After the success of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl, Disney released another film based on a popular Disneyland attraction The Haunted Mansion. The 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.
Fast forward 10 years to San Diego Comic-Con 2010. It was announced that Hellboy director Guillermo Del Toro would be writing and producing a new movie based on The Haunted Mansion. When asked about his involvement Del Toro said ‘The thing I want to do is remake it” Del Toro went on to say “The movie I see in my head of Haunted Mansion is not, I believe, what everyone is imagining it to be. Its not just a regular world with a Haunted Mansion plopped in the middle. I really am thinking of a movie that has a heightened reality.” Del Toro said The fan favorite Hatbox Ghost would be the main haunting. and added “We are not making it a comedy. We are making it scary and fun at the same time, but the scary will be scary.”
In 2012 when speaking with Collider Del Toro said he submitted a final draft to Disney and that “They like the screenplay” because “their reaction to the draft was good”. Del Toro also said he would be writing and producing the film and that Disney was waiting on Del Toro for a confirmation to direct or not. In 2015 Variety reported that Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, La La Land) was in talks to star in the film with D.V. DeVincentis (High Fidelity) working on the script. In that same report it stated that Del Toro would direct.
So what’s happened since Del Toro went on to direct Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak, and The Shape of Water, Which earned Del Toro a Best Director Oscar, not to mention the countless films and TV series he’s producing and at least 10 other projects he attached to direct in the future. Del Toro has offered little updates via social media.
So what do I think should happen next? Disney should push to work with Del Toro in some capacity on this project. A director I would like to see helm the film is Gil Kenan who directed the 2015 remake of Poltergeist, a PG-13 film that still had a nice amount of scares. Kenan also directed 2006’s Monster House an animated movie with scares, adventure, and fun. According to IMDB.com Gosling is still attached to the project. Another actor that I would look to involve is Andy Serkis outside of his amazing Motion Capture performances as Caeser in the Apes franchise and Gollum in Lord of the Rings, Serkis is a strong actor with amazing performances in The Prestige and more. He also has an established working relationship with Disney as he was in the MCU as Black Panther villain Ullyses Klaw and in a galaxy far far away as Supreme Leader Snoke. Serkis is a chameleon that would fit this project perfectly.
Last year Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales made over $750 million at the worldwide box office. With Pirates 6 already in early development. The numbers don’t lie There is still an interest in these properties and The Haunted Mansion would be no exception.