The overall hype and the star-studded cast of Disney’s recent Haunted Mansion film didn’t translate at the box office this past weekend. It turns out that Disney Enterprises were the foolish mortals in putting the classic theme park attraction film up against the fearsome Barbenheimer. However, the real scheduling issue occurred long before competition films Barbie and Oppenheimer gained any traction.
The question is: Why schedule a spooky, haunted movie for a mid-summer release over a Halloween debut?
The Walt Disney Company is usually top-notch in its theming, which leads audiences to question why Haunted Mansion may not have made more sense to release in the fall during the designated spooky season. Variety asked the same question and cited two main reasons.
Disney Expected Haunted Mansion to Do Better with Kids Off from School
Summertime can be a great time to draw families into movie theaters. Kids are out of school, and parents need a solid way to collect their families and beat the heat. While Haunted Mansion had the makings of a promising family film, director Justin Simien and cast members like Rosario Dawson, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Owen Wilson had no idea they would have to compete with the behemoth that is Greta Gerwig’s Barbie.
After the film came in a distant third place on its opening weekend, Disney may have realized their error. Kids and families are available, but they’d rather spend their summer days with Barbie at the beach than a ghost-ridden mansion. Variety notes that the actor’s strike also “hobbled” Haunted Mansion’s ability to market.
Haunted Mansion May Do Better in an Afterlife on Disney Plus
Maybe The Walt Disney Co. knew ahead of time that the Haunted Mansion film would be met tepidly in theaters, so they picked a summer release date that allows the film to hit its streaming platform right around the Halloween season. Variety sites Disney’s 1993 Hocus Pocus as a theatrical flop that became a cult classic only in its afterlife. Is this what Disney hopes for the new Haunted Mansion film, too?
It’s hard to imagine Disney Plus will have a surge of sign-ups around Halloween just to access 2023’s Haunted Mansion, but scarier things have happened.
Have you been to theaters to see any movies yet this summer?