Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” Has Spooky Opening Weekend

Disney’s Haunted Mansion is now in theaters. It’s first weekend at the box office was a scary one for Disney as it faced off against the incredibly popular Barbie and Oppenheimer movies. Both of these films continued to dominate at the box office. Haunted Mansion brought in $24 million. This is a scary result for a movie that is estimated to have cost around $200 to make.

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Challenges

While Barbie and Oppenheimer are both juggernauts at the box office, they weren’t the only challenges that Haunted Mansion faced. It also is the first film to have its release hit by both the actors’ and writers’ strikes. The SAG/AFTRA strike began just before the world premiere of Haunted Mansion. This means that no actors were promoting the movie once the strike began. In practicality, this means no red carpet appearances, no television interiews, no late night appearances, no posting on social media, and no contributing to any articles in newspapers or online.

Originally it was planned that stars from the movie would be appearing at the red carpet world premiere. This included Tiffany Haddish, Jamie Lee Curtis, Owen Wilson, LaKeith Stanfield, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Jared Leto. This can build quite the social media buzz and help build momentum with fans to go see the movie.

“Not having the cast available definitely had an impact, especially with ‘Barbie’ and ‘Oppenheimer’ attracting so much attention — they’re just behemoths,” Tony Chambers, Disney’s executive vice president of theatrical distribution, said in a telephone interview with The New York Times on Sunday. Both Barbie and Oppenheimer were able to get their casts out in front of media and on social media to publicize the movies before the strike began.

Audience Response

Those who did go see Haunted Mansion in theaters enjoyed it. After the opening weekend, Rotten Tomatoes recorded that 85% of movie goers liked the film. Chambers continued that the film could still find its footing. There are few family films being released in the coming weeks. We’ve got a relatively clear runway for the next four weeks,” he shared. Overseas, Haunted Mansion brought in about $9 million in a limited release.

There is some prescedent for Chambers’ analysis of the box office run for this film based on a classic Disney attraction. Pixar’s Elemental has also been a slow burn at the box office for Disney. While it has not become a box office success necessarily, it has outperformed initial expectations.

Disney’s Haunted Mansion is about a mother (Rosario Dawson) and her son (Chase Dillon) who move into a mansion that turns out to be haunted. She then enlists the help of a priest (Owen Wilson), a tour guide (LaKeith Stanfield), a psychic (Tiffany Haddish), and a historian (Danny DeVito) to try and rid her new home of the supernatural pests. Of course it wouldn’t be the Haunted Mansion without Madame Leota (Jaimie Lee Curtis) and the Hat Box Ghost (Jared Leto).  Daps Magic’s review can be read here.


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