie sets a 2023 release date. Originally opening in Disneyland in 1969, the ride is one of Disney's most popular and iconic attractions as it takes guests through an elaborate home and balances genuine spooks with a playful nature to the haunts. The ride was previously adapted into a feature film starring Eddie Murphy in 2003, but it was a critical and box office disappointment and Disney has since been trying to relaunch the movie as a franchise. They've brought aboard screenwriter Kate Dippold ( Ghostbusters ) and director Justin Simien ( Dear White People ) to helm the project.
Now, Disney has set The Haunted Mansion for release on March 10, 2023. The movie has assembled an all-star cast that includes Tiffany Haddish ( Girls Trip ), LaKeith Stanfield ( Sorry to Bother You ), Rosario Dawson ( The Mandalorian ), Owen Wilson ( Marry Me ), and Danny DeVito ( It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia ) and is shaping up to be a highly anticipated film in Disney's release schedule. While no film is currently scheduled to open on the same week, Paramount Pictures' Dungeons and Dragons is set to open the week prior on March 3, 2023, while Warner Bros.' Wonka is set for release the following week on March 17, 2023.
Related: Why Disney's Haunted Mansion Reboot Is Desperately Needed
The Haunted Mansion film, along with the Disney+ special Muppets Haunted Mansion , shows Disney's strong interest in using their theme park attractions to create various cross-media adaptations. 2021 saw the release of The Jungle Cruise and a sequel is currently in development. Disney is working on a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie with Margot Robbie, which will not include Johnny Depp . Scarlett Johansson is set to produce and star in an adaptation of The Tower of Terror . Battlestar Galactica and Outlander showrunner Ronald D. Moore is also developing a Magic Kingdom universe of television series which will draw from the rich stories of Disney attractions. Disney theme parks attractions look to be another pillar of Disney's release schedule alongside Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Disney animation, and live-action remakes.
Next: How Disney's New Haunted Mansion Movie Can Finally Get The Park Ride Right
Haunted Mansion 2023 Review: Another Attempt at a Franchise
Posted: October 19, 2023 | Last updated: October 19, 2023
Premiering in July as another attempt to create a franchise from a Disney parks ride, Haunted Mansion brought new characters into New Orleans to defeat and ancient evil and free hundreds of ghosts. Though not striking better reviews until its streaming release in October, there might be some positives to this new rendition of the 2003 Eddie Murphy original. Check out our Haunted Mansion 2023 review, and see if you agree with our final thoughts about the horror comedy.
RELATED: A Haunting in Venice Review: Frightening Yet Misleading
Where to Stream Haunted Mansion
You can stream both the original The Haunted Mansion from 2003 and the Haunted Mansion 2023 version on Disney+ with a subscription. And if you enjoy the ambience within the 2023 movie, Disney+ also offers two ambient sounds titled Enter If You Dare and Swinging Wake . You can put these on your TV and let the Halloween spirit flow over you.
Disney+ offers several other Halloween themed movies too, perfect for a scary movie binge.
Haunted Mansion 2023 Review: Breaking Down Plot, Setting, Characters
An ancient evil.
William Gracey’s ghost appears in both movies, but for very different reasons. While both Gracey’s were devastated by the loss of their wife, William Gracey in the 2023 film goes to great lengths to talk to her again. By bringing in medium Madame Leota (Jamie Lee Curtis), he tries again and again to speak to his wife, to no avail. Instead, he releases an ancient powerful spirit by the name of Alistair Crump (aka the Hatbox Ghost), who persuades Gracey to take his own life along with hundreds of other victims in a pursuit to escape the mansion’s prison.
Newest owners Gabbie (Dawson) and her son Travis soon become haunted by the ghosts, and enlist the help of Ben (Stanfield), Father Kent (Wilson), Harriet (Haddish), and Professor Bruce Davis (DeVito) in order to find the ghosts and figure out how to finally release them from the mansion.
