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Haunted Mansion (2023 film)

Haunted Mansion (2023 film)

Haunted Mansion is a 2023 American supernatural horror comedy film directed by Justin Simien from a screenplay by Katie Dippold. The film stars LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Dan Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jared Leto. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Rideback, it is the second theatrical film adaptation of Walt Disney's theme park attraction The Haunted Mansion, following the 2003 film of the same name. In the film, Gabbie (Dawson) and Travis (Chase W. Dillon) enlist the aid of a team (Stanfield, Haddish, Wilson, and DeVito) to help exorcise their mansion and destroy the ghosts around them.

Plans for the reboot adaptation based on the Haunted Mansion began in July 2010, when Guillermo del Toro, who intended to write and produce, stated the project would take place in a heightened reality rather than in a real-world setting. Del Toro was no longer attached as the project's director in July 2013. After years in development hell, Disney officially announced Haunted Mansion in August 2020, with Dippold signed on to write a new screenplay for the film. Simien negotiated to direct the film by April 2021, and was officially confirmed three months later. The primary cast was confirmed from July to October, while additional cast was announced the following year. Principal photography took place from mid-October 2021 to late-February 2022 on a $150 million budget.

Haunted Mansion premiered at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on July 15, 2023, and was released in the United States on July 28 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $113 million worldwide, being labeled a box office bomb.


Ben Matthias, an astrophysicist developing a camera to detect dark matter, meets and marries Alyssa, a ghost tour guide, and becomes entranced with her belief in the supernatural. After Alyssa dies in a car accident, Ben gives up his career and continues to run her ghost tour.

Years later, recently-widowed doctor Gabbie and her son Travis move from New York into Gracey Manor to turn it into a bed and breakfast, only to learn that it is haunted with ghosts.

Ben is visited by priest and exorcist Father Kent who hires him to photograph the ghosts at Gracey Manor. Ben is initially incredulous until he returns home and is haunted by a ghost Mariner who forces him to return to the mansion. Ben learns that Gabbie, Travis, and Kent have also fallen victim to hauntings, forcing them to stay in the mansion.

Ben and Kent recruit Harriet, a psychic with legitimate powers, and steal blueprints to the mansion from haunted house historian Prof. Bruce Davis. The group finds a hidden séance room. Harriet manages to contact the spirit of Gracey who leaves a written message instructing them to talk to the legendary medium Madame Leota. Upon trying to do so, a mysterious entity forces Harriet out of the house. Bruce arrives shortly afterwards and becomes haunted.

The group stays at the mansion where they proceed to look for Leota's ghost. Ben goes into the attic where he runs afoul of a ghostly bride and finds a locked trunk. Upon examining the contents, they find a crystal ball which houses Leota.

Leota reveals that William Gracey bought the mansion and recruited Leota to try and contact the spirit of his dead wife Eleanor every night for a full year, releasing hundreds of ghosts into the mansion. An evil entity then tricked Gracey into taking his own life and trapped Leota inside her crystal ball. Harriet attempts to perform an astral projection for more answers but ends up sending Ben out of his body. He discovers Gracey as well as the evil entity, the Hatbox Ghost.

The next morning, Bruce takes Ben to get a sketch artist to draw up the Hatbox Ghost. He is identified as Alistair Crump, a rich heir who was abused by his father after his mother's death and eventually expelled from the home. Upon reaching adulthood, he killed his fellow socialites out of revenge for being shunned by society, before being beheaded himself by his mutinous servants. The ghost of Crump proceeds to lock the mansion down but Ben, Kent, and Travis manage to escape. They find Crump Manor, which has become a historical site. They learn from the Mariner (who followed them) that Crump needs someone to willingly give up their life and become the mansion's one-thousandth spirit in order to escape the mansion. Travis finds Crump's hat, which they can use as part of a ritual to banish Crump back to the afterlife.

The three make it back to the Gracey mansion where Ben and Kent rescue Gabbie, Harriet, and Bruce, but Crump burns the hat and plans to use Travis' grief over the loss of his father to have him come to the other side. Ben finds Travis and manages to convince him to let go of his father as they and Gabbie confront Crump in the graveyard. Kent manages to convince the ghosts to turn on Crump and join forces with them, and Bruce delivers a piece of the hat to Harriet who uses Leota's incantation to banish Crump. Crump attempts to get Ben to give up his life willingly to see Alyssa again, but Ben reveals he has made peace with losing Alyssa before kicking Crump in the face and sending him back to the underworld.

Many of the ghosts decide to stay at the mansion, now in harmony with Gabbie and Travis. Harriet regains full confidence in her psychic abilities, Kent undergoes ordainment to become a real priest, and Bruce maintains his newfound friendships. Ben goes back to teaching and adopts a stray cat named Tater Tot, a nod to his wife's love for the snack. The group reunites on Halloween for a party at the mansion with the happy haunts.



