Although Disney’s newest attempt at bringing a ride-based film to life on the big screen isn’t doing well, they’ve succeeded in turning other attractions into the basis for movie ideas. Disney movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise did very well at the box office, earning the company millions and billions in the case of Pirates. However, turning beloved Disney rides into films doesn’t always yield guaranteed blockbusters. As some attractions you’ll find at Disney World and Disneyland Resort have a solid and loyal following who take the business of maintaining attraction lore very seriously, deviating at all or not capturing the original essence of a ride can ruin any attempt at a Disney movie. Case in point, Disney’s second failed attempt at The Haunted Mansion film.
Despite the wide variance in how audiences feel about The Haunted Mansion, director Justin Simien isn’t ready to call it quits when it comes to taking rides at Disney’s most popular Parks and turning them into Disney movies. Recently while at San Diego Comic-Con, the director sat down with ScreenRant and gave a fascinating answer when promoted about what other Disney attraction he’d like to see turned into a Disney film. His answer would excite any fan of the good ole days at EPCOT in Walt Disney World.
Remember EPCOT back in the ’80s and ’90s? It was a weird place. Heck, the ’80s and ’90s were strange, so we can’t blame EPCOT. These two decades saw a host of attractions around the Park that no longer exist today. Kitchen Kabaret (1982-1994), World of Motion (1982-1996), and Horizons (1983-1999) were all beloved attractions that are now deceased, gone to the wayside in place of new technology. However, despite the diverse history at EPCOT, Simien voiced a different ride idea that he’d like to turn into a brand new Disney movie. If The Haunted Mansion director had his way, Captain EO, featuring the king of pop, Michael Jackson, would be his next Disney project.
Showing at EPCOT and Disneyland Resort, Captain EO ran through the late ’80s to mid-to-late ’90s. At EPCOT specifically, the short showed at the EPCOT Imagination Pavilion. It featured Michael Jackson as Captain EO, the leader of a group of space travelers on a mission to provide a gift to the Supreme Leader (no, not Kylo Ren), who was played by Angela Huston. Joined by loveable characters like Hooter, the 3D science fiction film, produced by George Lucas and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was a smash hit with EPCOT Guests. Drawing inspiration for E.T., the short film featured stunning special effects, elaborate costuming, and plenty of song and dance; it is Michael Jackson, after all.
Although not a full-length Disney movie, the film’s production was executed very well, especially for its time. Despite the pop icon’s death in 2009, given the technology at Disney’s disposal, it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question to bring something like this to life. Considering that Disney’s second attempt at The Haunted Mansion isn’t doing exactly what they’d hoped it would, it did have some stiff box office competition to consider, so director Justin Simien shouldn’t be counted out just yet. As Captain EO was a catalyst for the themes of innovation and technological advancement, we’ve come to know that EPCOT utilizing some sort of face-mapping to bring Jackson back to life as the space-leading hero would be poetic in a way. However, we would suggest leaving “We Are The World” out of the movie.