I enjoyed this storyline more than the original Haunted Mansion because I felt there was more depth to the story, and the mystery seemed more engrained into the story than a real estate agent stumbling onto a creepy home. There is serious peril for the 2023 characters as they fight for their lives, while the real estate’s agents family are fighting too, they did not seem as close to death.
The only critique I had with the plot line was the beginning of the movie, as it wasn’t clear when the flashbacks were, and what time was actually the present. Once the movie got farther in I realized they were flashbacks and Ben was not the same character as Travis, but it took probably ten to fifteen minutes for my confusion to clear.
New Orleans in a Spiritual Light
The movie starts in bustling New Orleans, and slowly shows the viewers what lurks behind the scenes. Though we only get snapshots of the city, New Orleans looks picturesque with its jam-packed streets and rich ghost lore. The setting starts to take a better turn when we see the haunted mansion for the first time. Imposing, worn, and set in a fog-covered forest, there is no better place for the building.
Each room had its own quirks, and the moving paintings really set in stone the feeling that the whole house was alive, in more ways than one. There were a couple of CGI moments that could have been better, for instance when one of the rooms stretches upwards with an alligator pit at the bottom, but for the most part we got to see both the living and spirit world in rich, dark colors.
Atmosphere is a huge part to horror movies, and I think that Haunted Mansion did well conveying the spookiness of the mansion, as well as the ghost-infested graveyards, and the feeling that something was off in Stanfield’s character’s house. If they had tried to do too much more with the scenes, the house would have looked fake and unrealistic.
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Trying to Find Their Place in the World
With several well-known actors making up the cast of Haunted Mansion , the character development was quite intriguing throughout the whole movie. Jamie Lee Curtis, Owen Wilson, LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, and Danny DeVito each played a different role in helping set free the ghosts in the mansion and their unique pasts made them qualified in different ways.
I think that is what really helped the diversity of the movie, since each character had their own pasts and desires within the mansion. For instance, all DeVito’s character wanted was to just get into the mansion, while Stanfield’s character just wanted some extra cash from “taking” ghost pictures as he struggled with crippling grief. Even Wilson’s character was trying to find his place, since he really wasn’t a priest at all just a costume worker.
Each character’s personality also added to the comedic timing present throughout the movie, and made the characters feel more natural as they tried to solve the mystery of the mansion. My favorite character would have to be Stanfield’s though, because he was so consumed with grief it took something literally beyond this world to pull him out of his funk and find solace with his new friends – alive and dead. His character felt the most genuine to me, and I’m curious to see if that translates into his other movies.
Will There Be a Sequel?
There have been no confirmations yet for a Haunted Mansion sequel, and may be more difficult to green-light one after the initial reviews of the movie. When the movie premiered in July, it was met with poor reviews from critics and a box-office flop, but this could have been due to the release date itself. Often movies that are themed during a particular season or holiday will not do as well when placed outside of that timeline. This is especially true for Haunted Mansion which was met with better reviews once the movie hit streaming platform Disney+ in October, a month more aligned to the haunted nature of the film.
We will have to wait and see if there is a potential franchise in the Haunted Mansion films, or if they really are just a one-and-done type of movie.
ALSO READ: 10 Best Horror Movies on Paramount Plus 2023
How Does It Compare to the 2003 The Haunted Mansion ?
Compared to the 2003 film starring Eddie Murphy, the 2023 film is scarier than the original film and takes a different route than the original, connecting complete strangers to one haunted mansion who must find a way to break the curse.
The 2003 film received poor reviews from both the critics and audience in Rotten Tomatoes , earning a 13% and a 31%, respectively. Though the original was fun to watch, it didn’t land particularly well in the scare category or the special affects, though it was only 2003 when the movie was filmed.
The 2023 film on the other hand received higher scores in both categories with a 37% critics score and a 84% audience score. I felt like the characters were more in-depth than the 2003 film, and it was really interesting to watch a group of strangers with different “powers” get smashed together to find a way to stop an ancient evil. There were a lot of moments that revealed the complexities of the characters, and some of the jump scares were quite scary compared to the 2003 version, which did not have as many terrifying elements.
