After James Cameron’s Avatar became the highest-grossing movie in history in part due to the groundbreaking 3D technology, the rest of Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon by adding the extra dimension to their own blockbusters. However, the vast majority of them were hastily slapped with a shoddy post-conversion as the studios focused more on the additional ticket price rather than the technology itself.
One of the first major releases to follow in Avatar‘s wake was Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp, which surprised everyone when it ended up as just the sixth movie to ever make over a billion dollars at the box office despite the critical reception being tepid at best. The fantasy film’s lasting legacy is that it showed Disney there was plenty of mileage in live-action adaptations of their animated classics, and that gravy train is still one of their most lucrative revenue streams a decade later.
Six years later a sequel arrived, but you’d be forgiven for forgetting that it ever existed given how quickly it faded from memory. The Muppets‘ James Bobin stepped in for Burton behind the camera, with reviews being much less enthusiastic the second time around, while box office takings also fell off a cliff after Alice Through the Looking Glass failed to even crack $300 million globally on a $170 million budget.
Ever since the costly fantasy epic bombed hard, Disney have largely shied away from making sequels to their live-action remakes, with Maleficent the only character to have come back for a second outing since, while Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin 2 is the only follow-up officially on the docket. Still, despite being vastly inferior to an original that was pretty mediocre to begin with, Disney will be hoping that Alice Through the Looking Glass finally manages to find a wider audience when it arrives on their in-house streaming service this week, on August 28th.