In 1988, an undead character appeared in cinemas and captured the imagination of moviegoers. This figure was Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), the titular main character of by Tim Burton beetle juice. A precursor to later Burton and Keaton collaborations for the first two Batman movies, beetle juice reaffirmed Burton’s interest in grotesque crackpots and bizarre sequences of dark humor. Turns out he wasn’t the only one interested in these things since beetle juice turned into a huge box office success for Warner Bros. In fact, it was so profitable that Warner Bros. has consistently pursued a sequel since the release of the original film. These efforts never produced a follow-up, but that didn’t stop the studio from trying.
The origins of a Beetlejuice sequel
The story of the beetle juice The sequel begins in 1990 when a script was commissioned by Burton for a sequel to this film titled Beetlejuice goes Hawaiian. This striking title, which certainly sounds like a parody nickname for a potential beetle juice followed, was there from the start. Jonathan Gems was commissioned to come up with a sequel to this project, with Gems telling Fangoria Magazine in 1997 that the concept was based on Burton’s amusement at mixing the macabre vibe of Beetlejuice with a classic beach flick. Of course, this dissonance only made the concept more tempting for the director. Gems has set about writing a new script that could live up to the legacy of the beloved original.
Amazingly, the project made progress from here and even got Keaton and co-star to participate. winona ryder. However, Burton’s busy schedule was a big obstacle to starting this project. The director was incredibly in demand at the time and was in full production on another Warner Bros. sequel, Return of Batman. Beetlejuice’s return would have to wait another day.
But much like Keaton’s mischievous entity, this Beetlejuice sequel refused to die. In 1996, Burton contacted Kevin Smith to approach the project. The filmmaker behind Clerks made it clear in comments he made during various speaking engagements that he was not impressed with the prospect of making a beetle juice sequel, not to mention the one whose entire existence hinged on moving the action to Hawaii. Once again, busy schedules ensured that this iteration of the sequel would never move forward, as Burton and Smith quickly turned their attention to superman lives for Warner Bros.
At this point, a recurring key issue for a prospect beetle juice following in the 1990s became apparent. The idea of exploiting the beetle juice The brand name was clearly appealing to Warner Bros. brass, and Burton had an equally apparent passion for revisiting that universe. However, it was still being usurped by other projects that had more marketing potential for Warner Bros. or to which Burton was more creatively committed. A potential beetle juice the sequel was stuck in a state of uncertainty, where it was always important enough to find a new screenwriter to pen a new draft, but never important enough to get the green light.
The sequel to Beetlejuice Who Died… and Lived Again!
In the late 1990s, Gems, in this Fangoria interview, confirmed that the project was finally dead. The original concept, which would have followed soon after the events of beetle juice, was no longer possible given that Ryder had already aged an entire decade since the original film. Also, while not mentioned in the 1997 interview, it’s important to remember that the revelation happened when Burton’s relationship with Warner Bros. has deteriorated. Martian attacks! had turned into a box office disappointment for the studio in the final weeks of 1996, while superman lives had trouble taking off. Unsurprisingly, later Tim Burton films like sleepy hollow Where Big fish would be made at studios outside of Warner Bros., the home of beetle juice.
Time is up. The world was fine without beetle juice after. But in 2011, something moved on the Warner Bros. turf. That was it beetle juice followed given a new breath on life. Seth Grahame Smithwho wrote the screenplay for the 2012 Tim Burton film dark shadowswas now writing a whole new screenplay for a beetle juice after. Once again, the box office performances of recent Burton films have undoubtedly had an impact on the state of beetle juice 2, although this time the impact was positive. A year earlier, Burton’s Alice in Wonderland turned into a huge worldwide success of more than 1 billion dollars. For starters, 1980s nostalgia was beginning to take hold of pop culture. Suddenly, the prospect of doing a follow-up to a beloved 1980s Tim Burton film sounded very appealing to Warner Bros. executives.
The following year, Grahame-Smith confirmed he had spoken with Keaton at length about the character of Beetlejuice, with the actor apparently incredibly enthusiastic about reprising the role. This screenwriter also confirmed that this follow-up will take place decades after the original film while acknowledging all the comedic possibilities of having ageless Beetlejuice interact with an ever-changing world.
From there, the prospective beetle juice the sequel took small but noticeable steps toward existence. It will however be necessary to wait until January 2015 for Grahame-Smith to confirm that Beetle Juice 2 would start shooting soon. Hope was now for one beetle juice the sequel will be Tim Burton’s very next film after the filmmaker completes his obligations to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The timing here was perfect as Keaton was embarking on his renaissance after headlining birdman. What better way to celebrate his return to the A-list than by getting a beetle juice the sequel finally launched?
Of course, even with Ryder confirming in August 2015 that she would be back for this follow-up, the beetle juice sequel didn’t start filming right after Peregrinealthough the actress also entered a period of revival in July 2016 with the debut of stranger things. Again, this follow-up was stuck in development hell. The problem here seems to be juggling the hectic schedules of Keaton and Ryder, who were very busy in their career resurgences (those seasons of stranger things aren’t shot over a handful of weekends!) There was no way the audience would show up for another beetle juice if Burton, Keaton and Ryder weren’t all back. Keeping this in mind, the beetle juice the sequel gathered dust waiting for the stars to align and the trio to be available.
The slow demise of Beetlejuice 2
In May 2016, Burton revealed that he was still looking forward to getting the film off the ground, but was waiting for a story to come along that required a sequel to happen. Externally, Burton’s career trajectory also likely played a role in the studio’s enthusiasm for a Beetlejuice sequel. dark shadows and Big eyes had both box office smash and put Burton in a box office slump. He was far from toxic to the public (as seen leading a Dumbo remake for Disney in the years that followed), but he was also no longer an infallible hit-maker. Warner Bros. may not have bitten at this point to get Beetle Juice 2 rolling.
When Burton was promoting Dumbo (which again paired the filmmaker with Keaton) in March 2019, the filmmaker was extremely gloomy about the prospect of Beetle Juice 2. His only comments on the film at the time were quick comments doubting it would happen a day before urging reporters to move on to other questions. Beetle Juice 2 had been stuck in limbo before, but after nearly a decade of trying to get the project off the ground, it looked like it was officially dead.
But this rogue Beetlejuice is never completely put down, as evidenced by how, three years after Burton’s pessimistic comments, Plan B, a production company co-founded by brad pittjumped on it to help fund Beetle Juice 2. Although it sounded like an extremely promising prospect on paper, at the time it was noted that there was no creative talent attached to this iteration of the project, not even a screenwriter. In the nearly 12 months since that news, there have been no further developments on Beetle Juice 2 except for Burton saying in an October 2022 interview that he had been coughing up ideas for a follow-up. Still, Burton still seemed unconvinced that he would be much involved in the film, if that happened.
Beetle Juice 2 had a strange existence to say the least. Create a sequel to a hit movie like beetle juice sounds like something Hollywood studio executives might do in their sleep. Unfortunately, trying to do something that appeases all the major creative parties so deeply involved in this franchise, not to mention the constantly fluctuating viability of Tim Burton films at the box office, has helped keep it on the sidelines. Maybe one day the public will see a beetle juice followed in theaters, but as consistently failed versions of the project prove, it would be wise not to hold your breath for such a project to suddenly come to life.