All in all, I think the 2023 Haunted Mansion was more of a hit than the 2003 film, and it explored the mansion in more depth. I was properly frightened during the jump-scares and several scenes were quite funny. I loved the characters from different backgrounds coming together, and how integral the ghosts were in not only keeping the living in the mansion, but helping when Crump needed to be taken down. Though there are mixed reviews from critics, the majority of audience members enjoyed watching this movie.
It would be interesting to see a sequel of this film and see where they go – specifically if they follow the same characters or only keep the mansion as the constant. I would side more with the characters, and maybe have them figure out other haunted buildings, or at least appear in some capacity.
In conclusion, if you like horror comedies, I would recommend watching this movie especially during spooky season. It’s a great movie for teens and adults, and really encapsulates the spirit of Halloween as well as the literal spirits that so many people believe are real.
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'Haunted Mansion': Trailer, Release Date, Cast, and What to Expect
When will we see 999 happy haunts grace the big screen?
What is the release date for haunted mansion, watch the trailer for haunted mansion, what is the plot of haunted mansion, who is making haunted mansion, who's starring in haunted mansion.
The Walt Disney Company has become no stranger to adapting its original attractions into feature films. Certainly, the most well-known and successful example is the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which had a grand total of five films and created a modern pop culture icon with Captain Jack Sparrow. Since then, Disney has always been looking to make their theme park attractions into feature films, with examples including The Country Bears (2002), Tomorrowland (2015), and Jungle Cruise (2021). It's a concept that's showing no signs of stopping, with Hawkeye (2021) directors Bert & Bertie set to helm a film based on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The one ride at Walt Disney parks that should be a no-brainer to adapt though is the Haunted Mansion . With its iconic visuals and surprisingly deep lore, it should be the perfect candidate for a feature film, and Disney did try to capitalize on the popular attraction nearly two decades ago with 2003's The Haunted Mansion , starring Eddie Murphy . With a comedian like Murphy in the lead role, you could probably imagine that his take on the ride was very comedic. Now it's true that the ride has always had a very on-the-nose sense of humor, but the film adaptation lacked the creepy charm of the ride and leaned too heavily on the jokes, not to mention iconic characters like the Hat Box Ghost and the Black Widow Bride were nowhere to be found. Director Justin Simien , the filmmaker behind Dear White People (2014) and a former Disneyland cast member, looks to make his own cinematic adaption of the beloved attraction, complete with a prestigious number of creatives and an absolutely star-studded cast on board. From what was shown at their presence at 2022's D23 Expo, it's looking to be an incredibly promising adventure-horror hybrid. To get the scoop on the information that was shared at D23 behind closed doors as well as everything else we know so far, simply continue to read below. Editor's Note: This article was last updated on July 23.
The spirits of the Haunted Mansion are set to receive your sympathetic vibrations on July 28, 2023 . The movie was originally scheduled to release on March 10, 2023, then moved to August 11, 2023, and finally brought up to its present date. Tickets for the movie are now on sale so grab yours as soon as you can!
Related: First 'Haunted Mansion' Reactions Call it "Fun," "Spooky," "Full of Easter Eggs"
At San Diego Comic-Con 2023, Collider's editor-in-chief Steve Weintraub hosted a panel entitled "Directors on Directing" that featured Haunted Mansion 's Justin Simien, appearing alongside directors Louis Leterrier ( Fast X ), Gareth Edwards ( Rogue One ). During that panel, we got the chance to bring you your first look at an exclusive clip showing LaKeith Stanfield 's character entering the iconic Stretching Room. See it in the player above and expand this section to see all the other trailers and clips released so far for Haunted Mansion.
Fans of the legendary attraction were treated to the first public look at Haunted Mansion when the spooky teaser trailer premiered on March 2nd . The footage opens up with the character of Gabbie ( Rosario Dawson ) and her young son Travis ( Chase W. Dillon ) as they enter their new home which of course is the titular Haunted Mansion. It doesn't take long for them to realize that the home is infested with restless ghouls, leading to them contacting an ambitious priest ( Owen Wilson ), a down-on-his-luck tour guide (LaKeith Stanfield), and a wise medium ( Tiffany Haddish ) to uncover the mystery behind the unsettling abode. Also seen in the trailer are some recognizable ghosts from the ride, such as the Black Widow Bride and the Hat Box Ghost ( Jared Leto ).
