Beetlejuice 2 Originally Had A Worse Title That Paid Tribute To Horror History

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

On February 1, Warner Bros. Pictures released the first poster for Beetlejuice 2. Along with a release date of September 6, the image also confirmed the film’s title, Beetlejuice Beetlejuice – and the clever tagline “dare you to say it again.” However, the director of the original 1988 film and the upcoming sequel, Tim Burton, says the new movie almost went by several other names, including Beetlejuice 2024 A.D.

Inspired By A Christopher Lee Classic

“We talked about lots of different things,” Burton said while promoting Beetlejuice 2. “That was early on when we were going, Beetlejuice and the Haunted Mansion, Beetlejuice Goes West, whatever. Lots of things came up. It’s been what? Thirty-five years. So, it didn’t feel like Beetlejuice 2 to me. It didn’t feel like that kind of a movie.”

“The other one I thought of, because one of my favorite Dracula movies is Dracula A.D. 1972, was Beetlejuice 2024 A.D. But [Beetlejuice Beetlejuice] was a nice simple one,” Burton added. Dracula A.D. 1972 was just one of many occasions where Christopher Lee played Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire. The actor later collaborated with Burton on multiple projects during his later years.

A Film Decades In The Making

The pair worked together on Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Dark Shadows. Another concept that was considered for Beetlejuice 2 featured a story set in Hawaii. Development on the project, titled Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian, began in the 1990s and promised to capture Burton’s signature style.

An Expanded Cast

Beetlejuice 2 picks up decades after the dust has settled on the Deetz household. Michael Keaton, Catherine O’Hara, and Winona Ryder reprise their roles as Betelgeuse, Delia, and Lydia from the 1988 film. Jenna Ortega joins the cast as Astrid Deetz, Lydia’s daughter. Justin Theroux plays a man named Rory, and Willem Dafoe plays a ghost detective who was a B movie action star when he was alive.

Plot details for Beetlejuice 2 are still being kept under wraps. However, rumors suggest the story begins at a funeral, possibly for Lydia’s father, Charles Deetz. However, Burton neither confirmed nor denied speculation surrounding this somber event. “That’s all I will say,” he said when questions about the scene. “There’s something that happens that sets things in motion… We’ll see.”

The Original Shocked The World

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Viewers were first introduced to Beetlejuice in 1988. The film tells the story of Adam and Barbara Maitland, played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis. The couple, who are recently deceased, find themselves haunting their former home in the idyllic town of Winter River, Connecticut. When the Maitlands discover that their beloved home has been sold to the Deetz family, they attempt to scare them away.

Frustrated and desperate, they turn to Beetlejuice, a freelance “bio-exorcist” ghost, to help them rid the house of its unwanted inhabitants. With his wild hair, striped suit, and chaotic demeanor, Beetlejuice proves to be both a hilarious and unpredictable ally. However, chaos ensues as the Deetz family’s lives become increasingly entangled with the supernatural.

Generations Of Deetz

Beetlejuice received widespread praise for its originality, creativity, and darkly comedic tone. It was a commercial success, which Beetlejuice 2 will want to replicate. The film earned over $74 million domestically and has amassed a dedicated cult following over the years. Beyond its financial success, the film’s influence can be seen in countless movies and television shows that have embraced its offbeat charm.

Interestingly, Burton was hesitant to return for Beetlejuice 2 until he saw the script. It was the story involving three generations of Deetz women that ultimately won him over. The director identified with Lydia and was excited to explore the character so many years later. “Going from cool teenager to lame adult, back and forth again… that made it emotional, gave it a foundation,” he explained. “So that was the thing that really truly got me into it.”