Last summer Disney’s “Maleficent” bewitched moviegoers with a revisionist take on the “Sleeping Beauty” tale and a star turn from Angelina Jolie, who gamely embodied the dark fairy in all her horned, high-cheekboned glory.
Now, a year after the film hauled in $758 million at the worldwide box office, Disney is developing a sequel with Linda Woolverton returning to write the script, The Times has confirmed. Deadline Hollywood first reported the news.
Given “Maleficent’s” commercial success, getting the ball rolling on a sequel is a no-brainer. But the big question is whether Jolie would come back. The script is being written with her return in mind, but no deal is in place yet.
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As an actress, Jolie has proved somewhat averse to sequels. In recent years she was involved in developing follow-ups to the action movies “Salt” and “Wanted,” but neither ever materialized.
While she has lent her voice to three “Kung Fu Panda” animated movies (the third of which is due in January), Jolie’s only live-action role reprisal was more than a decade ago, in 2003’s “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life,” a sequel to the 2001 movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.” And that didn’t work out so well.
Asked about the prospects of her doing a “Maleficent” sequel last year, Jolie told USA Today, “I don’t know. I enjoyed [‘Maleficent’]. I just feel like we did this one thoroughly and I don’t think there’d be another. 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.”
That was, however, before “Maleficent” became a hit.
Jolie has been choosy about her franchise acting roles as she develops her prestige-film directing career — including last year’s WWII tale “Unbroken” and her upcoming “By the Sea,” a romantic drama starring Jolie and husband Brad Pitt that will arrive in November. She also has the Richard Leakey biopic “Africa” in her crosshairs.
Disney, though, has made live-action fairy tales a priority. (Other projects include “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Mulan.”) “Maleficent” has particular appeal since it’s one of the few to be a recent screen hit.
Then again, it’s probably more dependent on its star than the others. If Jolie decided not to sign on, the studio could have some big horns to fill.
Times staff writer Meredith Woerner contributed to this report.
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