More recently, we got a new teaser for Haunted Mansion on June 8 that shows LaKeith Stanfield's Ben being introduced to the mansion, then moving on to scenes of various guests being spooked out by the mansion's ghostly residents.
Since tickets went on sale, Disney has released a steady stream of clips from Haunted Mansion and we also got a behind-the-scenes featurette featuring the director and cast. See it below:
A new trailer for Haunted Mansion was released on July 18, with a narration from Gabby that unfolds the spookiness of moving into the mansion. It then moves on to show us more of the cast, including a new look at the Hat-Box Ghost. Here it is:
Plot details are pretty thin and the trailer didn't do much to elaborate further on the general plot, but an official synopsis shed a bit more light on the film's story:
"A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest, and a historian to help exorcise their newly bought mansion; after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts."
We already know that Gabbie will be played by Rosario Dawson ( Ahsoka ), LaKeith Stanfield's ( Sorry to Bother You ) Ben will be the tour guide and Owen Wilson's ( Loki ) Kent will be the priest, and we assume that Tiffany Haddish's Harriet is the psychic and Danny DeVito's unnamed professor is the historian.
As for the ghosts who are set to appear, we do know that the Hatbox Ghost will almost certainly be appearing. An infamous part of the attraction that only returned to the ride somewhat recently, Hatbox Ghost was heavily implied at the event to be played by Jared Leto ( Morbius ). We also know that the Bride will also be a part of the film, and she is a character that has quite the backstory. Most of the "happy haunts" in the Haunted Mansion are just that; happy. They might give people a good scare sometimes, but overall they're not malicious or cruel...except the Bride. Originally named Constance Hatchaway, it's heavily insinuated that she killed her husband (or husbands) and now stalks the mansion looking for her next victim. Both these infamous ghosts would be excellent choices for the main villain.
Related: The Hatbox Ghost Welcomes Foolish Mortals With SDCC Exclusive 'Haunted Mansion' Poster [Exclusive]
Initially, horror and practical effects legend and the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind The Shape of Water (2017), Guillermo Del Toro . Like many of Del Toro's projects, this one just wasn't meant to be for the accomplished writer/director, but Justin Simien is a worthy replacement. Simien has made a name for himself as one of the biggest rising stars in storytelling today, being involved with both the hugely successful 2014 Dear White People film and the critically acclaimed Netflix series of the same name. Simien is also set to have a long history with Disney, as he's also become attached to the upcoming Lando series.
Even though he's no longer directing the project, Del Toro is still credited with writing the screenplay for the film along with D. V. DeVincentis ( High Fidelity ) and Katie Dippold ( The Heat ) also co-writing. This is good news for those wishing for Del Toro's directorial vision of the film as this likely means many of his ideas will make their way into the film. Del Toro will also be involved as executive producer as well. The rest of the ghostly crew consists of composer Kris Bowers ( King Richard ), cinematographer Jeffery Waldron ( Little Fires Everywhere ), editor Phillip J. Bartell ( Bad Hair ), production designer Darren Gilford ( TRON: Legacy ), and costume designer Jeffery Kurland ( Collateral ).
We've already mentioned most of the major leading characters set to appear, including LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Tiffany Haddish, and Jared Leto. Leto, who again is most likely playing the Hat Box Ghost, was one of many new casting revelations revealed at D23. The remaining cast members include Winona Ryder ( Beetlejuice ), Dan Levy ( Schitt's Creek ), Hasan Minhaj ( The Daily Show ) as a sketch artist, and finally, Jamie Lee Curtis ( Halloween Ends ), who made a grand entrance at the Studio Showcase in her very own "Doom Buggy". Curtis will be playing Madame Leota.
