Haunted Mansion Director Justin Simien Teases Sequel Ideas (Exclusive)

Haunted Mansion is now playing in theaters, and it’s the latest film to be based on a Disneyland ride. The success of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl back in 2003 launched an entire franchise, and it’s clear Disney has been chasing that success with other ride-based films like Jungle Cruise. Currently, Haunted Mansion is not off to a great start at the box office, but there’s always a chance the movie might find its audience when it hits Disney+. Recently, ComicBook.com had the opportunity to talk with Haunted Mansion director Justin Simien in New Orleans, and we asked if he has any sequel ideas brewing.

“Absolutely,” Simien replied when asked if there are more Haunted Mansion stories to be told. “My favorite thing about being a director is building the world around the story so that you feel like, ‘Okay, after the story ends and before the story begins, there’s still a world there.’ That’s my favorite part. And so there’s a lot of things that we set up in the movie and a lot of places that we just point to as being over there, but we don’t necessarily go all the way in that particular room or go all the way into that particular mansion. So I think that there is plenty, plenty more story left, plenty more mysteries to discover in the mansion itself. And shockingly, even more Easter eggs, if you can believe it.”

Is Haunted Mansion Too Scary For Kids?

During our chat with Simien, he revealed Disney was concerned some moments in the upcoming film would be too scary. However, kids in the test audience felt differently.

“There were some things that the studio thought would be too scary,” Simien revealed. “And then we started to screen the movie and the first folks in, we’d be like, ‘Is the movie too scary?’ Kids would raise their hands like, ‘No, I can handle it. We want more.’ And so eventually there were things that I truly didn’t think were, especially involving the Hat Box Ghost, and especially with some of the jump scares, that I wasn’t sure if it was really going to make it through, but it did because the kids wanted more of it. And I kept saying my first Disney movies, those are still the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. So I talk about Pinocchio becoming a donkey, Snow White getting lost in the forest, these things are terrifying. Like Simba losing Mufasa, these are scary moments.”

“And kids can handle it. And if you just respect them enough to handle the story, they can do it. And we just leaned into that,” he added. “Life is scary.”

What Is Haunted Mansion About?

In Haunted Mansion, a doctor (Rosario Dawson) and her 9-year-old son (Chase Dillon), looking to start a new life, move into a strangely affordable mansion in New Orleans, only to discover that the place is much more than they bargained for. Desperate for help, they contact a priest (Owen Wilson), who, in turn, enlists the aid of a widowed scientist-turned-failed-paranormal expert (LaKeith Stanfield), a French Quarter psychic (Tiffany Haddish), and a crotchety historian (Danny DeVito).

The film is based on Disney’s classic theme park attraction and is directed by Justin Simien (Bad Hair, Dear White People) and produced by Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich (Aladdin). Nick Reynolds (Easter Sunday) and Tom Peitzman (The Lion King) are the executive producers.

Haunted Mansion is now playing in theaters.