Disney’s live-action remakes of their extensive back catalogue of animated classics continue to be a license to print money, with both The Lion King and Aladdin earning over a billion dollars each at the box office. It may have taken the latter a little longer to reach that mark, but it still ranks as an unqualified success for the studio given the serious questions raised by the marketing materials as well as the fairly tepid reviews.
The original 1992 animated version of Aladdin would go on to spawn two direct-to-video sequels, The Return of Jafar and Aladdin and the King of Thieves, and with this year’s remake lifting so much material from its animated counterpart, any potential follow-up already comes loaded with story options. Of course, there’ve been rumors of Disney developing an Aladdin 2 before now, but in a recent interview, producer Dan Lin went into more detail about what direction a sequel could possibly go when asked if they’ve begun discussing it.
“We have now,” says Lin. “We certainly, when we first made the movie wanted to just make the best movie we could and let audiences tell us if they wanted to see more. And I would say resoundingly audiences want to see more. They’ve watched this movie multiple times. We have lots of fan letters about people who really go back and they bring their friends and bring their family.
And so we feel like there’s more story to tell. We are going to treat it the same we treat the original Aladdin movie and not going to do a shot-by-shot remake of anything that’s been done before. We’re really looking at what’s been done before in the past and on home video, and there’s just more story to tell with the underlying materials. So without giving away too much, we are certainly exploring where we can go with this franchise.”
It certainly sounds as though both Lin and the studio are treating Aladdin as a potential franchise, which isn’t an approach Disney usually takes with their live-action adaptations apart from box office bomb Alice Through the Looking Glass and the upcoming Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. However, Aladdin has proven popular enough with audiences that there would definitely be interest in more Agrabah adventures.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a sequel though could be convincing Will Smith to return. After all, the notoriously image-conscious actor faced a barrage of criticism in the run up to the movie’s release for his portrayal of the Genie and hasn’t made any sequels outside of the Men in Black and Bad Boys franchises, but the fact that Aladdin became the biggest hit of his entire career may go some way to influencing his decision.