The Haunted Mansion

Release Date: November 26, 2003

Sure, it looks great now but Eddie Murphy is about to show up.

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You've ridden Haunted Mansion the ride and now Disney wants you to pay to see The Haunted Mansion the movie. This theme park ride-into-theatrical-release concept has been tried twice before with The Country Bears and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Between those films, you can see the extremes of the box office potential for Haunted Mansion. The Haunted Mansion is a bit special, though.

The ride itself is featured at three different parks (Disneyland, Walt Disney World and Euro-Disney), demonstrating its popularity within the company. What the studio would like to do is build a franchise around the 35-year-old ride, so if this one does well, there will almost certainly be sequels in the offing. In order to secure the film's success, comedy icon Eddie Murphy was brought on board to star. While Murphy's recent track record is shaky, he remains a very bankable player in the family film genre.

The story of The Haunted Mansion is really the star, though. Director Rob Minkoff, the genius behind The Lion King, has taken the ride itself as a jumping off point for the movie's basis. The ride has always been billed as having 999 happy haunts, and there is every indication that many of them will be carried over to the big screen. The most famous is the gypsy in the crystal ball, Madame Leota, and she will definitely be a key player in the movie. Jennifer Tilly (mmm, Bound) will voice this character. Should the movie prove successful, Disney has promised to include Tilly in future installations of the ride as well. The masterstroke of casting was supposed to be Don Knotts, the man who created the horror comedy genre in the 1960s with The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. His presence was to have been a wonderful throwback to both that movie and his former status as a cornerstone star for Disney. Unfortunately, at the last minute, he had to withdraw from the project. BOP still tips our cap to Minkoff for the reverential treatment of a movie icon.

With regards to actual plot, Murphy's character, real estate agent Jim Evers, accidentally gets his entire family trapped in the haunted house. Once a palatial estate that housed many of the best parties in New Orleans, the decrepit domicile is now reduced to housing a damned bride and groom along with 999 ghouls, ghosts and spectres. They do not like company, so the presence of the Evers family is met with the usual supernatural hijinks. The family must navigate disappearing rooms, collapsing floors and moving eyes pictures. In order to escape the house of gentle horrors, they must figure out the puzzles before the clock strikes 13.

Like Scooby-Doo and Casper before it, The Haunted Mansion will attempt to capitalize on a combination of nostalgia and CGI effects to rope viewers into this light-hearted scare fest. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Haunted Mansion
Main Cast Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp
Supporting Cast Marc John Jefferies, Don Knotts, Nathaniel Parker, Wallace Shawn, Marsha Thomason, Jennifer Tilly, Dina Waters
Director Rob Minkoff
Screenwriter David Berenbaum
Distributor Walt Disney Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG
Running Time 99 minutes
Screen Count 3,122
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Haunted Mansion
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps, The 7/28/0042.52 47.56 3242 13115.00 14112.6 123.29 137.92 2.90
Shrek 5/18/0142.35 45.20 3587 11805.00 12118.4 267.65 285.66 6.32
Doctor Dolittle 6/26/9829.01 37.29 2777 10447.00 12919.5 144.14 185.32 4.97
Daddy Day Care 5/9/0327.62 27.62 3370 8197.00 8197.0 103.55 103.55 3.75
Nutty Professor, The 6/28/9625.41 34.66 2115 12014.00 15765.0 128.81 175.73 5.07
Dr. Dolittle 2 6/22/0125.04 26.72 3049 8212.00 8430.0 112.89 120.48 4.50
Addams Family, The 11/22/9124.20 34.66 2411 10037.00 13827.7 113.50 162.56 4.69
Mulan 6/19/9822.75 29.24 2888 7877.00 9741.3 120.62 155.08 5.30
Casper * 5/26/9522.09 30.62 2714 8139.00 10852.0 100.33 139.07 4.54
Bowfinger 8/13/9918.06 21.52 2706 6674.00 7619.9 66.37 79.09 3.67
Thirteen Ghosts 10/26/0115.17 16.19 2781 5455.00 5599.8 41.87 44.68 2.76
Showtime 3/15/0215.01 15.60 2917 5142.00 5142.0 37.95 39.45 2.53
Addams Family Values 11/19/9314.12 20.56 2577 5479.00 7675.9 46.29 67.42 3.28
I Spy 11/1/0212.75 13.25 3182 4008.00 4008.0 33.11 34.42 2.60
Country Bears, The 7/26/025.31 5.52 2553 2080.00 2080.0 16.99 17.66 3.20
Holy Man 10/9/985.11 6.56 2013 2538.00 3138.7 12.07 15.51 2.36
Adventures of Pluto Nash, The 8/16/022.18 2.26 2320 941.00 941.0 4.41 4.58 2.02



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