‘Haunted Mansion’ Slammed, Disney Faces Yet Another Flop

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Characters climb the stairs in a poster for Disney's upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' (2023)

Credit: Disney

The first reviews just dropped for Haunted Mansion (2023) – and they’re not looking too bright.

This year marks Disney’s second attempt to adapt its classic Disneyland attraction into a film. Back in 2o03, Disney released Haunted Mansion, starring Eddie Murphy as a realtor who gets stuck in a haunted mansion with the rest of his family.

Eddie Murphy in 'Haunted Mansion' (2003)
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney’s ‘Haunted Mansion’ is Already Getting Canceled

Unlike its other theme park attraction-inspired film that year, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), it was panned by critics and was rapidly erased from cultural memory. Now, 20 years later, Disney is ready to make a second attempt at a blockbuster adaptation of one of its most popular attractions.

This time around, Haunted Mansion is directed by Justin Simien and stars Rosario Dawson and Chase W. Dillon as a mother and son who recruit a former paranormal investigator turned tour guide (LaKeith Stanfield), a priest (Owen Wilson), a psychic (Tiffany Haddish), and a college history professor (Danny DeVito) to help exorcise their newly-bought, ghost-ridden New Orleans mansion.

Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, and Tiffany Haddish character posters for Haunted Mansion
Credit: Disney

The film – which also stars Jamie Lee Curtis as the ride icon Madame Leota – officially premiered at Disneyland Resort on July 15. However, due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, its stars were unable to attend, leading to Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and villains such as Cruella De Vil, Maleficent, and the Evil Queen walking the red carpet in their place.

Now, the first reviews for the Haunted Mansion reboot have officially dropped – and it seems like critics are just as down on this version of Haunted Mansion as they were the first time around.

'Haunted Mansion' (2023) cast gathered together
Credit: Disney

Haunted Mansion currently sits at 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it’s officially “rotten.” The general consensus is that its “talented cast makes the movie a pleasant enough destination” but that “it’s neither scary nor funny enough to wholeheartedly recommend.”

A major criticism seems to be that, for a comedy, it’s not exactly funny. “What should have been a lighthearted, entertaining romp is instead a rather dreary, unfunny, two-hour dud,” wrote Jeanne Kaplan of Kaplan vs. Kaplan.

Characters look up in 'Haunted Mansion' (2023)
Credit: Disney

Similarly, Carla Hay of Culture Mix wrote that “the jokes are weak; the action is underwhelming. This stale reboot isn’t a complete waste of time, but it’s disappointing, considering the talented people involved.”

Critics have also highlighted its lack of tonal consistency as a major flaw. “This film is tonally incompetent,” said Elliott Collins of Movie Files. “Has a paper-thin story and took forever to figure out what it was trying to be. Now the message of coping and getting past your fears and grief was honesty handled pretty well but other than that, it’s pretty forgettable.”

Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota, Haunted Mansion movie
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney’s Haunted Mansion Is Being Sold on Zillow

While some have praised the Disney movie as a “loving homage to the classic theme park attraction” and branded it a “fun summer throwback to the likes of 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” the general consensus is pretty negative – which doesn’t bode too well for its financial performance.

This wouldn’t be as much of a concern if it didn’t follow a string of box office disappointments for Disney. Pixar’s latest release, Elemental (2023), may be creeping up past its budget (finally) but failed to impress audiences upon its debut. The final installment in the Indiana Jones franchise, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023), has massively underperformed. Disney’s biggest cash cow, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has also struggled in recent months, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) becoming one of the few MCU entries not to break even during its theatrical run.

Will the Haunted Mansion movie flop too? If it does go the same way as its predecessors, this is just another disappointment for the Walt Disney Company at a time when it can’t really afford any more flops. Watch this space.

Are you going to see Haunted Mansion? Let us know your hopes for the film in the comments!

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