Pirates of the Caribbean & Haunted Mansion at Comic-Con (updated!)

As promised in our post about the TRON panel at this year’s Comic-Con there were two huge surprises after the official end of that panel according to Deadline Hollywood well worthy of separate coverage if you ask me.

First there was a 3D clip of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow as we will meet him in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides, the fourth movie of Disney’s hit franchise. Being the first of the series produced in 3D certainly will add an extra level to the experience of following Jack Sparrow in his search for the Fountain of Youth – which the clip sort of confirmed as one of the plot points for the movie – that is, if Jack receives all he needs for the quest, which according to him is “a bloody map…or a Bloody Mary…or both.”

While funny the real surprise for me was the second revealment after the panel’s end: a NEW movie based on the classic attraction “Haunted Mansion” from Disneyland!

Yes, the Walt Disney Studios are going there again after the 2003 children’s movie / comedy feature starring Eddie Murphy not only bombed at the box office but also received a rather (let’s say it friendly) “luke warm” reception from fans considering its only (let’s play nice again) “loose” connection to the beloved attraction.

However, things might turn out to be different this time, as Guillermo del Toro will be involved, maybe best known among the general movie audience for his hit “Pan’s Labyrinth”. ABC News cites del ToroIt’s going to be a thrill ride for the whole family but it’s definitely going to be scary. Disney is one of the creators of some of the scariest images in my childhood. People forget that he not only made sweet images but also images of nightmare. We need to honor that side of the legacy.” The official press release (also to be found at Deadline Hollywood) further cites him “Dark imagery is an integral part of the Walt Disney legacy. After all, Disney himself was the father of some really chilling moments and characters – think Chernabog from Fantasia or Maleficent as the Dragon or the Evil Queen in Snow White. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of my own adaptation of the original theme park attraction Walt envisioned and that remains- for me- the most desirable piece of real estate in the whole world!

Apparently he is rather fond of the Haunted Mansion ride himself and wants to stay true to the character and atmosphere that Imagineering created. In fact according to ABC News del Toro even has a room dedicated to “Mansion” in his home including a secret bookcases, wallpaper from the original ride at Disneyland as well original art from Marc Davis, who was one of the ride’s original designers.

However, while scary the movie is supposed to be still family friendly. Still … Eddie Murphy will NOT star in the movie (sigh of relief here), instead the infamous “Hatbox Ghost” is supposed to feature prominently. The “Hatbox Ghost” what a ghost whose head guzests should see disappear from his body only to see it resurface in a hat box the ghost was holding. However, while the Audio-Animatronic was found in the ride when it opened it was removed rather fast – apparently for technical reasons, which hasn’t stopped the character from being one of the most talked about characters from the Haunted Mansion among the fans. The fact that it is no longer part of the ride allows the crew of the movie the necessary freedom to handle the character as pievotal element of the movie’s plot.

But don’t get ready to stand in line at your local theater. While the movie is planed there isn’t even a script yet (however, there was none for the TRON sequel opening in December either when first footage was shown at Comic-Con two years ago). The script is supposed to be written by del Toro together with Matthew Robbins, who are also supposed to jointly produce the movie. Certainly del Toro is also under consideration to direct the movie (that is supposed to be filmed in 3D) but a decision has not been made so far and will also depend on the status of his other obligations (i.e. movie projects) once the Haunted Mansion movie has moved further in the development.

Having two different movies based on it is certainly a first for the Haunted Mansion among the attraction at Disneyland … and it leaves fans to continue wondering which other Disneyland attraction might be made into a movie next.

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One Response to “Pirates of the Caribbean & Haunted Mansion at Comic-Con (updated!)”

  1. Andy De Maertelaere Says:

    Del Toro and Disney’s Haunted Mansion… OH YES!!!!!! Great news!

    I never thought we would get this combination of Toro and Disney, but if this will see the day of light I, as a Haunted Mansion fan, will be very very very happy!

    They previous HM movie was one of the worst Disney movies ever made. Even if Del Toro would not be involved they could never make it worst then that (I think).

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