Can ‘Beetlejuice 2’ Work 27 Years Later?

The rumor mill has been churning about a possible "Beetlejuice" sequel, but now the rumors are being fed by the stars of the original. Could a sequel be on the way? And will it be a hit if it finally gets released?

Feb 16, 2014 at 8:20AM

In 1988, The Geffen Film Company (which was operated as a subsidiary of Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Warner Bros. studio) released Tim Burton's now-classic Beetlejuice. Earning over $73 million in domestic proceeds on a budget of $15 million, the film went on to be nominated for several awards -- and won a few, including an Academy Award for best make-up. Even now, the film has a number of fans who have been eagerly following rumors in the last few years that a sequel might finally be in the works.

Now, it seems like that possibility might be a bit closer to reality. Michael Keaton, who starred as the titular "ghost with the most," recently confirmed in an interview with MTV that he and Burton have been discussing the film. According to Keaton, "Now it looks like [Burton] is involved. And without giving too much away we've talked to each other, and emailed each other, and if he's in, it's going to be hard not to be in."

Scaring up a sequel
This isn't the first time that there's been talk of a Beetlejuice sequel. Tim Burton hired screenwriter Johnathan Gems (who would later write Burton's Mars Attacks!) to write a sequel script in 1990. The film, which would have been called Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, began with Burton mashing two largely incompatible genres together (because he didn't particularly want to make the film and thought that the combination would be funny.)

Burton went on to direct Batman Returns instead of Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, but the studio continued trying to develop the film for several years. At one point, director Kevin Smith was even approached to see if he would rewrite the film; he declined, asking "Didn't we say all we needed to say in the first Beetlejuice? Must we go tropical?"

Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian was eventually abandoned, due in part to rights issues, and the idea of a Beetlejuice sequel seemed forgotten for a few years. In 2011, however, it was announced that writer/producer duo David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith had signed a deal with Warner Bros. to begin work on a sequel. The pair have been adamant about letting fans know that they're not rebooting the sequel and were unwilling to proceed without Tim Burton and Michael Keaton; based on Keaton's recent comments, it seems as though those requirements might soon be met.

Could Beetlejuice work today?
Even though it's been 26 years since the original Beetlejuice was released, the film has stood the test of time pretty decently. Unlike some films from the late '80s and early '90s, the setting and the costuming don't root it squarely in that time period; instead, the movie has the same sort of ageless quality that's found in a number of Tim Burton's films. This works to the advantage of a potential sequel because the original film remains accessible to younger viewers who weren't able to see it when it first came out.

A sequel set 26-30 years after the events of the original has a lot of potential, provided that it doesn't try too hard to include the entire original cast. Winona Ryder stated last year that it looked like the project was happening and provided a few details about what the film might be like. Though she claimed to be "sworn to secrecy," she did mention that the new film took place 27 years after the original.

Given how much of the original movie revolved around Ryder's character, it would make sense that the sequel would follow her as well. Other characters such as the dearly departed Maitlands (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) are much less likely to return, as it might be a stretch to explain why ghosts have aged so much. (Keaton was in a heavy layer of makeup in the original, so that wouldn't be much of a problem for him.)

Will it be a hit?
Like it or not, it's looking increasingly likely that a sequel to Beetlejuice is on its way. Tim Burton is currently working on postproduction of his next film, Big Eyes, but doesn't have a film scheduled after that. While he may have an unannounced project in mind, it's also possible that the ongoing talks between the director and others involved in the project mean that work on the Beetlejuice sequel could begin as early as this year.

If or when the sequel gets made, it stands a good chance of being a hit for Warner Bros. as well. A mix of curiosity and nostalgia will help drive ticket sales, combined with the following that Burton has built in the decades since the original Beetlejuice was released.

Provided that the film doesn't get bogged down by a ballooned effects budget or a trip to Hawaii, the chances of a hit sequel far outweigh the possibility that the film will be dead on arrival.

The next step for you

Want to figure out how to profit on business analysis like this? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even give you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

John Casteele has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.


Compare Brokers