Disney, Live Action, The Latest Animation News

‘Maleficent 2’ Sets 2018 Start

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Well, well… Disney has officially given the green light to a sequel to Maleficent, the live-action reimagining of Sleeping Beauty that opened to mixed reviews but was a hit at the box office in May 2014, grossing more than $750 million worldwide on a $180 million budget. The sequel has been in development at Disney for several years now, and from what we know, Angelina Jolie’s blessing has been the deciding factor in the film moving forward.

The Maleficent 2 script was initially written by Linda Woolverton, who also wrote Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland. It’s now being rewritten, however, by Jez Butterworth, whose work includes Spectre and Black Mass. It’s possible that Disney ordered a rewrite because the studio wasn’t too confident in Woolverton after her most recent film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, crashed and burned last year. It isn’t clear how much of Woolverton’s draft will be retained, but personally, I can’t blame Disney for having someone else take a stab at writing Maleficent 2 before it goes in front of the camera.

According to Deadline, Maleficent 2 will begin shooting early next year, which would make it a likely candidate for release in 2020 or 2021, which would be six or seven years after the first film was released. (Disney currently has April 3, 2020 and March 12, 2021 staked out for untitled live-action films, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it fall onto one of those dates.) The studio hopes that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales co-director Joachim Rønning will set sail for the House of Mouse once again and deliver a sequel to another one of its key live-action properties. Pirates 5 wasn’t exactly a hit with critics, but it did bring in nearly $800 million worldwide, so you could say that Rønning a somewhat safe choice to helm Maleficent 2.

Personally, I’m not sure how to feel about Maleficent 2. While I thoroughly enjoyed Maleficent and Alice in Wonderland, I was massively disappointed with Alice Through the Looking Glass, so much so that I don’t think I could stand to watch the first Alice film ever again. It’s encouraging to know that Linda Woolverton’s script is being rewritten (or, at the very least, being fixed up) by a writer with a solid track record, but I sincerely hope that I won’t come out of seeing Maleficent 2 as disappointed as I was after watching Alice Through the Looking Glass (and The Huntsman: Winter’s War, which shares a producer with Alice and Maleficent in Joe Roth, who is also overseeing Maleficent 2 for Disney).

I’m looking forward to seeing what a sequel to Maleficent has to offer, but I’ll be approaching this one with a good deal of caution, at least until I see a trailer — although visions are seldom all they seem.

Are you interested in seeing another Maleficent film? Were you as disappointed in Alice Through the Looking Glass as I was? Do you wish Disney had kept this one under a sleeping curse, or are you glad to hear it’s moving forward? Let us know in the comments!

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About Angelo Thomas

Angelo Thomas is a writer, director, and pop culture enthusiast. In addition to writing for Rotoscopers, he writes for The Royal Blog of Oz and guest hosts The Royal Podcast of Oz. Angelo was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He is currently studying Film & Video in Columbus, Ohio at the Columbus College of Art & Design, where he has also worked as an assistant in Marketing & Communications. His favorite film of all time is The Wizard of Oz, which has influenced much of his personal and professional work. In terms of his love for animation, Tangled and Frozen aren't just great animated films in his opinion — they're some of the best films ever made. Angelo is always prepared to give and defend his opinions when it comes to film and animation, which he often does on social media. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr @imangelothomas.
  • Manuel Orozco

    I did like the original Maleficent despite the big plot twists. So I’m going to be cautious too! Meanwhile Alice Through the Looking Glass was visually colorful as the first Alice movie.

  • Dante Panora

    I just watched Alice: Through the looking glass and I was surprised at how much it felt like like a big-budget live-action direct-to-dvd disney movie. If that’s the direction they head for with these sequels I hope the disney nostalgia embedded in so many of us doesn’t have that strong of a grip to go see that.

  • Jeremiah


    • Manuel Orozco

      I’m actually in the mixed about but I will see it as long as it’s worth the wait

  • Yellow

    I couldn’t stand to finish the first Maleficent, so I’m not anticipating the sequel. I am a little curious to know what the story will be though.

