One of the best family-friendly horror-comedies ever made was released on this day in 1988. We’re talking about Beetlejuice! Extremely well-received, the film remains one of Tim Burton’s best. And while a sequel remains elusive, the film inspired a wildly successful Broadway musical.
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If it’s been a while, revisit the trailer and synopsis for Beetlejuice below.
After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.
According to Michael Keaton, the Beetlejuice character was described to him by director Tim Burton as “having lived in every time period but no time period.” Keaton used this as the jumping-off point to create the character with such features as a shock hairdo, mold make-up, and large teeth. He said that when he first showed up to the set as Beetlejuice, the crew was chanting: “Juice, Juice, Juice!” This got Keaton excited for his role. Keaton has also stated that this is his favorite film of his own. (Source)
The movie’s box-office success created plans for a sequel: Beetlejuice Goes Hawaiian. A script was commissioned, and Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder both signed on to reprise their respective roles. Tim Burton lost interest in the project, and went on to direct Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) instead. As late as 2015, Warner Brothers was still trying to get the original sequel concept into production. (Source)