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How The Haunted Mansion Reboot Director Is Avoiding Eddie Murphy Movie’s Mistakes

With 20 years now gone from the prior adaptation, Justin Simien is explaining how The Haunted Mansion reboot is avoiding the Eddie Murphy movie’s mistakes. The upcoming film marks the second adaptation of the iconic Disneyland ride, with the story revolving around a single mother and her son hiring a team of paranormal experts to help exorcise the eponymous manor. The Haunted Mansion previously made its way to the screen with Murphy’s 2003 film, which was a critical failure, albeit financial success.


As part of their summer round-up preview, Entertainment Weekly caught up with Justin Simien to get some insight for the upcoming Haunted Mansion reboot movie. In discussing his extensive research for the project, the director revealed he and his team looked to the 2003 Eddie Murphy-led movie as a reference point to see what mistakes they needed to avoid. See what Simien explained below:

[We looked at Eddie Murphy’s Haunted Mansion for how we could] go awry. We got down to the point where we were obsessing over the angle you first see the mansion when you walk onto the ride in Disneyland, when we see it through the gates and we see the pillars. That angle has to hit. That’s how specific we were. When you first glide through the dining hall and you see the waltzing dancers, that angle had to be right, because that’s the one where you gasp on the ride.

Why Eddie Murphy’s Haunted Mansion Was So Hated

Upon its release, Murphy’s The Haunted Mansion movie found itself the target of much critical derision, with most reviews feeling it lacking any successful humor, despite its lead star, or any scares, despite its setting, and for taking its story far too seriously, resulting in a scattershot and dull mess. The film was also criticized for its attempts to adapt the lore of the ride into a coherent story, which some felt to be too convoluted and uninteresting in nature.

Related: How Disney’s New Haunted Mansion Movie Can Finally Get The Park Ride Right

Interestingly, though it does still sit at a 14 percent approval rating from critics and 31 percent from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, appreciation for Murphy’s The Haunted Mansion has begun shifting towards a more positive outlook. The film is now frequently compared to the likes of fellow Disney release Hocus Pocus, as well as ’80s cult classics Clue and The Monster Squad, being better received by those who grew up with the film and continue to enjoy its blend of horror and comedy.

Regardless of where one sits on that debate, anticipation for the Haunted Mansion reboot movie is largely high for both those who did enjoy Murphy’s movie and those who still detest it. The first trailer for the new film has already shown off a number of iconic set pieces from the ride being adapted for the screen, namely the rising ceiling, Jared Leto’s Hatbox Ghost and the seeming appearance of murderer spirit Constance Hatchaway.

Source: EW

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This story originally appeared on Screenrant

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