A New Haunted Mansion Movie Is Creeping Forward With Director Justin Simien

Get on the Doom Buggy, a Haunted Mansion movie is moving forward.
Get on the Doom Buggy, a Haunted Mansion movie is moving forward.
Photo: Disney Parks

The possibility of a new movie based on Disney’s Haunted Mansion continues to rise from the grave. Last summer, Disney hired Katie Dippold to pen a script and now it’s in talks to bring director Justin Simien aboard the Doom Buggy.

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Simien is best known for the movie and show Dear White People, but was recently announced as one of the main creators behind an eventual Lando Calrissian show for Disney+, so he seems to be in good with Disney. That, and a pitch that won over executives and producers, is reportedly what drew him into negotiations for the gig.

Hiring a director also suggests the powers that be at Disney are happy with Dippold’s script, though there’s no indication what direction she took with it. Deadline, which broke the Simien news, only reports this is “a completely different take as a film that stands on its own.” So no need to see the dreadful Eddie Murphy version, or even know the actual ride, to get on board.

After the massive success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Disney has been surprisingly cautious about using its timeless rides as movie ideas. You get the sense the company feels a bad movie wouldn’t just be detrimental to its bottom line, but potentially the legacies of the rides themselves too. That might be why, though Pirates first came out in 2003, the next theatrical movie based on a lone ride will be Jungle Cruise, out later this year. That’s almost a 20-year gap. Now, with the addition of Simien, Haunted Mansion would seem the likely choice to follow; a Space Mountain movie is apparently, and almost inevitably, in discussions as well.

Which is to say, if Simien does end up calling “action!” on a Haunted Mansion movie, odds are it’s going to live up to the spooky, kooky, fan-favorite ride.


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Entertainment Reporter. NYU Cinema Studies Alum. Formerly Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and /Film. AP Award-Winning Film Critic & CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.

DISCUSSION

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Don’t forget “Tomorrowland”, which was such a big-budget, highly ambitious “original” movie from them that whiffed so hard, Disney cancelled a bunch of sci-fi-related projects including Tron 3 (as it was conceived at that time) and sticking harder to their money draws. Even “Magic Kingdom”, a planned Favreau-helmed “Night at the Museum”-y feature, was thrown in the bin.