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Haunted Mansion (2023)
By Eric Fazbear , July 28 in Review That Movie! (Spoilers Allowed)
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The most mid movie I think I've seen this year. It is aggressively middle-of-the-road, with a few cool standout moments/performances offset by a shockingly convoluted plot and lack of real urgency or excitement.
DeVito's "cholesterol" line got some good laughs, but that's also due to how strong Stanfield's performance in the scene leading up to it was. Great use of building and breaking tension.
Mildly diverting but bland and forgettable, and never even close to being scary. It's better than the lame Eddie Murphy movie from the early aughts but it's ultimately undone by an undercooked screenplay that doesn't explore any of its potentially interesting storylines very well. Strong production values on the mansion itself (despite some really iffy CGI at times for such an expensive movie), but this ultimately comes across as little more than a giant commercial for the Disney Parks ride (fans of the ride will certainly enjoy spotting all the easter eggs found within). Pirates of the Caribbean 1 remains the gold standard as to how it is possible to use a Disney attraction as the basis for an exciting motion picture.
The talented (and quite frankly, overqualified) cast is fairly solid if going through the motions, though LaKeith Stanfield gives a far more nuanced performance than the material probably deserves.
Maybe I was just in the right frame of mind or in the perfect mood or something but I really enjoyed this movie. I didn't really find it convoluted or hard to understand. There's a ghost who used to be a really bad man back in the day and he needs one more willing soul to die in order for him to come back to life.
I enjoyed Lakeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson and pretty much everybody else that was in the cast. Jamie Lee Curtis' small cameo was enjoyable as well. I didn't think it was anything outstanding and I probably wouldn't give it anything more than an eight out of 10 but I had a good time watching it, I thought the comedy was perfectly timed and the ending with the sort of ghost Battle Royale was pretty cool.
Lakeith deserves a better leading role in a blockbuster. He acted circles around everyone.
Lakeith Stanfield was horribly miscasted. With how outlandish the movie and dialogue was going to be, They should’ve hired a comedian. Or at least someone that could sell/exaggerate fear. A better director, editor, writer also would’ve helped.
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2023, Fantasy/Comedy, 2h 3m
What to know
Haunted Mansion 's talented cast makes the movie a pleasant enough destination, although it's neither scary nor funny enough to wholeheartedly recommend. Read critic reviews
Haunted Mansion is a fun blend of horror and comedy with a great cast and a story that'll be extra entertaining for fans of the ride that inspired it. Read audience reviews
Halloween on DIsney+
Where to watch Haunted Mansion
Watch Haunted Mansion with a subscription on Disney+, rent on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, or buy on Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu.
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Haunted mansion videos, haunted mansion photos.
A woman and her son enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters.
Rating: PG-13 (Some Thematic Elements|Scary Action)
Genre: Fantasy, Comedy
Original Language: English
Director: Justin Simien
Producer: Dan Lin , Jonathan Eirich
Writer: Katie Dippold
Release Date (Theaters): Jul 28, 2023 wide
Release Date (Streaming): Oct 4, 2023
Box Office (Gross USA): $67.5M
Runtime: 2h 3m
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Production Co: Rideback, Disney+
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Atmos
Aspect Ratio: Digital 2.39:1
Cast & Crew
Chase W. Dillon
Jamie Lee Curtis
Tom C. Peitzman
Phillip J. Bartell
Shawn D. Bronson
Victor J. Zolfo
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The Only Scary Thing About the New ‘Haunted Mansion’ Movie Is How Bad It Is
Disney’s latest cash-grab film based on one of its theme park rides is egregiously corny, lazy, predictable, and without a fright to be found. Then again, that’s hardly a surprise.
Walt Disney Studios
Twenty years after Eddie Murphy flailed his way through The Haunted Mansion , Disney performs an IP double-dip with Haunted Mansion , yet another mirthless and fright-free film based on their popular theme park attraction. It may abbreviate its predecessor’s title, but Haunted Mansion (in theaters July 28) is just as busy, corny, and predictable as its 2003 iteration—as well as destined to swiftly pass into the cinematic afterlife that is both convenience store bargain bins and cluttered streaming platform libraries.
