Just because a movie was terrible the first time around doesn’t mean the story needs to be buried in the Hollywood graveyard. Far from it. These days, with a veritable arms race happening around original content, studios and streamers are more than happy to give something the reboot on the off chance that it hits. Such is the case with the Eddie Murphy bomb The Haunted Mansion. According to We Got This Covered, not only are we getting set up for a movie in this world, but Disney could be developing a whole series around the original premise.
A reboot of the Eddie Murphy flick The Haunted Mansion has been kicking around for the better part of the decade with Disney going through a couple of starts and stops on the project. Currently, it is moving forward with Tiffany Haddish and Lakeith Stanfield in the leads. Filming is slated to start in late September with Justin Simien (Dear White People) in the director’s chair working with a script from Katie Dippold (Parks and Recreation, The Heat). It is unclear if they are going for a full reboot with this movie or if it will extend off the story of the original movie.
The first The Haunted Mansion came out back in 2003 with Eddie Murphy in the lead as Jim Evers, a real estate agent who mistakenly signs his family to stay in the titular house for a horrible weekend. Loosely based on the Disney attraction of the same name, the film goes through the typical horror/ comedy tropes with a very loose story and plenty of hijinks meant to mask the overall lack of story. It had a whopping $90 million budget and was only able to manage $182 million at the box office. Critics crushed the film with it scoring a paltry 14% on Rotten Tomatoes through 140 reviews. You name it and the critics slammed it. Whether it was the theme, story, acting, writing, gags, whatever, it was panned universally across the board.
But, again, we live in a world in which it is sometimes worth it to try a theme again to see if a new cast and crew can turn the story around. Sure, the Eddie Murphy version was a bomb, but that doesn’t mean this new group can’t pull something together. Disney has had some recent success adapting a franchise around a signature amusement park ride with this summer’s Jungle Cruise starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt hitting fine enough at the box office and already getting re-upped for a sequel. If this version of The Haunted Mansion could garner significant attention in the theaters and Disney+ we could quickly see a series developed around the story.
As for Eddie Murphy, he is coming off a last spring’s release of Coming to America 2, a sequel more than 20 years in the making. It reprised his King Akeem role and like the original saw him wearing a lot of hats. Arsenio Hall was back as well. While middling with critics, it was a huge success for Amazon Prime with it being the streamer’s first original film to top their viewing charts. Next up he will join Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito in Triplets, another sequel to an 80s movie (Twins). He also has a project with Jonah Hill announced and there are plans for Beverly Hills Cop 4 as well. At present, he isn’t attached to have a part in the reboot for The Haunted Mansion.