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Guillermo Del Toro Left “The Hobbit” for This? Film Blog Water Cooler 7/22/10

Guillermo Del Toro Left "The Hobbit" for This? Film Blog Water Cooler 7/22/10

The first day of Comic-Con 2010 is not yet over, but already we’ve heard the most shocking fanboy news of the whole event: Guillermo del Toro will remake/reboot “The Haunted Mansion.” In 3D, of course. You may slightly recall the 2003 attempt at adapting the Disneyland attraction, which somehow was expected to capitalize on the success of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Well, I guess this isn’t as WTF as if Disney had hired Werner Herzog for a “Country Bears” redo, though the Tweets and bloggery out of San Diego today are treating this, justifiably, as a truly bizarre turn of events. After all, until a couple months ago Del Toro was set to helm the two installments of “The Hobbit.” For this to be his consolation prize is hard to take, no matter how big a fan of the ride he is and no matter how much darker he says his version will be.

I at least love the way Disney reportedly presented the information, by having panel host Patton Oswalt first ask the audience what they’d like to see remade (“and don’t say ‘Newsies.'” — aww), then playing a trailer for the old “Haunted Mansion” and then hitting the crowd with the mind-blowing part. I disagree with Del Toro’s joke about ignoring Eddie Murphy’s phone calls. I understand the logistical reasoning behind not bringing him back, but I’d honestly rather a great filmmaker revive Murphy’s career than one of his least successful properties. Just to clarify, though, it is apparently not clear that Del Toro will direct “The Haunted Mansion” — for now he’s at least on board to co-write and produce.

For those of you not at the Con and who don’t like following its fun, expo side of Hollywood, Nikki Finke has a press release.

Cole Abaius at Film School Rejects:

The surprises are what to look forward to at Comic-Con, and Disney didn’t disappoint.

Kristopher Tapley at In Contention:

With the “Pan’s Labyrinth” director’s recent departure from “The Hobbit,” many have been wondering what his next project would be. And truly, this sounds like it could be something special from a unique and twisted mind. Given the reaction form the crowd (who created the director to loud shouts of “Guillermo!”), there shouldn’t be much trouble building excitement around this project. […] Obviously, for fans of Del Toro’s viscerally specific cinematic creations, this is a dream come true. And even though it’s a remake and a Disney property, one gets the feeling he will have carte blanche with the material.

Alex Billington at First Showing:

This looks like it is the project that, sadly, del Toro had to leave The Hobbit to take on. However, I trust del Toro and if he says he’s going to deliver a scary, modern Haunted Mansion movie that could become a new classic for generations to enjoy, than I think he can certainly do that. My concern is NOT that he left Hobbit for this, I care more about knowing who his replacement is.

Germain Lussier at Collider:

It wasn’t a bunch of information but Patton Oswalt put it best. Who better than the guy who directed Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone to have full reign over a haunted mansion?

Alison Nastasi at Cinematical:

The director behind such films as The Devil’s Backbone and the Hellboy franchise seems like a good fit for this project — particulary if Disney is looking to go in a spookier direction this time around.

Katey Rich at Cinema Blend:

What’s brilliant about this is that, especially with the earlier bit with Jack Sparrow, everyone was expecting Tim Burton to be brought out as the Haunted Mansion director. Picking del Toro instead didn’t just defy the Hall H expectations, but also gives the movie a fair chance of being worth watching. Del Toro knows from the scary and the fantastical, and if he promises that this movie will actually be scary, I’m inclined to believe him.

Brendan Walsh at Screen Crave:

Yeah! Remember how scary the Haunted Mansion was when you were a little kid? And you cried, and you had to be taken out of that room because the ghosts were going to eat you? Okay, maybe that was just me, but if there’s anyone who’s gonna make this movie scary and fun, it’s this guy!

Kevin Jagernauth at The Playlist:

Even though we think it’s a bit of a waste of del Toro’s talents to be either producing or directing (both) a movie based on a theme park ride, he is apparently a huge fan of the ride with “a room dedicated to “Mansion” in his home — filled with secret bookcases, wallpaper from the original ride, and original art from Imagineer and “Mansion” ride co-designer Marc Davis.” Geez.

MrDisgusting at Bloody Disgusting:

I never expected a story to rival that of Brad Pitt starring in World War Z, yet it has happened relatively quick. Announced as the San Diego Comic-Con, Guillermo del Toro will be directing a brand new version of The Haunted Mansion, based on the ever-so-popular Disneyland/Disneyworld ride […] After 9/11, Disney began making feature films of their rides in an attempt to get movie fans to return to the theme parks. It took off with the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, but Disney has yet to get another franchise off the ground. Why not have it be Haunted Mansion? F.U.C.K. YES.

Dustin Rowles at Pajiba:

Guillermo Del Toro, who has had the fanboys wrapped around his finger since The Devil’s Backbone and was set to direct The Hobbit up until a few weeks ago, has decided: “Fuck the fanboys; I’m taking the cash.” […] What a sham and a half. This is what del Toro has been teasing would be the big announcement at Comic-con this year?

Lane Brown at Vulture:

Sounds like kind of a downgrade from The Hobbit, but we’re cautiously optimistic.

Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere:

Del Toro Cash-In […] The story, he said, will be built around the Hatbox Ghost. Jesus God!

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