One week after Barbie demonstrated that established properties can be cleverly translated to the screen when auteurs take bold chances with their material, Haunted Mansion proves that such inspired efforts remain anomalies. Written by Katie Dippold with the same humorlessness as her 2016 Ghostbusters script, Justin Simien ’s horror-comedy bears no plot relation to its ancestor, which would be welcome news if not for the fact that the story it concocts is equally groan-worthy.
In a New Orleans whose inimitable personality only shines through during the opening credits, Ben (LaKeith Stanfield) has thrown away his promising quantum mechanics career—he coulda been an Oppenheimer !—in the wake of his wife Alyssa’s (Charity Jordan) death. When not drowning his sorrows at the bar, he’s giving the city tour that Alyssa once ran, as well as grumbling at anyone who tries to interact with him. What he’s not doing, however, is taking tourists to see ghosts, since as a man of science, he’s convinced that they don’t exist.
Situating a skeptic at the center of its tale is merely the first of Haunted Mansion ’s numerous conventional elements. Though content to be bitter and alone, Ben is coaxed out of his downtown house by Kent (Owen Wilson), a priest who finds him because—before he gave up on physics—Ben had developed a spectral-photography camera that could take snapshots of spirits (by capturing their “ghost particles” via its “quantum lens”).
This is relevant because Kent has been commissioned by mom Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) to help her and her 9-year-old son Travis (Chase Dillon) deal with a mansion that’s infested with ghouls. Ben naturally wants nothing to do with this. However, he does like the large cash sum being offered to go along with this nonsense, and thus he inspects the abode and pockets his fee without putting any effort into taking Gabbie or Travis’ bump-in-the-night claims seriously.
Haunted Mansion barely bothers explaining why Gabbie and Travis want to live in this enormous Greek Revival residence, what with its stereotypically spooky suits of armor, cobwebs, candelabras, secret passages and creepy portraits of prior inhabitants; the best it can devise is a tossed off comment about Gabbie discovering the place on Zillow. Sketchy doesn’t begin to describe the film’s set-up, or Gabbie for that matter, who’s such a cipher that it’s astonishing Dawson agreed to the thankless role.
If you’re thinking that Gabbie and Travis (who’s a dorky outcast who misses his MIA dad) might be a good surrogate family for the bereaved Ben, then you’re paying attention, which is more than can be said about Stanfield, who comes across as only moderately invested in these shenanigans, his performance far more muted than the cartoon proceedings require.
Stanfield goes through the motions with a dutifulness that often borders on begrudging, while his castmates chew heavily on whatever musty scenery is available. Wilson does the same wisecracking schtick he’s been perfecting since before he co-starred in another dreary haunted house venture, Jan de Bont’s 1999 The Haunting . Tiffany Haddish (as a brash medium) and Danny DeVito (as a local professor) similarly deliver variations on their own stock-and-trade routines. Eventually, Jamie Lee Curtis, Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, and Hasan Minhaj all collect a paycheck, er, I mean, lend their talents the film, but they’re merely secondary cogs in this carnivalesque machine, more or less trampled by parades of CGI specters and strange phenomena—Astral projection! Screaming phantoms! Otherworldly portals!—that are less enchanting than the Disney World ride’s mannequins.
Haunted Mansion ’s motley characters are prevented from escaping their circumstances by poltergeists that follow them wherever they flee. As a result, they’re compelled to figure out a way to free the ghosts by deducing the reasons for their continuing mansion habitation. The answer, it turns out, involves the Hat-Box Ghost, a limping apparition in a cloak and top-hat who carries his head around in a hat box. This villain is supposedly played by Jared Leto, yet aside from a couple of old-timey portraits, the Oscar-winner never appears on-screen; the Hat-Box Ghost is a totally computer-generated creation, and a rather pedestrian one at that, apt to give nightmares to only the youngest of viewers. The under-ten crowd is this snoozefest’s clear demographic, although even they’ll have a hard time finding much to cower or cackle about here.
