Did Disney ‘Hocus Pocus’ Its New ‘Haunted Mansion’ Movie?

Haunted Mansion Hocus Pocus

On July 28, Walt Disney Studios released its newest live-action film, Haunted Mansion. The movie tells the story of Gabbie, a single mother who moves into a New Orleans mansion with her young son. Unfortunately, the spirits who inhabit the mansion are not happy to see them. Gabbie must enlist the help of a paranormal investigator, a priest, a psychic, and a professor if she and her son hope to leave the mansion alive.

Disney Live Action Haunted Mansion Remake 2023

Credit: Disney

Unfortunately, Haunted Mansion did not explode at the theaters and is considered another Disney flop. The film has grossed only about $86 million, making it one of Disney’s worst openings of the year. However, it’s not all bad news. The movie only has a 38% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience highly disagrees. Those who have seen the movie seem to really like it, giving it an 84% rating.

LaKeith Stanfield Haunted Mansion

Credit: Disney

With the struggles Haunted Mansion is facing, one has to wonder, should Disney have released the movie at a different time?

Haunted Mansion is not the only spooky Disney film to flop during its summer release. In 1993, Disney released the Halloween movie Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The movie was an absolute failure. Audiences were just not interested in getting into the Halloween spirit in the middle of July. In the years since, Hocus Pocus has exploded in popularity and is one of Disney’s most popular Halloween movies of all time.

Hocus Pocus Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy

Credit: Disney

Should Disney have learned from Hocus Pocus?

Originally, Haunted Mansion was slated to be released in March 2023, but Disney decided to push it back and release it when kids were out of school. But, just like with Hocus Pocus, fans were not in the mood for a spooky movie in the middle of the summer. Why didn’t Disney wait and release the movie during the Halloween season?

Sure, Haunted Mansion is not specifically a Halloween movie. But what better time to release a movie about creepies and crawlies and toads in a pond? There are so many horror movies released during that time of year, that giving families a fun alternative could have been perfect. Plus, Disney had the data to show that spooky movies just don’t perform well for them in the summer.

Haunted Mansion Black leading man

Credit: Disney

In addition to its summer release, Haunted Mansion was one of the first movies to be released during the actors’ strike. So, none of the film’s actors attended the world premiere, held at Disneyland Resort. And, because of the strike, none of them could promote the film in the two weeks before its release. It was most likely too late to change the release date at that point, but we have to wonder if Disney even considered that option.

Haunted Mansion Poster

Credit: Disney

There was so much hope that this Haunted Mansion would perform better than the 2003 film starring Eddie Murphy. Sadly, the new live-action is sitting around where its predecessor is. But that’s not to say things couldn’t change. Halloween will be here before we know it, so the film could see a surge in popularity. It happened with Hocus Pocus and it could happen again.

Let’s just hope that Disney learns. Spooky movies do better during spooky season.

Hatbox Ghost haunted mansion movie

Credit: Disney

Haunted Mansion is still in theaters and stars Rosario Dawson as Gabbie. Danny DeVito stars as Professor Bruce Davis, Owen Wilson plays Father Kent, Tiffany Haddish plays Harriet the psychic, and LaKeith Stanfield plays Ben Matthias, the paranormal investigator. Jamie Lee Curtis and Jared Leto also star as Madame Leota and the Hatbox Ghost, respectively.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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