  • Marcel

    Enjoyed the first movie. Angelina Jolie is still an great actress and she is smart. I think that will ensure that the next movie will be great again. So looking forward to the sequel.

    • Manuel Orozco

      Truthfully, I did enjoy the movie like I said but I wasn’t in favor of the plot twist of King Stefan being the antagonist.

  • Chelsea Warner

    Yikes. The first one was bad enough.

  • The first one was OK and even though it was a little better than I was anticipating, I don’t think it was so amazing that it warranted a sequel. However, I doubt these decisions are based on whether or not there’s a good story to tell, but how well the previous film did at the box office. Unfortunately it looks like that’s the current direction of the studio right now – everything is Sequels, Remakes, and Extended Universes. When original movies like Tomorrowland fail, it only gives the studios more reason to continue down this path – it’s safe and generates huge profits. Until box office numbers start falling off, we’ll continue to see more and more of these remakes and sequels.

    • Angelo Thomas

      You’re right. I get a little frustrated, though, when people cite Tomorrowland as an example of an original movie that failed because I do think it would have been more successful if it were a better film. There are some great ideas in there, but it’s definitely flawed and was difficult to market.

      • Completely agree. Watching it for the first time, it’s obvious that there’s a much better movie in there somewhere, but it was never able to fully shine through. It was also unclear what the movie was until you were actually in the theater watching it. The main thing that drew me to the film was the idea of a movie based on Tomorrowland, and basically Brad Bird’s name. I doubt the general public would come out just because of Brad Bird’s name, and since the marketing was so unclear, it was a hard sell to most people.

        • Manuel Orozco

          I mostly watched it for Brad Bird since he directed two of my Pixar favorites

        • Amber Dvorak

          I went to see Tomorrowland because of my faith in Brad Bird as well. The movie actually turned out to be a lot better than the trailers, which alone probably would not have drawn me in. I really enjoyed Tomorrowland, but I can see how its mediocre marketing helped do it in.

          • Manuel Orozco

            I didn’t feel any manipulation by the marketing

      • Manuel Orozco

        Would have been better if Tomorrowland was given more screentime

  • Rachel Wagner

    Proof terrible movies sometimes get sequels. I would rather watch Emoji Movie than Maleficent especially what they did the the faeries.
    Even aside from that where’s the story? Aurora and Maleficent as the heroes ruling the kingdom in peace is hardly captivating. Booooo!

  • With the caveat that, as a Sleeping Beauty adaptation, I think they completely failed, I actually enjoyed Maleficent as something completely on it’s own. Yes, I know that most fans of the original won’t be able to get past the MASSIVE changes they made to the story, and I totally understand why, but aside from the fact that she is Maleficent in name only, I actually liked Angelina Jolie’s character. I’m a sucker for a villain redemption story, and I actually liked the movie. So for now, I will be tentatively looking forward to the sequel.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I’m not usually a sucker like you for villain redemption stories but I have your back on this.

  • I have such low expectations….I mean ugggghhhhh I just can’t finish this comment I am just so feeling low about this….

  • Amber Dvorak

    A bit off subject, but I thought The Huntsman: Winter’s War was actually loads better than the first film, Snow White and The Huntsman. It’s definitely flawed, but I found it enjoyable to watch (and visually gorgeous), whereas the first one nearly put me to sleep at parts. Granted, I wouldn’t call it a good enough movie to warrant more of the same.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I didn’t watch Winter’s War because things just wouldn’t feel the same without Kristin Stewart. Mirror Mirror turned out much better in terms of a Snow White retelling.

      • Amber Dvorak

        Fair enough. 🙂 I wasn’t a huge fan of Kristin in the first movie, so the second one worked better for me. I don’t consider Winter’s War a “Snow White” story anyway.

        • Manuel Orozco

          Thanks for understanding