For 92 years, Disney has fired up our imaginations. The company is responsible for classics such as Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. Recently, the house of the white-gloved mouse has focused on bringing many of their stories to live-action form in order to give newer generations their own classics.
Maleficent and Cinderella are the first films to come out of the slew of other adaptions on their way, which include Beauty and the Beast and Mulan. Due to Maleficent being a surprise hit in 2014, receiving both critical and commercial success, a sequel is on its way. Cinderella, however, is another story. The film earned $543 million on a budget of $95 million and currently holds an 84% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite this, there hasn't been any real movement on a sequel — yet.
Not having a confirmed sequel on the way might be a disappointment for a lot of people who want to see their favorite characters once again. But considering Disney has always been willing to make sequels if the commercial success and fan reception warrant them, it seems unlikely there will be no Cinderella 2. So, given the situation, I want to talk about what a sequel could be: Would it be best to adapt the animated Cinderella 2 or would the live-action version benefit from being closer to the original, more drastic Grimm story? Would a sequel even be necessary? What are its chances of succeeding? So without further delays, let's get into it:
Is A Cinderella 2 Sequel Even Necessary?
Cinderella poses quite a challenge when thinking of sequel: Where do you take the story? Do you take the risk of ruining a beautiful ending, or do you keep the story as it is? In the times we currently live in, dozens of unnecessary sequels are released every year and most of them are labeled as not being as good as their predecessors and become financial plots.
So, to answer the question of "Is this sequel necessary?" To be honest: No, it isn't. The animated Cinderella 2 we got was, in my opinion, a great fun film that told us where our favorite characters where after we first met them. It was a nice companion to the first film.
With 2015's live-action Cinderella, we have a different case. That film was released to encompass everything great about the animated one and wrap it up in a great live-action tale that not only honored the film it was based on, but introduced the character to a new generation of fans.
However, as unnecessary as we may consider Cinderella 2 to be, you can't deny the potential it has. One of the most important aspects to making a great sequel is having the passion to continue a story. If you give the task to the right writers and directors, considering the awesome characters Cinderella has, we could end up with one of the greatest sequels ever made.
So, how exactly would they approach it?
Old Vs. New — Kid Friendly Vs. A Darker Approach
Many are surprised when they hear that Disney's Cinderella was based on a much darker story by the Brothers Grimm. In the original tale (like all Grimm tales), various not-kid-friendly themes are explored. Remember in the film when the step-sisters are desperately trying to prove the glass slipper belongs to one of them? Well, in the original story the girls cut off parts of their feet in order for the — in this version — gold slipper to fit them. The prince figures out they're not the real Cinderella when the slipper begins to fill with blood.
This poses an interesting question for a sequel to the 2015 film: Where to go when it comes to source material? Do you take inspiration from the animated sequel and explore lighter and fun themes about the life of a princess, or do you go a more drastic route and give the film an edgier tone?
When working with a sequel, you have to make sure you are not just repeating the original film. However, in Cinderella's case, it's a bit more complicated than that. As an audience, we'd love to have a fresh plot, but not one so different that it changes our entire perception of the characters and world.
If Disney gave Cinderella an edgier and darker tone for her sequel, they run two great risks. One is making people lose interest and dismiss the film as just another dumb attempt at making the story more adult, and two: They may alienate younger viewers.
On the other hand, by embracing the lighter and fun tone that has made Cinderella and its sequels classics, they'd have nothing to lose. Parents would get their children to the theaters and audiences would not be as skeptical, knowing the tone of the characters and world is being respected.
So, to answer the question: Which route is better? I must say the light and fun tone is, without a doubt, the way to go. Remember, people become skeptical the moment they hear the number "2" in a title, so there's no sense in alienating them completely by unnecessarily changing what, at its heart, is a hopeful and family-friendly story (in the Disney version, at least).
Could Cinderella 2 Even Succeed?
The truth is, there is not a definitive answer to this question. I could tell you, "Of course a Cinderella sequel would be successful! What are you thinking?" and I could be completely wrong. Why? Because audiences are unpredictable. One example is Alice Through The Looking Glass. Like Cinderella and Maleficent, Alice in Wonderland was a surprise live-action hit for Disney, but its sequel completely bombed. To put it in box office perspective, the first Alice in Wonderland made $1.025 billion dollars in 2010. Alice Through the Looking Glass, on the other hand, only made $270.9 million globally on an $170 million budget, and that doesn't include the marketing.
So, to narrow it down, a Cinderella 2's success is almost unpredictable. It's Cinderella, people that haven't seen the film in decades would go see it. On the other hand, what could hurt its chances of a decent run at the box office? The "2" in the title or any indication that it's a sequel. Like I mentioned above, people usually lose interest in films once they know they are second installments. "So, Franco, are you saying that a Cinderella 2 wouldn't be successful?" you ask. No, not at all. In fact, it has a very high chance of succeeding. It's just that it's almost impossible to know for sure.
Conclusion — More Cinderella, Please!
Disney gave us a classic with Cinderella. The princess with the glass slippers has been in the minds of people generation after generation. Her story has such relevance that 2015's live-action gave this generation their own version of the story. And what was great about it is that it stood on its own. Yes, it relied on the nostalgia of people to get in the theaters, but you can watch it from beginning to end without wishing you were watching the animated version.
The characters in the live-action film are likable, relatable, and you want to see more of them doing their thing. If the same amount of love and care that was put into this version is applied to the sequel and the playful and joyful tone of that world is respected, we could have one of the best sequels ever made. What do you think?