Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in observance of the national holiday, Collider staffers were given the day off. I decided to spend this precious time with my girlfriend at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, followed by a trip to the Queen Mary. If you’ve never heard of the Queen Mary before, it’s a famous ocean liner that was launched in 1934 by the makers of the Titanic. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, I know. Well the Queen Mary didn’t hit any icebergs, but it had plenty of problems of its own — like ghosts. Yes, the Queen Mary is said to be haunted, and the ship offers a tour designed to prey on the public’s fears of the paranormal and the supernatural.
The project has been in the works for quite a while, but now it’s finally moving forward under the direction of Gary Shore, the filmmaker behind the Luke Evans movie Dracula Untold. Having been aboard the Queen Mary a couple of times, I can attest to the fact that it is capital-C Creepy. You don’t even need to hear the goofy stories from the tour guides to feel that chill in the air — the kind of chill that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. You just get the sense that some weird stuff has happened below deck.
That same sense of dread has been described by visitors to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, which served as the inspiration for last year’s Helen Mirren horror movie Winchester. I can see how the Queen Mary movie has something in common with that film, so it comes as no surprise to learn that it will be produced by Winchester producer Brett Tomberlin. Give Tomberlin credit for going the extra mile and securing the actual Queen Mary as a shooting location — one that two million people visit each year.
White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Nicholas Ferrall are producing with Tomberlin and Mali Elfman via Imagination Design Works, as well as Thorsten Schumacher and Lars Sylvest for Rocket Science, which is fully financing the film. Tobin Armbrust will executive produce with White Horse’s Cassidy Hartmann and IDW’s Mark Tomberlin, while Andy Trapani, Brian Gilbert and Steve Sheldon of Epic Entertainment Group will also serve as executive producers.
I could see the Queen Mary movie being a lot like Ghost Ship, which grossed $68 million worldwide on a production budget of $20 million. Despite a strong opening scene, that film wasn’t very good, so there’s certainly room for improvement on the open seas. Meanwhile, I thought Dracula Untold had flopped back in 2014 but it actually made $217 million worldwide, so I’m kind of surprised that Shore hasn’t been able to get a second feature off the ground yet. Either way, this feels like a good opportunity for him, and if he can lure in some decent actors the way Ghost Ship starred Gabriel Byrne and Julianna Margulies, then I could see Queen Mary making waves at the box office.