Hot off directing Hulu’s horror/thriller Bad Hair, Justin Simien will look to bring his unique style to Disney. According to Deadline Simien has signed on to direct the studios’ long-in-development Haunted Mansion reboot.
Industry insiders say this will be a completely different take on the Haunted Mansion as a film that stands on its own. Disney has wanted to work with Simien for some time, with him meeting on several other projects before settling on this one following his recent pitch, which blew away the studio.
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Katie Dippold (Ghostbusters) wrote the most recent draft of the script. Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich, the duo behind Disney’s live-action Aladdin and the upcoming Lilo & Stitch remake, are producing under their Rideback production banner. Haunted Mansion is being intended for a theatrical release, not Disney+ as some have rumored and will be live-action.
Disney has been trying for over ten years to get a new Haunted Mansion film made, back in 2010 Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro was announced that he would be directing, writing, and producing the project, with Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, La La Land) was in talks to star. The film was said to feature the now-iconic Hatbox Ghost. It unlikely Gosling will be involved on this new project.
In 2004, Disney released a Haunted Mansion film, starring Eddie Murphy, Terrence Stamp, Jennifer Tilly, and directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) opened to negative critic and audience reviews, and the film never garnered the box office success as Pirates only making $174 million worldwide.
With the success of the Pirates franchise and Jungle Cruise on its way and expected to be a blockbuster for the studio, Disney is looking for Haunted Mansion to be its next great attraction based film.
The Haunted Mansion debuted in 1969 and was an immediate success. The premise sees theme park guests go inside a spooky and creepy manor that has a wide array of supernatural frights. It also featured a graveyard’s worth of characters, ranging from the spirit of psychic medium Madame Leota to the skeletal Bride to the cloaked Hatbox Ghost. Sadly, Walt Disney never got to experience the attraction but was very much involved in the development process, as he was with every the company was doing.