‘Aladdin’: Why the Upcoming Sequel Might Fail at the Box Office

2019’s Aladdin was the umpteenth live-action remake from Walt Disney Pictures. Although the film garnered mixed reviews, it was a hit with audiences thanks to the public’s enduring fondness for the original 1992 film of the same name. The 2019 film’s success raises a major question: Will there be a sequel? Could earlier films predict the success of the upcoming sequel?

Will Smith attends the Aladdin European Gala | Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Where the ‘Aladdin’ franchise will go from here

First, a little background. The 2019 version of Aladdin has essentially the same plot as the original. Unlike fellow Disney live-action remakes Maleficent and Dumbo, Aladdin has essentially the same ending as the original film. Jafar is defeated, Aladdin and Jasmine’s love conquers all, and the Genie is freed. Essentially, the story can continue from there – not that there are any obvious directions for it to go. According to Variety, a sequel to Aladdin is in the works.

What do we know about the Aladdin sequel? Variety says the script hasn’t been written. The film’s producers want Will Smith, Mena Massoud and Naomi Scott to return to their respective roles as the Genie, Aladdin, and Princess Jasmine. It’s unknown who will direct the project.

Will the sequel be a success?

“A Whole New World” from the Aladdin remake

On one level, an Aladdin sequel makes financial sense. Box Office Mojo reports the Aladdin remake cost $183 million to produce and earned a whopping $1.05 billion. That’s a tremendous profit.

However, Disney hasn’t had success with sequels to its remakes. Take Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland as an example. Box Office Mojo says it earned $1.03 billion on a budget of $200 million. It spawned a sequel titled Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Alice Through the Looking Glass had a lot going for it. It had a cast of prominent actors including Johnny Depp and Sacha Baron Cohen. It was promoted with a hit Pink song called “Just like Fire.” Obviously, it was coasting off the success of an earlier blockbuster.

Why ‘Aladdin 2’ could bomb

The trailer for Alice Through the Looking Glass

However, Alice Through the Looking Glass was not the success its predecessor was. Box Office Mojo says it cost $170 million and made $299 million. This was a much less significant return on Disney’s investment than the original.

If Disney did consider Alice Through the Looking Glass a great success, they likely would have green-lit a sequel by now. However, the Alice in Wonderland franchise has remained dormant in the four years since Alice Through the Looking-Glass. Something similar happened with Maleficent.

The original Maleficent, a re-imagining of Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, was a hit, reports Variety. However, its sequel, Maleficent; Mistress of Evil, underperformed at the North American box office. It appears some audiences are interested in live-action Disney remakes, but not their sequels.

Does the relatively modest box office performance of Alice Through the Looking Glass and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil mean the Aladdin sequel will perform poorly? This is not entirely clear. It’s quite possible movie-going audiences are more interested in Aladdin and his friends than either Alice or Maleficent. Only time will tell.

Also see: Will Disney Make ‘Frozen 3’?