'Descendants 2': What drew audiences to the first film?

'Descendants' centers on the children of famous Disney villains and the first film became a ratings hit for the Disney Channel. Now a sequel is reportedly in the works.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/File
'Descendants' stars Kristin Chenoweth.

A sequel to the hit Disney Channel movie “Descendants” is reportedly moving forward.

“Descendants” debuted this past summer and centers on four teenagers: Carlos, who is the son of “101 Dalmations” villainess Cruella de Vil; Evie, who is the daughter of the queen from “Snow White”; Jay, who is the son of “Aladdin” villain Jafar; and Mal, who is the daughter of the “Sleeping Beauty” character Maleficent.

In this story, Disney villains live in a place called the Isle of the Lost, but the son of the Beast and Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” allows four teenagers from the Isle of the Lost to attend school in Auradon, where other fairy tale characters live. Carlos, Evie, Jay, and Mal go to attend Auradon Prep. 

The film co-stars Broadway actress Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent and Kathy Najimy of “Veep” as Evie’s mother. 

The musical, directed by Kenny Ortega of “High School Musical” and "Newsies," got great ratings for the Disney Channel and became the fifth-highest-rated cable film of all time.

The movie “Descendants” echoes a strategy Disney is embracing across its properties: Fans like to watch their favorite characters team up.

The highest-grossing Marvel movies domestically are still 2012’s “The Avengers” and this summer’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” films that center on superheroes like Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor working together. 

Disney also scored a hit in 2014 with the musical “Into the Woods,” which brings fairy tale characters like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack of “Jack and the Beanstalk” together for one big story.

This model has proven popular with other companies as well. Netflix is steadily debuting new Marvel shows like “Daredevil,” which came out earlier this year, and “Jessica Jones,” which comes out next month. More are on the way and will reportedly lead to a miniseries titled “The Defenders” that will have the characters of the series working together. 

2014’s “The Lego Movie,” which became a box office hit, was based on Lego characters from various franchises, including “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter,” coming together to bring down a villain. 

Meanwhile, a release date for a “Descendants” sequel has not yet been announced.

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