Dear White People creator Justin Simien has signed on to direct Disney’s Haunted Mansion movie based on the studio’s iconic theme park attraction.
Katie Dippold (Ghostbusters) has written the script, while Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich will produce via their company Rideback. The duo previously produced Disney’s live-action Aladdin remake.
Specific plot details for the film are under wraps, but obviously we can infer what the movie will revolve around. The Haunted Mansion ride debuted at Disney World in 1969 and quickly became a popular attraction known for its Hatbox Ghost.
This isn’t actually the first time Disney have adapted the ride for film. The studio previously turned the ride into a 2003 movie starring Eddie Murphy. It broke even, grossing $182 million worldwide but failed to meet the studio’s expectations. It isn’t fondly remembered, if it’s even remembered at all.
That version was more of a family horror comedy, but Simien’s take is said to be totally different. How different we don’t yet know. Simien is the filmmaker behind both film and TV versions of Dear White People as well as recent satirical horror comedy Bad Hair, and he’s proved adept at mixing genres.
Disney also already has a working relationship with him as he’s the creator of the currently in-development Lando Calrissian series for Disney+.
This isn’t close to the first time Disney has sought to turn one of its theme park attractions into a film. It worked best with Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, but they’ve also attempted adaptations of Mission To Mars, The Country Bears, and Tomorrowland, to varying degrees of success.
Jungle Cruise is up next, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.
We’ll wait for more information regarding Haunted Mansion. Simien is a major talent on the rise, and obviously Disney already trusts him if they have him in charge of a Star Wars series. Hopefully he’s able to put his own stamp on Haunted Mansion and turn it into something interesting.