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Disney Scheduling Error Doomed ‘Haunted Mansion’ Film

haunted mansion film disney enterprises rosario dawson owen wilson jamie lee curtis disney plus ghost box office flop summer v halloween
Credit: Disney

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?

READ MORE: Disney Lost to Warner Bros. in Fight for Barbie Fame

haunted mansion film disney enterprises rosario dawson owen wilson jamie lee curtis disney plus ghost box office flop summer v halloween

Credit: Disney

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. 

barbie bests beach haunted mansion film disney enterprises rosario dawson owen wilson jamie lee curtis disney plus ghost box office flop summer v halloween

Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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?

haunted mansion film disney enterprises rosario dawson owen wilson jamie lee curtis disney plus ghost box office flop summer v halloween

Credit: Disney

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?

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!