  • LaKeith Stanfield as Ben Matthias, an astrophysicist turned paranormal tour guide
  • Rosario Dawson as Gabbie, a widowed doctor from New York who moves to New Orleans with her son to open a bed and breakfast
  • Owen Wilson as Father Kent, a conman posing as a priest and trained exorcist
  • Tiffany Haddish as Harriet, a psychic with genuine abilities
  • Danny DeVito as Bruce Davis, a college historian and professor at Tulane University
  • Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota, the psychic responsible for unleashing the ghosts, subsequently reduced to a head in a glass ball
  • Chase W. Dillon as Travis, Gabbie's son
  • Jared Leto as Alistair Crump, the Hatbox Ghost (voice); Leto's likeness was used for Crump in an enhanced police sketch and in the animation depicting Crump's backstory
  • Jo Koy as a daytime bartender
  • Marilu Henner as Carol, a tourist in New Orleans
  • Steve Zissis as Roger
  • Hasan Minhaj as a police sketch artist
  • Daniel Levy as Vic, an entertainment tour guide
  • Winona Ryder as Pat, a New Orleans tour guide (uncredited)



In July 2010, it was announced that a reboot adaptation based on The Haunted Mansion was in development for Walt Disney Pictures, with Guillermo del Toro as writer and producer. Del Toro stated the project would not take place in a real-world setting, but in a heightened reality. He revealed that the Hatbox Ghost would be one of the main characters and said the film would be "scary and fun at the same time, but the scary will be scary." In June 2011, Walt Disney World Imagineer Jason Surrell was brought onto the project as a creative consultant. In August 2012, Del Toro submitted the final draft of his script to Walt Disney Studios, intended for a PG-13 rating. By July 2013, Del Toro announced he was no longer the project's director, but remained as co-writer and executive producer. In April 2015, Ryan Gosling was in early negotiations to star, while D.V. DeVincentis was hired to rewrite the script. In September 2016, Brigham Taylor was hired as producer.

In August 2020, it was announced that Katie Dippold signed on to write a new screenplay for the film, after it was decided that Del Toro's script was too scary for family audiences. Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich were hired as producers. The project will be a joint-venture production between Walt Disney Pictures and Rideback. By April 2021, Justin Simien entered early-negotiations to direct the film, and was officially confirmed as director by July 2021.

Bryan Cogman, Del Toro, DeVincentis, Micah Fitzerman-Blue, Noah Harpster, Justin Haythe, Jeff Nathanson, Matthew Robbins, Simien, Steven Thompson, and Chris Weitz wrote additional literary material for the film.

In a behind-the-features featurette, production designer Darren Gilford revealed that the crew had an after-hours tour on the actual Haunted Mansion ride at Walt Disney World. The crew then pulled details from the ride to the sets.


Tiffany Haddish, LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Rosario Dawson, and Danny DeVito were each cast to appear in the film. In July 2022, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jared Leto were revealed to have been cast. During the 2022 D23 Expo presentation, it was revealed that Winona Ryder, Dan Levy, and Hasan Minhaj were cast.

Filming and post-production

Principal photography ran from October 4, 2021, to late February 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia. Production also occurred at Trilith Studios. The visual effects were handled by DNEG and Industrial Light & Magic.


Kris Bowers composed the film's score. The soundtrack album, featuring the score by Bowers, was released on July 26 by Walt Disney Records, two days before the film's release.


Haunted Mansion had its world premiere at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on July 15, 2023. Due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike, the film's cast members could not attend the premiere. Instead, the park's Disney characters including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Disney Villains such as Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, and the Evil Queen walked the red carpet. It was released theatrically in the United States on July 28 in 4DX and Dolby Cinema formats. It was previously scheduled for March 10, 2023 and then August 11, 2023. It will be released on Disney+ on October 4, 2023.


Before the film's release, the cast appeared on the game show Celebrity Family Feud.


Box office

As of September 29, 2023, Haunted Mansion has grossed $67 million in the United States and Canada, and $45.9 million in other territories, for worldwide gross of $113 million.

In the United States and Canada, Haunted Mansion was released alongside Talk to Me, and was projected to gross $25–30 million from 3,740 theaters in its opening weekend, though a debut of $20-25 million also had been noted as possible. The film made $10 million on its first day, including $3.1 million from Thursday night previews. It went on to debut to $24.1 million, finishing in third below Barbie and Oppenheimer, and failing to top the opening weekend of the 2003 film ($24.3 million, unadjusted for inflation). Given its $157 million production budget, Variety opined the opening was "not a great result for a kid-centric tentpole" and the film was "Halloween-esque". The film fell 62% in its second weekend to $9.2 million, finishing in fifth.

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 38% of 234 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.2/10. The website's consensus reads: "Haunted Mansion's talented cast makes the movie a pleasant enough destination, although it's neither scary nor funny enough to wholeheartedly recommend." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 47 out of 100, based on 52 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those polled at PostTrak gave it an 80% overall positive score, with 60% saying they would definitely recommend the film.

Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian gave the film two out of five stars, and stated, "Lakeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson and Jamie Lee Curtis cannot save this laborious story of a creepy old dwelling and the awful Hatbox Ghost". Peter Debruge of Variety wrote, "While the visual effects are surprisingly weak for a film of this scale, the script proves far better than anyone might expect, establishing an emotional foundation for what might otherwise be a gimmick-driven haunted house movie." Lucas Trevor of The Washington Post wrote, "It’s too dark for a family film, too weightless and juvenile for grown-ups. In a season notable for high-level action spectacle and important auteur projects, Haunted Mansion is not just confused but inconsequential."

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External links

  • Official website
  • Haunted Mansion at IMDb

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: Haunted Mansion (2023 film) by Wikipedia (Historical)