Simien includes product-placement shout-outs to Amazon, CVS, and Costco, and he drenches everything in that murky blue-black haze that allows for visibility at night but looks terrible. His creature designs are bland, and so is the film’s wit; stuck with one-liners that are moldier than the glowing cadavers roaming the mansion’s halls, the cast compensates by energetically mugging. Haunted Mansion is a hectic affair that feels like it’s running in place, as its series of late-night encounters, possessions, and trips to the spirit world are mere noisy filler. Ben’s heroism is never in doubt, nor is anyone’s mortal safety, because genuinely scaring kids would work at cross-purposes with the studio’s desire to make this a feature-length advertisement for its parks. No matter its eerie trappings, the company’s latest is all about enticing, not unnerving.
As evidenced by its raft of live-action remakes of animated classics (and endless franchise sequels), Disney prioritizes repetition over invention, and despite its superficially novel story, Haunted Mansion is further confirmation of its belief that giving audiences what they already know, and expect, is a safer investment than taking a swing with something new. The film may modestly charm a few adolescents, but it won’t thrill them, and they—and everyone else—can rest assured that in another two decades, it’ll be reimagined again, probably with the same middling degree of innovation.
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Haunted Mansion Director Reacts to Negative Reviews: “It’s a Bummer, To Be Honest”
Director Justin Simien has offered his feelings on negative reviews for his latest film, Disney’s Haunted Mansion.
- Director Justin Simien expresses disappointment over negative reviews for Disney's Haunted Mansion , but acknowledges that audience reception is more important to him.
- Despite the criticism, Simien believes that, like his debut film Dear White People , Haunted Mansion will eventually find its audience and become a cult classic.
- Simien wanted to prove himself as a blockbuster director with Haunted Mansion and is pleased that he was able to create a crowd-pleasing film.
Director Justin Simien has offered his feelings on the negative reviews received for his latest film, Disney’s Haunted Mansion . Based on the Walt Disney theme park attraction, Haunted Mansion is a reboot adaptation of the 2003 original, which starred Eddie Murphy. The film surrounds astrophysicist Ben Matthais (LaKeith Stanfield), who becomes a paranormal investigator after the death of his wife. Its star-studded cast includes Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Rosario Dawson, Dan Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto, and Danny Devito.
Released in theaters on July 28, Haunted Mansion flopped at the box office, making only $115 million worldwide with a $157 million budget. Additionally, the negative reviews from critics, currently 37% rotten on RT, make Haunted Mansion one of Disney’s few theatrical disappointments. It should be noted that the film was released during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which prevented actors from marketing and promoting the film. Simien recently sat down for an interview with Screen Rant to discuss his feelings on negative reviews.
"It's a bummer, to be honest. It's a bummer to feel like people don't get something that you're doing, and that you've worked so hard on, but ultimately, it's usually been the other way around."
However, despite the criticism, Simien believes audiences will eventually warm up to the film like his directorial debut, Dear White People , which became a hit series after it was picked up by Netflix.
Especially with Dear White People coming out of Sundance, where critics loved Dear White People, and audiences eventually loved it. But at first, it was incredibly divisive, and it was incredibly polarizing.
Given that this was his first large project with entertainment giant Disney, Simien explains that he wanted to prove himself as a viable blockbuster director by making a “crowd pleaser.”
So, with this film, it was interesting, I went into it wanting to make a crowd pleaser, and kind of wanting to prove to myself that I could, that I knew how to bring an audience through a story. So, I'm glad that that part of it came to fruition, I'm glad I was able to accomplish that.
Related: 15 Movies Like Haunted Mansion to Watch Next
Will Haunted Mansion Become a Disney Cult Classic?
Like its predecessor, Haunted Mansion can potentially become a cult classic in the Disney canon. While reviews from critics are negative, reviews from audience members are overwhelmingly positive , with an 84% approval rating on RT.
It seems like another classic Hollywood example of the divergence between critics and audience preferences. The 40-year-old director says that a filmmaker should not be pressured to focus on critics' opinions but to guide audience members on a cinematic journey.
