A Haunting in Venice Continues Disappointing Franchise Trend

A Haunting in Venice is in theaters now.

Kenneth Branagh's third Agatha Christie adaptation, A Haunting in Venice, is now in theaters and while the film is leading the weekend's box office, it's also continuing an unfortunate trend for the franchise. The film has a B CinemaScore — which just so happens to be the same CinemaScore that previous films Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile both received.  However, while the film is holding stead with its predecessors in terms of CinemaScore, it is faring better in terms of Rotten Tomatoes. A Haunting in Venice presently has a 78 percent on the review aggregate cite, making it Certified Fresh — the first film in the franchise to achieve the distinction.

What is A Haunting in Venice About?

A Haunting in Venice is set in eerie, post-World War II Venice on All Hallows' Eve and is a terrifying mystery featuring the return of the celebrated sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Now retired and living in self-imposed exile in the world's most glamorous city, Poirot reluctantly attends a séance at a decaying, haunted palazzo. When one of the guests is murdered, the detective is thrust into a sinister world of shadows and secrets. Reuniting many of the filmmakers behind 2017's Murder on the Orient Express and 2022's Death on the Nile, the film is directed by Kenneth Branagh with a screenplay by Oscar nominee Michael Green based upon Agatha Christie's novel Hallowe'en Party. The producers are Kenneth Branagh, p.g.a., Judy Hofflund, p.g.a., Ridley Scott, and Simon Kinberg, with Louise Killin, James Prichard, and Mark Gordon serving as executive producers. 

The film stars Branagh, Kyle Allen, Camille Cottin, Jamie Dornan, Tina Fey, Jude Hill, Ali Khan, Emma Laird, Kelly Reilly, Riccardo Scamarcio, and Michelle Yeoh.

There Are Major Changes Between Agatha Christie's Novel and the Film

A Haunting in Venice is the first film in the franchise to not directly adapt the novel it is based on. The film is based on Christie's 1969 novel Hallowe'en Party, and the film has made quite a few changes to the source material. Not only is the title a departure from the novel, but there's also a different setting and some changes to the plot itself. James Pritchard, the CEO of the Agatha Christie Estate and an executive producer on the film, previously explained how much the new movie varies from the source material.

"There are a significant number of changes to the story," Pritchard confirmed. "And yes, one of the clues is in the title. With Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile, we had done two very, pretty faithful adaptations of two pretty famous, pretty big books. And Michael Green, the writer, and Kenneth Branagh, obviously, the director and [Hercule Poirot] felt that we should maybe surprise our audience with this and try something a bit different."

"And the main difference they were looking for was tonal. They wanted to play a little bit with the horror genre, and they felt a Hallowe'en Party was a great launchpad into that," the executive producer explained. "They wanted to set it in Venice. That was quite an early change that they came up with. There were two potential reasons for that. One of which is, you know, if you're going to make a Hollywood movie, you want a great backdrop... Not many backdrops better than Venice. So there was the kind of cinematic elements of it. But there's also an atmospheric element to Venice. The film plays with the supernatural — has the potential for the supernatural at its heart, and Venice has an air of mystery and air of mystique that plays into it."

A Haunting in Venice is in theaters now.