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BEETLEJUICE 2: Should They or Shouldn't They?

Beetlejuice

It’s official: Hollywood is either out of ideas or simply won’t take a chance on any new ones. Remakes, re-imaginings and way-too-late sequels seem to be all the rage for the studios to bring money to them. Don’t forget to add an unnecessary amount of 3-D. But now they have gone too far...

Rumor has it that Warner Bros. is planning on re-visiting one of the best cult classics, and our all-time favorite, Beetlejuice. The 1988 movie featured Michael Keaton (The Other Guys) as the ghost with the most, along side Winona Ryder (The Dilemma), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Geena Davis (Accidents Happen), and Catherine O’Hara (Killers).

Directed by the great Tim Burton, Beetlejuice is the tale of a homely couple who lose their lives in a car accident, only to find out that death is a lot harder than life when an obnoxious New York family moves into their home.  Searching desperately for ways to rid their house of the breathing intruders, the pair get lured into contacting an unorthodox “bio-exorcist” who reeks havoc on both the living and the dead. Though the short film only made $46 million at the box office, it became an instant cult classic and merchandising from the film is still in demand today.  It also once the Oscar for best make-up in 1989.

Warner Bros. has signed partners Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg for a two script deal to advance the original storyline of Beetlejuice. Grahame-Smith, who wrote Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Predjudice and Zombies, said: "We want to make big movies based on big ideas and inspired by the comedies we grew up loving." The two worked together on the MTV series The Hard Times of TJ Berger.

Though the film will not replace the original, only expand on it, we fear that the project could blemish the reputation it has earned over the last twenty-plus years. There is no word on who might direct or produce the movie, but we don’t think anyone can imitate or improve on the dark comedic touch of Burton or the soundtrack of Danny Elfman. There is no indication whether or not Keaton will return to one of his best roles ever as the entrapped spirit always scheming for ways to escape, but who else could play the part?  We don’t believe that replacing him with someone new would even remotely work with fans. As for the rest of cast, the storyline would have to be stellar to make them believable in this day and age.

The studios continue to dip into the movie pool of the past because it’s usually a safe bet on a profitable return. The “nice f*#^ing model honk honk” works, as it appeals to an entirely new, young audience and the older fans go out of sheer curiosity.  In most cases, we’re left disappointed and violated by a shallow feeling of dejávu, but the studio has already suckered us into making them their money back. Now, if by chance Tim Burton were to join the team by either producing or directing and they manage to get Keaton for a second run, the project might have a chance of remaining in good standing with true fans.

All we can do is wait and see what develops.  Maybe if we all say it together we will get the same kind of genius out of Beetlejuice 2 as the original:  Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!

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