When Beetlejuice debuted in 1988, it didn’t take long for it to become a legitimate cultural sensation spawning a cartoon series, toys, video games, and almost immediate proposals for a sequel. Though much work was put into producing the dire-sounding Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, said sequel never materialized.
Despite the failure of Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian in the ’90s, stories and rumors of a sequel have persisted for years. Just two days ago, an unverified source claimed that original director Tim Burton (Frankenweenie) had expressed strong interest in helming a version of Beetlejuice 2 written by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Now, more reliable voices have confirmed that Burton is indeed moving forward with plans to direct the follow-up to his horror-comedy classic.
The Wrap has shared the news that Burton is in active talks to helm Beetlejuice 2. Currently finishing work on his upcoming historical drama/biopic Big Eyes, Burton has apparently begun speaking with the producers at the Geffen Company (who also backed the original film) about the job.
If Burton does indeed direct Beetlejuice 2 and Michael Keaton (Birdman) returns as the ghost with the most (it’s not a sure thing yet), it’ll mark the first time he has teamed up with the actor since Batman Returns in 1992. Over the years, nearly every principal actor from Beetlejuice has expressed interest to reprise their roles in a possible sequel. With Burton behind the camera, Beetlejuice 2 could be more of a legitimate reunion and continuation than fans dared hope.
Though it would have to work hard to be worse than the famously bad Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian script, one has to wonder exactly what scriptwriter Grahame-Smith has fashioned for this version of the sequel. The screenplay must have Burton’s confidence if he’s willing to direct it – but given the nature of the scripts for Burton’s most recent projects, this may not be a surefire sign of quality. After all, Grahame-Smith was responsible for the quite tepid screenplay for Dark Shadows.
Nonetheless, any solid news about Beetlejuice 2 is potentially good news. After a spate of underwhelming projects, Burton needs a hit. A return to one of the movies that put him on the map could be just the thing to revitalize a career some say is in sharp decline.
Kyle Hembree blogs at Screen Rant.