Haunted Mansion 2 Already In The Works

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

Haunted Mansion (2023)

Disney’s Haunted Mansion hasn’t even come out yet, and the movie’s director is already thinking about Haunted Mansion 2. Justin Simien recently revealed to ComicBook.com, that Disney’s latest amusement park adaptation will hopefully be a springboard for future ghost-related media. “It definitely leaves a door open for more and for other spaces, where, you know, ghosts might materialize,” Simien told the website.

Haunted Mansion, which debuts in theaters nationwide tomorrow, is Disney’s third attempt to adapt their legendary Disneyland attraction, The Haunted Mansion, for the screen. The first attempt was 2003’s The Haunted Mansion, starring Eddie Murphy. The movie made a modest profit, but a poor reception from critics and audiences alike kept Disney and Murphy from ever making The Haunted Mansion 2.

Next came 2021’s Disney+ Halloween special Muppets Haunted Mansion, which attempted to combine elements of the ride with everyone’s favorite googly-eyed felt weirdos. The special was generally well-liked but so far remains a one-off production. With no Muppets Haunted Mansion 2 in sight, Disney is hoping that this new Haunted Mansion will finally be the one to spawn sequels.

It definitely leaves a door open for more and for other spaces, where, you know, ghosts might materialize.

Justin Simien, Haunted Mansion director

One thing in Haunted Mansion‘s favor is an incredible cast of top-tier talent. The movie stars Lakeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, and Danny DeVito, among others. Just the talent involved alone might make this iteration of Disney’s ghost house the one to achieve the studio’s long-held dream of producing a Haunted Mansion 2 and catapulting the property into franchisehood.

Haunted Mansion (2023)

Why Disney is so hellbent on making movies out of theme park rides when they have so many more fitting IPs is unclear. They’ve been doing it since 1997’s Tower of Terror, a made-for-TV movie starring Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst that’s largely forgotten today. In the 25 years since, the studio has made repeated attempts to turn famous park attractions into movies with varying results.

One thing in Haunted Mansion‘s favor is an incredible cast of top-tier talent.

We say varying results, but in all honesty, they’ve only had one success: the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Everything that came after the first Pirates movie, from 2002’s The Country Bears to the next year’s The Haunted Mansion, has been a futile attempt by Disney to make lightning strike twice.

While there are, ahem, a mega pint’s worth of reasons that Pirates of the Caribbean succeeded where the other ride-movies failed, we all know the main thing that made the franchise such a hit was Johnny Depp‘s Jack Sparrow.

What Critics Say About Haunted Mansion

It stands to reason, then, that Justin Simien’s plans for Haunted Mansion 2 largely rely on whether any of the characters in his adaptation can carry a whole film series. Unfortunately, judging by advanced reviews for Haunted Mansion, that’s probably not the case. The movie currently has a less-than-fresh critic score of 45 percent based on a majority of scathing reviews.

One critic went so far as to call the new Haunted Mansion something of “middling entertainment value” and claimed the movie should have gone straight to Disney+. Another critic said that the movie didn’t have “one-tenth of the wit or imagination” of the ride itself. Saying that 50-year-old animatronics have more charisma than a cast of present-day Hollywood movie stars is quite the condemnation.

But that’s just the critics. The real indicator of whether Justin Simien will ever get to helm his planned Haunted Mansion 2 will be this weekend when Haunted Mansion squares off with twin titans Barbie and Oppenheimer. We don’t want to assume that Haunted Mansion gets killed in that scenario, but in the event it does, at least it’s already full of ghosts.