Twenty-two years after getting just absolutely bodied the last time he tried to fuck around with a haunted house, Owen Wilson is giving spectral architecture another shot. THR reports that Wilson has signed on to star in Disney’s latest Haunted Mansion movie, which will presumably feature fewer opportunities for us to have to figure out how to put “the feeling of watching Owen Wilson get his bleach-blonde head artlessly chewed off by a stone lion” into words, alas.
Said film is just Disney’s latest effort to translate its various theme park rides—i.e., IPs it owns without any pesky writers around to lay claim to them—into marketable films, ala Jungle Cruise, and the ridiculously successful Pirates Of The Caribbean, probably the most successful film franchise ever launched from a ride where misshapen mannequins scream at you about grog. The film is set to star LaKeith Stanfield and Tiffany Haddish, because you can say a lot of things about Disney’s deeply cynical movie development process, but you can never accuse them of not throwing the biggest names they have at hand at a project until people agree to show up.
This is, of course, the second Haunted Mansion film, after the studio attempted this exact same trick with Eddie Murphy back in 2003, when we were all caught in the wild midst of Pirates fever. Said movie did fine enough, but certainly not “Haunted Mansion 4: Legend Of The Headless Ghost fine” or whatever. Still, everything old is new again, and, given that Wilson is currently very cozy with Disney—what with the wide critical success that greeted his turn as a weary time cop in Loki on Disney+—the logic, presumably, was that he might as well score some similar critical success for playing a…ghost? Ghostbuster? Creepy old guy who warns you not to go into the Haunted Mansion? We can see a lot of possibilities for this guy—provided he stays far away from Jan De Bont and any big-mouthed animal statues, at least.