Well, you see, Disney had a bit of an “oopsie” moment this summer. Instead of biding their time for the spooky season of Halloween, they went full steam ahead and released their new flick, The Haunted Mansion, smack in the middle of summer. As a blockbuster, no less. Turns out, this might not have been their best move.
Over here in the good ol’ U.S of A, the movie only managed to creep its way up to #3 on the box office charts. It raked in $24.2 million from 3,740 movie houses, not exactly a ghastly sum.
Globally, the opening weekend scared up a total of $33.3 million.
Now, those figures might not seem like a disaster, until you get wind of the fact that the production budget for Haunted Mansion was a whopping $150 million. And we’re not even counting the big bucks they threw at marketing this baby. The movie industry reckons that a big-name movie needs to make about 2.5 to 3 times its production budget to start making a profit. By that rule, Haunted Mansion is looking pretty pale right now.
It seems like Disney’s plan might be to let the film have its day in the sun, then get it cozy at home on Disney+ by Halloween. That might just explain why they sent it off to the theaters in summer.
This movie, a live-action adaptation of the beloved theme park ride, directed by Justin Simien, is Disney’s second try at spinning the Haunted Mansion into gold. Eddie Murphy was the star of the show back in 2003. That movie was made on a more modest budget of $90 million (keep in mind, that’s not adjusted for inflation) and it earned a decent $182 million worldwide (also unadjusted for inflation).
But it’s clear as day, Disney hasn’t really hit the jackpot when it comes to turning the Haunted Mansion into a box office sensation. This second go at it seems to be another classic case of a Hollywood movie that was way too expensive to make, dooming it to never see a profit. Meanwhile, it seems like smaller horror flicks like Talk to Me keep reminding us that low-budget horrors can really be the winners here.
The movie features some big names, including LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, with Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota and Jared Leto as the Hatbox Ghost.
The story follows a doctor (Dawson) and her young son (Chase Dillon) who move into a strangely cheap mansion in New Orleans, in hopes of starting afresh. But they soon find out they’ve got more than they bargained for. Desperate, they reach out to a priest (Wilson) who brings in a widowed scientist-turned failed-paranormal expert (Stanfield), a French Quarter psychic (Haddish), and a grumpy historian (DeVito) for help.
The script for this film was penned by Katie Dippold, who also wrote Ghostbusters 2016, another Disney project.