Awkwardness was in the air at Disneyland this weekend, where the studio forged ahead with their "Haunted Mansion" premiere amid the SAG strike ... without any of the cast in sight.
The premiere went down Saturday at the Anaheim park -- in front of the actual Haunted Mansion ride, no less. Like we said, none of the major stars who act in the film showed up -- obviously, they're showing solidarity with their union, which went on strike last week.
In their place, a bunch of randos walked the carpet instead ... including a handful of Disney cast members who were dressed up as 'HM' ghosts and even just regular Disney characters. There were also some influencers there -- Holly Madison and other Playboy-adjacent people -- plus some Disney Imagineers and composers/BTS folks tied to the movie as well.
He did some interviews with press, and said he was feeling "ambivalent" over the fact his cast couldn't speak for themselves ... while also expressing support for their cause.
Simien also addressed Disney chief Bob Iger's recent comments about the ongoing strikes -- where he said the union's demands weren't "realistic," while lamenting the fact they were hurting showbiz at large -- and JS walked the line ... saying he'd be happy to talk to BI to see where the gap is between what he wants and what actors at large are asking for.
It's a little unclear why Simien attended the "Haunted Mansion" premiere. We know he's part of the DGA, which recently struck its own deal with studio heads, and presumably ... he's obligated to go to this sort of stuff, despite the fact he says he's standing with the actors. Christopher Nolan did something similar at the UK "Oppenheimer" premiere last week.
In any case, he did his best to appease both sides, it seems. Dude's sorta stuck between a rock and a hard place right now ... as are a ton of other directors caught in this conflict.
Considering how empty this event felt -- ya gotta wonder if other studios will scrap their own premieres in the coming months. A lot of summer blockbusters already did their press, but there's still several big-budget flicks slated to be released through the rest of the year.
Hollywood seems primed to become a ghost town ... starting with "Haunted Mansion." 😬