t's time to see what Maleficent can do with her wings back.Surprise! Angelina Jolie to return for "Maleficent 2": https://t.co/CYq2OJwAO3— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) April 26, 2016
On Monday, Disney reported Angelina Jolie will return to the role in Maleficent 2, although a release date has not been set. Screenwriter Linda Woolverton, who penned the script the first Maleficent will be back to write the sequel.
The announcement was a surprise, given Jolie's hesitation in 2014. "I don't know," she told USA TODAY when questions of a sequel arose. "I enjoyed it. I just feel like we did this one thoroughly and I don't think there'd be another."
She added: "I feel like this is the one, if I was going to ever do a Disney one, this is the one I wanted to do. And I think we've done it well."
Jolie was recently abroad directing the Netflix movie, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, based on the memoir from Cambodian author and human rights activist Loung Ung about surviving the deadly Khmer Rouge regime.
She and husband Brad Pitt are currently in London with their six children while Pitt shoots the upcoming WWII drama, Allied. The first Maleficent film shot outside of London at Pinewood Studios.
The live-action business has been booming for Disney, with the Mouse House diving into its archives to successfully reboot classics like The Jungle Book, which has made a whopping $192 million at the box office in just the past two weekends, last year's Cinderella (the Cate Blanchett-led film earned $201 million) and the upcoming Beauty and the Beast (starring Emma Watson, due March 2017). The Johnny Depp-led sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass hits theaters May 27.
Disney also released information about several more upcoming live action films, including:
- Cruella with Emma Stone in the title role.
- Dumbo with director Tim Burton attached.
- A Mary Poppins sequel starring Emily Blunt and Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda.
- The Jungle Book 2 with director Jon Favreau returning.
- And a Tinker Bell project with Reese Witherspoon set to star.
.@Disney has updated their live action release schedule with a few surprises! https://t.co/JkqQE5Kb0a pic.twitter.com/Ec8xgFCRjv— ComingSoon.net (@comingsoonnet) April 25, 2016
Also, Angelina Jolie appears to be officially confirmed for "Maleficent 2"— Ben Fritz (@benfritz) April 25, 2016
The studio claims five more slots for its upcoming live-action fairy tales, which also include 'Cruella,' 'A Wrinkle in Time,' 'Jungle Cruise' and 'Dumbo,' among other titles.Disney has staked out a number of primetime release dates for its upcoming live-action fairy tales, even if the studio has yet to say which movie will open when. The crop of films includes The Jungle Book 2.
The bold move comes in the wake of the success of Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book — and the dismal debut of Universal's live-action fairy tale prequel, The Huntsman: Winter's War. Over the weekend, The Jungle Book crushed The Huntsman, grossing $61.5 million in its second weekend compared to $19.4 million for Universal's film. All told, The Jungle Book has already earned $533 million at the global box office, cementing Disney's prowess in spinning classic animated titles into live-action tentpoles.
The dates claimed by Disney are July 28, 2017 (instead of Dec. 22, 2017); April 6, 2018; Aug. 3, 2018; Dec. 25, 2018; and Dec. 20, 2019. That's in addition to two dates the studio has already claimed for untitled live-action fairy tales — Nov. 2, 2018, and Nov. 8, 2019 — meaning there will be four such films in 2018 alone.
Studio insiders say one of the release dates announced Monday will go to The Jungle Book 2, which is already in the works, even as Warner Bros. preps its own Jungle Book for Oct. 19, 2018. Disney won't comment, but it's possible Favreau's sequel could be ready in time for the August or November 2018 slot, putting it in the direct path of the rival Jungle Book, directed by Andy Serkis.
Other Disney titles that will fill the slots include Cruella, starring Emma Stone; A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay; Jungle Cruise, starring Dwayne Johnson; director Tim Burton's Dumbo; a Mary Poppins sequel from helmer Rob Marshall that is set to star Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda; Maleficent 2 with Angelina Jolie; and a Tinker Bell film starring Reese Witherspoon. Director Lasse Hallstrom's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is another priority.
The Jungle Book, Jungle Cruise and Mary Poppins aren't fairy tales, but fall in the same realm as the other films in terms of Disney's ambitious blueprint to reimagine classic stories.
Hot off the blockbuster success of “The Jungle Book,” Disney has been staking out several years worth of live action fairy tales.
In grabbing the release dates, Disney gave a peak at its development pipeline. The studio confirmed that it is planning to make “Cruella,” an “101 Dalmatians” spin-off with Emma Stone, as well as sequels to “Jungle Book” and “Maleficent.” Angelina Jolie is set to return for “Maleficent” with Linda Woolverton, the screenwriter on the first film, handling script duties. “Jungle Book” director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Marks are returning for another trip into the wild.
The company also confirmed that it is moving forward with Jennifer Lee’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” with Ava Duvernay directing; “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” with director Lasse Hallstrom (“My Life as a Dog”) and writer Ashleigh Powell attached; a Tinker Bell project with Reese Witherspoon set to star and Victoria Strouse (“Finding Dory”) writing; “Jungle Cruise” with Dwayne Johnson set to star and John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (“Focus”) writing; and “Dumbo” with director Tim Burton and writer Ehren Kruger (“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”) overseeing the elephant tale.
In addition, Disney said it is planning a sequel to “Mary Poppins” with Emily Blunt and “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel-Miranda starring and Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) directing. Given that these films are still in various stages of planning, it is possible that certain projects could fall out. It shows, however, the enormous confidence Disney has in its ability to make live action fantasies. Not only has “The Jungle Book” been a critical and commercial success, but the studio has also reaped big profits with “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Maleficent.”
The studio has staked out release dates, but did not say which product would be reserved for which slot. It plans to release an untitled Disney live action fairy tale on July 28, 2017 (as opposed to on previously scheduled Dec. 22, 2017), on April 6, 2018, and on Dec. 20, 2019. The company will also release live action movies on Aug. 3, 2018 and on Dec. 25, 2018. That puts their releases in competition with several major films, among them “Jumanji,” Sony’s animated “Spider-Man” film, and an untitled animated film from “ParaNorman” creators Laika.
The “Jungle Book” and “Mary Poppins” sequels are farther along in their development process and will likely be among the films snagging those dates. This kind of flag planting is becoming increasingly common place. As studios plunge deeper into the tentpole business, they want to establish themselves in prime release dates years in advance.
See below for dates:
UNTITLED DISNEY FAIRY TALE (Live Action) previously dated on 12/22/17 moves up to 7/28/17
UNTITLED DISNEY FAIRY TALE (Live Action) now dated on 4/6/18
UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION now dated on 8/3/18
UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION now dated on 12/25/18
UNTITLED DISNEY FAIRY TALE (Live Action) now dated on 12/20/19