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‘Beetlejuice’ Sequel Could be First Baby of KatzSmith Deal with Warner Bros.

Partners David Katzenberg (son of DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg) and Seth Grahame-Smith (author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) have signed a first-look deal that will pair their KatzSmith Productions with Warner Bros. for the next two years and allow them to bring many of their own ideas and passion projects to the screen in the same mold as J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot and Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment.

The duo will reportedly give life to a Beetlejuice sequel, which Deadline reports will not be a remake but a reboot "advancing the storyline of the original." In other words, don't expect Michael Keaton back in the titular role with Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin and Winona Ryder. 

The deal between KatzSmith and Warner Bros., who owns the Beetlejuice film rights, began when Grahame-Smith impressed the studio with his screenwriting work on Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's latest feature, a film adaptation of Dark Shadows. The writer then introduced the studio to Katzenberg who aspires to direct a number of the films the partners will produce. Given Grahame-Smith's work on period stories with supernatural twinges, its no surprise Warner Bros. believes they have someone with a knack for tackling the gothic and supernatural nature of Beetlejuice, enough so to dust off the property.

KatzSmith currently has a comedy developing at Fox about three high school virgins who order a Russian mail-order bride who arrives with a lot of baggage. Katzenberg is set to direct the film, said to be an homage to the John Hughes film Weird Science.  

Deadline says most of the ideas the pair want to generate will be original. On their slate currently (all films that Warner Bros. will have first look at) is an adaptation of Grahame-Smith's latest novel due in April called We Three Kings, about the Three Wisemen and what they were actually doing in the manger that night, a comedy called Bryantology about a guy who saves his house by inventing a religion and becomes tax-exempt, all of which goes viral, and a stop-motion tale co-produced by Tim Burton called Night of the Living, in which a peaceful town of monsters is attacked by humans.


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