Beetlejuice 2 has been stuck in development hell since the initial success of the first film twenty-two years ago. Not a record for development delays, but certainly somewhere near the top of the list.
The Original film busted blocks in the summer of 1988, and - then somewhat still green - director Tim Burton started conceptual work on the sequel early the next year.
In 1990, about the time the animated series was being produced, he even worked out a script with Jonathan Gems. The script sat for long enough, however that it needed a rewrite, and in 1996, Burton tried to find someone interested, and couldn’t get any takers. After that, Burton’s interest lapsed into other productions, and the project has been shelved ever since.
Warner Bros., who produced the first Beetlejuice film and most of the spin-off media, this week announced that they have signed a first-look deal with KatzSmith Productions in regards to the franchise. This doesn’t guarantee that Beetlejuice 2 is finally off the shelf, but it’s going to get a good dusting.
KatzSmith production is David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith. Grahame-Smith is the author of a pair of ‘classic’ zombie mash-up novels formulated to cash in on the current zombie craze, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The Duo has worked with Burton in the past, so bringing the famed pseudo-horror director back into the production is not out of the question.
The original actors are another matter entirely. Michael Keaton, who played the original Beetlejuice hasn’t done much acting for a while (other than some voice work for Pixar), and while Winona Ryder (whose character, Lydia, became much closer to Beetlejuice through the spin-off cartoon, becoming a sort of sidekick) might still be in her acting prime, but at nearly 40, she certainly can’t play a mopey teenager anymore.
Originally, the plan was for the Beetlejuice sequel to take the undead character to Hawaii - the only thing we know about the sequel script, but there is currently no word on whether that continuity will be retained in the KatzSmith script.
There is no schedule set yet for the production or release of Beetlejuice 2.