On 26 March 2016 a Facebook user published what appeared to be a movie poster for Beetlejuice 2, a sequel to the massively popular 1988 horror comedy film Beetlejuice:
It wasn't long before social media platforms were buzzing about the purported release of Beetlejuice 2, though reports were inconsistent as to whether the project was coming soon, already in production, or just getting underway. However, it was clear that the movie poster floating around on Twitter and Facebook wasn't legit.
The Beetlejuice 2 movie poster was clearly a doctored version of an unrelated 2014 photograph of Michael Keaton (which would be highly atypical in official promotional material released by a studio):
The rumor was complicated by a number of blog posts claiming that Tim Burton had confirmed Beetlejuice 2 was at least in some stage of development. The latter post was originally published on 8 March 2016, and its assertion hinged on the word of an unnamed source purportedly in contact with Burton. An undated update explained that the claim had not much to it other than a four-year-old reference to a possible sequel script:
[UPDATE] — A rep has gotten in contact with us and stated "Tim Burton did not confirm Beetlejuice 2 as the movie is not in development. Tim's focus is entirely on Miss Preegrine's Home For Peculiar Children set for a September 30 2016 release and developing Dumbo". That is all fine and we complied with the reps request to post their comment, however we did not say it was in development ... After being called by Tim Burton's rep and being told that there is no script, no plans, no development and Tim never said what our spy reported, we where able to find this video thanks to the great guys at MovieWeb of Tim himself discussing that the script was in fact being worked on as early as 2012.
On 11 March 2016, Entertainment Weekly reported that no such sequel was in the works:
Early Friday morning, reports surfaced that a long-discussed follow-up to filmmaker Tim Burton’s 1988 paranormal adventure was moving forward — that a script had been completed and original stars Winona Ryder and Michael Keaton confirmed to return.
Trouble is, none of that was actually true, according to a rep for the filmmaker. She said the information was based on fabricated comments from the director and confirmed to EW that Beetlejuice 2 is not in development at this time. Burton's second feature centers on Keaton's rambunctious "bio-exorcist," who is hired by a pair of ghosts (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) to evict a living family from their home — Ryder plays the clan's goth-attired daughter, Lydia. Both the director and some of the lead actors have expressed a desire to revisit the movie at various times over the last several years, but there are no active plans for a sequel to move forward at this point.
The Beetlejuice 2 movie poster wasn't the first to dupe hopeful film fans on social media. A fake poster for Hocus Pocus 2 raised the hopes of fans of that movie in 2015; a hoax recruited users to spread rumors of a sequel to Pretty Woman; some confusion led to the inaccurate belief The Goonies was being rebooted; and fake news sites tricked folks with fabricated claims Step Brothers 2, Forrest Gump 2, 8 Mile 2, and The Notebook 2 were all in development.