I don't typically read my own reviews, I learned that lesson a while ago, especially when they're good. But on this one, I read a couple of them, and it felt like, I don't know, I wasn't quite sure what movie they were talking about all the time. It felt like there were some other things going on in those reviews, I gotta say, than just what was happening in the movie, and that kind of thing is just out of your control, you know? I think, if anything, it was actually a really great lesson as a filmmaker, in terms of who you make your movies for, and why you make them, and what your own marker for success is. To me, I'd rather have the audience go on the journey I want them to go on than anything. So, I don't know, the rest is just kind of take it as you get it.
Haunted Mansion is currently available for streaming on Disney+.
Haunted Mansion Director Explains How [SPOILER]'s Uncredited Cameo Happened
Haunted Mansion director Justin Simien reveals how the supernatural comedy landed a Hollywood legend for the minor role of tour guide Pat.
Haunted Mansion director Justin Simien recently explained how Winona Ryder's uncredited cameo in the supernatural comedy reboot came about.
Simien discussed Ryder's brief appearance late in the film as tour guide Pat in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter . "We kidnapped [Ryder]," he quipped. "We told her that she was shooting Beetlejuice 2 , and she just went with it for a while until she caught on. No, she was someone that we wanted from the outset. Carmen Cuba, the casting director, myself, and the studio were really enamored with this idea of plugging in classic faces in these cameo roles, and it just felt so right that she'd be the tour guide at the end of the movie. She was just so delightfully weird and funny in her performance, and it was a super magical time having her on this project."
Related: Haunted Mansion Director Reveals the Easter Egg Everyone Missed
The director previously opened up about the wider Haunted Mansion casting process in an interview with CBR, which he described as "tricky" due to his insistence on hiring a black lead actor. "There's no way I'm making a New Orleans film, and it's not about a black person in an 85% black city," Simien said. He added that Disney executives quickly came around to his casting ethos once they saw LaKeith Stanfield's take on the part of protagonist Ben Matthias, which the director likened to Johnny Depp's performance in Pirates of the Caribbean . "[Stanfield] has that same sort of star quality [as Depp], and he pulls you into characters that you don't expect to affect you quite as hard," Simien noted.
Justin Simien Teases Haunted Mansion 2
Simien is keen to continue Matthias' story in a Haunted Mansion follow-up film , if recent remarks he's made are anything to go by. The director declared that Haunted Mansion 's narrative provides plenty of scope for additional spooky adventures, which Haunted Mansion 2 could capitalize on. "It definitely leaves a door open for more and for other spaces where, you know, ghosts might materialize," Simien said. Disney is yet to announce that a second Haunted Mansion movie is in the works, however.
Related: Haunted Mansion Falls Short at Box Office as Barbenheimer Dominates Second Weekend
It's worth noting that the supernatural comedy reboot's underwhelming box office performance isn't doing much to boost its prospects of landing a sequel. Haunted Mansion 's global ticket sales currently sit at $38.7 million -- considerably less than its reported $150 million budget. Industry analyst Jeff Bock recently chalked up the movie's low earnings to poor scheduling on Disney's part. "While horror can certainly succeed at any time on the release calendar, this family-friendly product would have been much better served in the fall and sheltering clear of all the summer popcorn pics," Bock said.
3 hr 10 min
#124 | The Burial, Haunted Mansion & The Friendship Game Movie Reviews The Scene-It Cast
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Kova, Stephanie and Spoiler Steve discuss Prime Video's The Burial, Disney's The Haunted Mansion and Hulu's The Friendship Game! 00:01:47 - Intro | Last Week in Hollywood & The Weekend Box Office Estimates 00:43:44 - The Friendship Game 00:59:29 - Haunted Mansion 01:23:18 - The Burial 01:56:20 - The Banter Corner | Archer, Frasier, Loki, The Changeling, The Money Pit, Uncle Buck, Elite Squad, Sanctuary, A Million Miles Away, Pet Semetary: Bloodlines, Invasion, 3%, Workin’ Moms, The Deepest Breath & Give Me A Break! Support us on Patreon HERE Send us emails and feedback to [email protected] Check out our website sceneitcast.com
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