As Disney faces one of their weakest years at the box office, things don’t seem to be getting any easier for the entertainment giant. The well-publicized strike of Hollywood writers has picked up steam in the last week as actors from the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) have joined the picket lines. SAG actors from both coasts joined union strikes, heavily impacting screenwriting and production in Hollywood. The Walt Disney Company is, first and foremost, an organization that prides itself on storytelling through film and animation, thus it has not been untouched by the current strike.
Ready to redeem itself at the box office, Disney announced a special wolrd premiere for their newest film, The Haunted Mansion, at the Hyperion Theatre in Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Disney’s retelling of their original 2003 flop starring Eddie Murphy is set to bring in big money. The film is based on one of Disney’s most famous dark rides found at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. With the combination of a loyal fanbase, and big screen names such as Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Danny DeVito, it felt like this would be one of the few successes Disney recently has had on the big screen.
However, as Disney began preparing for the special screening at Disneyland, a curveball ensured that many of the film’s famous faces would not be in attendance. That curveball, of course, is the current strike involving union writers and SAG members. Ever so resourceful, instead of canceling the event, which many were concerned would be Disney’s only option, The Walt Disney Company showed how flexible they can be when things don’t go according to plan. Maybe it was the bright minds who had the foresight to recognize a problem on the horizon, or it was magic, but Disney seemed ready with an entertaining and adorable plan B.
Disney’s Solution for ‘The Haunted Mansion’ Premiere
The Haunted Mansion went on to premiere without its leading cast walking the red carpet billed as a fan event. Determined to satisfy attendees, Disney deployed many costumed characters to ensure Guests had a memorable time. Instead of seeing Owen Wilson and Rosario Dawson walk the red carpet, Guests in attendance got to see Mickey and Minnie Mouse, The Tightrope Girl, and Maleficient, among others. Scott Gustin shared an exciting look at The Haunted Mansion world premiere fan event and some of our favorite Disney characters creating smiles at the premiere.
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) July 16, 2023
Although things did not go according to their original plans due to the SGA AFTRA strikes, Guests who attended the fan event got an up-close and personal peak at some of Disney’s most notable characters who seemed poised and ready for the big night. Although not necessarily news, we’d also like to point out the incredible, gothic outfits that Mickey and Minnie Mouse wore to the film’s premiere at Disneyland.
With no end in sight to the strikes in New York and Hollywood, it’s difficult to say what will happen with Disney’s planned projects. As negotiations have broken down between the Screen Actor’s Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, most working actors (being part of the association) are now refusing to work until union matters are resolved. As some picketing members have suggested that the strike could become “very unpleasant,” we will all have to wait to see when and how resolution will come.