Disney is making a live-action The Haunted Mansion film, with Katie Dippold, who scripted the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters and The Heat, attached as writer. Rideback, the studio behind Disney's Aladdin remake, is backing the film as a producer.
While some will remember The Haunted Mansion as the 2003 Eddie Murphy movie, that film and the upcoming Disney project are both based on a Disneyland ride of the same name that debuted in 1969 and has been a popular staple of the park ever since. The ride takes the form of a visit to a spooky manor filled with supernatural entities like Madame Leota, the skeletal Bride, and the cloaked Hatbox Ghost.
This is not the first time Disney has looked to capitalize on one of their theme park rides in the form of blockbuster entertainment. Most famously, The Pirates of the Caribbean started out as a ride, before the Mouse Empire turned it into a billion-dollar grossing franchise at the box office.
When it comes to The Haunted Mansion, its cinematic history is more spotty. The Eddie Murphy star vehicle of the same name that came out in 2003 took only the broadest of inspiration from the ride and devolved into a run-of-the-mill kid-friendly spook-fest that was light on scares, special effects or a compelling storyline.
While the premise of The Pirates of the Caribbean ride lent itself easily to a series of extravagant adventures on the high seas that the movies could mine creatively for years, The Haunted Mansion offers a much more contained premise, where the action takes place in and around the aforementioned haunted mansion.
Still, as The Shining proved, it is possible to make an excellent, even iconic horror film centering around a building. Of course, Disney is unlikely to go for a straight-up horror adaptation. Instead, we will probably be getting another adventure film with sprinklings of ghostly vibes.
From that perspective, it makes sense to hire the same writer who wrote the script for the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters. Even though that film did not win any favor with critics, it showed Katie Dippold is willing to play in that particular genre sandbox, and her work on The Heat shows she can tell a gritty, hilarious story when backed by a strong cast and direction.
The news that Disney is announcing yet another reboot/remake has been received less-than-warmly by a section of the mouse empire's fandom, who have grown tired of the remake, adaptation, reboot, etc. formula that keeps Disney churning out old content in new window dressing for a predictable billion+ dollars box-office haul.
It remains to be seen whether the upcoming reboot of The Haunted Mansion will prove popular with audiences, and, just like The Pirates of the Caribbean, provide Disney with a franchise that they could keep coming back to over the next decade half a dozen times or more, thus setting up the inevitable Splash mountain reimagining as a live-action adventure film. This news originated at The Hollywood Reporter.