The Walt Disney Company has a history of adapting its original theme park attractions into successful feature films. The Pirates of the Caribbean series is the most notable example, with five films that introduced the beloved character Captain Jack Sparrow. Disney has continued this trend by exploring other theme park attractions for cinematic adaptations, including The Country Bears (2002), Tomorrowland (2015), and Jungle Cruise (2021). The concept of turning attractions into films continues to be popular, with directors Bert & Bertie, known for their work on Hawkeye (2021), set to helm a movie based on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. However, the one ride at Disney parks that seems like an obvious choice for adaptation is the Haunted Mansion.
The Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney parks, known for its iconic visuals and rich backstory, seems like an ideal choice for a feature film adaptation. Disney made an attempt to bring the attraction to the big screen back in 2003 with The Haunted Mansion, starring Eddie Murphy. With a comedic actor like Murphy in the lead, the film leaned heavily towards comedy, diverging from the ride’s eerie charm. Unfortunately, the adaptation lacked the atmospheric creepiness of the ride and missed the inclusion of beloved characters like the Hat Box Ghost and the Black Widow Bride.
Director Justin Simien, known for his work on Dear White People (2014) and as a former Disneyland cast member, is set to helm his own cinematic adaptation of the beloved Haunted Mansion attraction. The project boasts an impressive lineup of creatives and a star-studded cast, generating high expectations. Although details from their presentation at the 2022 D23 Expo were not made public, it is anticipated to be a thrilling adventure-horror hybrid. To discover more about the information shared at D23 and everything else currently known about the film, keep reading below.
Watch the Trailer for Haunted Mansion
A teaser trailer for the Haunted Mansion film adaptation was released on March 2nd, giving fans a first look at the movie. The trailer introduces the characters of Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son Travis (Chase W. Dillon) as they move into the haunted mansion. They enlist the help of a priest (Owen Wilson), a tour guide (LaKeith Stanfield), and a medium (Tiffany Haddish) to unravel the mysteries within the house. The trailer also showcases familiar ghosts from the attraction, including the Black Widow Bride and the Hat Box Ghost portrayed by Jared Leto.
During the Disney & Pixar Studio Showcase at D23, director Justin Simien presented an extended trailer that provided a deeper look into the world and characters of the new Haunted Mansion film. However, the footage shown during the panel was exclusive to the event and has not been made available online. Those who were not in attendance at the showcase will have to wait for future releases or announcements to catch a glimpse of the extended trailer.
In the extended trailer showcased at D23, the main characters, Ben, Kent, Gabbie, and Harriet, are introduced as they venture through the enigmatic mansion. They stumble upon a room resembling the one inhabited by Madame Leota, the sorceress head trapped in a crystal ball. The trailer continues to reveal eerie ghost-like imagery and introduces additional quirky characters, including an eccentric college professor portrayed by Danny DeVito. The overall tone of the trailer suggests a thrilling and supernatural adventure within the haunted mansion.
What Is the Plot of Haunted Mansion?
While plot details remain limited and the trailer doesn’t provide significant insight into the storyline, an official synopsis offers a glimpse into the film’s narrative:
“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.”
In the upcoming Haunted Mansion film, Rosario Dawson will portray the character Gabbie, while LaKeith Stanfield will play Ben, the tour guide. Owen Wilson takes on the role of Kent, the priest. It is speculated that Tiffany Haddish’s character, Harriet, will be the psychic, and Danny DeVito’s character is assumed to be the historian. While specific character details and roles have not been officially confirmed, these are the current assumptions based on the available information.
In the Haunted Mansion film, it is highly likely that the Hatbox Ghost, a well-known and recently reintroduced character from the attraction, will make an appearance. At the event, Jared Leto was strongly implied to portray this character. Additionally, the Bride, a significant character with an intriguing backstory, will also be included in the film. Unlike most of the “happy haunts” in the Haunted Mansion, who are mischievous but not malevolent, the Bride, originally named Constance Hatchaway, is portrayed as a more sinister figure. It is heavily suggested that she has a history of killing her husbands and continues to haunt the mansion in search of her next victim. Both the Hatbox Ghost and the Bride would make compelling choices for the film’s primary antagonist.
Who’s Starring in Haunted Mansion?
Apart from the previously mentioned cast members, several other notable actors are set to appear in the Haunted Mansion film. Winona Ryder, recognized for her role in Beetlejuice, will join the cast, along with Dan Levy from Schitt’s Creek and Hasan Minhaj from The Daily Show. Another exciting addition is Jamie Lee Curtis, known for her role in Halloween Ends. Curtis made a memorable entrance at the Studio Showcase by arriving in her own “Doom Buggy,” adding to the anticipation surrounding her involvement in the film.
Jamie Lee Curtis is reported to be playing the role of Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion film. It is speculated that Winona Ryder may be portraying the Bride. However, we will have to wait for the film’s release to confirm these roles. Fans are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the grim grinning ghosts when the film hits the big screen.
What Is the Release Date for Haunted Mansion?
Mark your calendars for July 28, 2023, as that is the currently scheduled release date for the Haunted Mansion film. Initially slated for a March 10, 2023 release, followed by a later date of August 11, 2023, the film’s release was ultimately brought forward to its present date. Fans of the attraction and movie enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating this long-awaited film and hope that this will be the final adjustment to the schedule.