At the Walt Disney Pictures panel in Hall H at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, moderator Patton Oswalt introduced a very brief teaser for what is to be a Haunted Mansion reboot, which simply showed The Hatbox Ghost character from the famous Disney theme park ride with the voiceover from the ride.
After the teaser, Oswalt asked the crowd what director would be chosen for such a reimagining. To everyone’s surprise, that person is the one and only Guillermo del Toro, who make a surprise appearance at the panel.
Del Toro said that his reimagining of The Haunted Mansion will be live-action and in 3D, and will not be a comedy. He joked that he was not be answering any of Eddie Murphy’s calls, making it clear that his film won’t be like the one Murphy starred in in 2003 that failed to hit with audiences.
The director, who expressed that his love of the popular theme park ride began at age 3 when he first went to Disneyland the same year the ride opened there, said that his film will be scary but fun, though mostly scary, stressing that children who see the movie will be frightened.
He stated that the movie will reintroduce the mythology of the Mansion by centering around the character of the Hatbox Ghost, a character that appeared in the original Disneyland ride but was removed soon after his debut. Del Toro also said that the Mansion in his film will be the most haunted place on Earth.
Del Toro’s enthusiasm was contagious and the crowd seriously went wild when he was brought out and seemed to really be on board with this reboot. He joked that he planned to steal as many props from the film as possible.
[Update: Disney’s press release sent out after the panel says “Del Toro Set to Write and Produce Film for Disney” with no mention whether Del Toro would direct. Note – when Oswalt was about to reveal Del Toro, he asked the crowd “Which director do you think would do a reimagining of Haunted Mansion?” making it seem like the person was going to direct the film.]