Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger made statements implying that the Walt Disney Studios would cull its media repertoire, pull back on Marvel sequels, and even halt some Lucasfilm spinoffs… but will this business decision now impact its live-action and sequel franchises like Aladdin 2?
In the earliest Disney days, animators moved from one story to the next, without thinking of revisiting some of their greatest successes. Indeed, it wouldn’t be until the DisneyToon days of the post-Renaissance era that Disney attempted to capitlizise on prior hits through often times lower budget, straight to VHS sequels, prequels, and spin-off series.
Since then, a massive demand has developed for new content that expands upon pre-existing, and often nostalgic franchises. From the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+, to Star Wars Story films, and even a resurgence of more and more additions to Frozen, Toy Story, and TRON.
Moreover, following the positive response to Maleficent (2014), the company began experimenting with reimagining some of their classic storylines in fresh or unique ways, often with a massive budget to accommodate for the transition from handdrawn animation to the live-action screen. For example, Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin (2019) starring Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Nasim Pedrad, and Mena Massoud performed so well from the company’s perspective that it ordered both a spin-off streaming service series and a second film for 2025.
Plus, the film’s director even voiced great enthusiasm to return to the whole new world of Agrabah, alongside writers John Gatins and Andrea Berloff. Of course, as the first live action brought in $1.5 billion during its theatrical run despite mixed audience reviews, some sort of continuation to ride on that popularity seemed inevitable.
However, the rise of streaming platforms like Disney+ over the Covid-19 lockdown has led to a rocky cliate for the serial television and theatrical release industries, with pressure to constantly produce more and more content leading to both producer and audience burnout. In fact, the head Disney executive himself questioned the need for every character to have a spin-off, or a sequel, and has even allegedly stalled production for future Star Wars movies and other Lucasfilm series like Willow in order to focus on quality over quantity.
Although this has meant pushing back premiere dates for some, despite monetary success at the box office, Collider has now reported that Aladdin 2 is not to be. Perhaps to “diminishing financial returns,” Massoud told fans a sequel was “very unlikely at this point.”
Very unlikely at this point
— Mena Massoud (@MenaMassoud) March 15, 2023
Luckily, the original 1992 still has two campy direct-to-video sequels to enjoy, Aladdin: The Return of Jafar (1994) and Aladdin and the King of Thieves (1996) while we wait for the fate of Aladdin 2.