Disney is gearing up to bring the 999 happy haunts back on the big screen. Deadline reports that Dear White People and Bad Hair director Justin Simien has entered negotiations to direct a new movie based on the popular Disney attraction The Haunted Mansion. Ghostbusters screenwriter Katie Dippold wrote the most recent draft of the script with Aladdin producers Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich attached to produce. According to the trade's sources "this will be a completely different take as a film that stands on its own" when compared to the 2003 feature that starred Eddie Murphy.
What that means for the movie is mostly unclear at this point, but the Haunted Mansion as a feature film project remains a priority at the studio as Disney reportedly considers it "easier to adapt" into a film than many of their other theme park rides. To that end, The Jungle Cruise is scheduled to arrive in theaters later this year and development on new Pirates of the Caribbean movies also seemingly remain ongoing. Disney also reportedly was eager to work with Simien, making this combo a good match.
Despite being a "movie based on a theme park" there are quite a few things from many iterations The Haunted Mansion ride that would make it suitable for an adaptation. The Ghost Host narrates most of the experience while other elements like the "Stretching Portraits," the psychic medium Madame Leota, the murderous spirit of the Bride in the attic, the Hitchhiking Ghosts, and the Hatbox Ghost, could all factor into it.
A reboot of The Haunted Mansion has previously been considered by Disney for many years with Academy Award winning director Guillermo del Toro becoming attached to write and direct a new version way back in 2010. The Mexican filmmaker's version lingered for many years at the studio and eventually had Ryan Gosling attached to star. That attempt tragically fell by the wayside though as del Toro or Gosling have moved on to other projects and competing Haunted Mansion projects won't happen.
The first attempt by Disney to adapt the fan-favorite ride into a feature came when the studio was mining their properties for the big screen but with little gain. Beyond the massive success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, which spawned four sequels and re-designs of the ride it's based on, films based on Tomorrowland and The Country Bears flopped at the box office. Disney seems confident in their next attempt at this style of adaptation though as The Jungle Cruise was delayed several times to guarantee a theatrical debut.