Op-Ed: ‘Haunted Mansion’ Will Be Disney’s ‘Super Mario Bros.’

in Disney, Movies

Mario fist-bumping, Danny DeVito in Haunted Mansion

Credit: Nintendo/Illumination, Disney

The reviews have started coming in for Disney’s Haunted Mansion (2023), and they’re not great. However, early audience reactions have been mostly positive. This prompts the question: could Haunted Mansion face the same financial fate as The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)?

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

Related: Review: ‘Haunted Mansion’ Brings the Classic Disney Ride to Life

Haunted Mansion is finally making its theatrical debut, and fans of the ride couldn’t be more excited. Not only does it have an outstanding cast with LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, and Jamie Lee Curtis, but it has everything that you love from the ride, including impeccable details and the notorious Hatbox Ghost.

Unfortunately, critics haven’t shown the same enthusiasm for the film. Despite saying it was better than the previous attempt (the 2003 film starring Eddie Murphy), Haunted Mansion has largely been skewered by critics for being too generic and depending too much on references to the classic attraction. While this may seem disappointing to some, one other film already came out this year and proved the critics wrong: The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

‘Haunted Mansion’ is Already Following the Same Journey as ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’

Donkey Kong on fire while Mario holds a mushroom in The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Credit: Nintendo/Illumination

Earlier this year, The Super Mario Bros. Movie was released in theaters, and there are a lot of similarities between that film’s journey and Haunted Mansion’s. For one, the film is based on a beloved IP and features a large, impressive cast, including Chris Pratt, Jack Black, Charlie Day, Any Taylor-Joy, Seth Rogen, and many others.

Despite fans being excited about the movie, critics were equally scathing about Nintendo’s golden boy, saying that despite being better than the previous attempt (the 1987 film starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo), the movie was too generic and dependent on references to the classic game.

However, their criticism didn’t seem to have any effect, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie has gone on to be the highest-grossing animated film of all time, surpassing Frozen II (2019), and is also the most successful movie that has been “certified rotten” by Rotten Tomatoes. And after seeing Haunted Mansion, there’s no reason it can’t achieve similar results.

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

Related: ‘Haunted Mansion’ Director Breaks Silence on Guillermo del Toro’s Axed Disney Movie

That being said, the comparison isn’t perfect. The fandom over a Disney Park ride is much more niche than Mario, arguably the most recognized video game character in the world. Also, Haunted Mansion is rated PG-13, while The Super Mario Bros. Movie is rated PG. And the fact that there are frightening and paranormal elements could be turn-offs to certain families.

Still, there are enough similarities pointing to Haunted Mansion having more success at the box office than naysayers already declare. While it may not reach the same heights as The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the film based on Disney’s most beloved attraction could still be its saving grace.

Do you think Disney’s Haunted Mansion captured the spirit of the ride? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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