Angelina Jolie was at one point, not that long ago, one of the most sought-after and highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. On Disney's Maleficent, she was able to command a massive $20 million payday as well as some backend, which is no small feat. She has since turned her attention toward smaller projects and directing, but it looks like her next big role could be a return as the iconic Disney villain in Maleficent 2.
The Hollywood Reporter recently ran a pretty in-depth feature on Angelina Jolie and where her career is headed. According to the report, she currently has a few acting projects in the works after spending a few years mostly behind the camera. Her only acting gigs of late were in By The Sea and Kung Fu Panda 3. Per THR, she is now looking to get back in the game with a pair of large-scale projects currently in development at Universal, which include Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair, and a World War II spy drama called The Spy Who Loved, based on Clare Mulley's book of the same name. But perhaps the most interesting bit is that Disney wants her to come back for Maleficent 2, which could wind up being her next project.
Disney has had a staggering amount of success with live-action reimaginings of their classic tales. Maleficent, which came out in 2014, was one of the early examples of this. The movie brought in an incredibly impressive $758 million worldwide. Disney gave the green light to Maleficent 2 a while back, but movement on the project has been slow. Assuming Angelina Jolie does decide that is going to be her next acting gig, things will probably move forward fairly quickly. As far as live-action adaptations go, Disney is preparing to release Beauty and the Beast next month, with the live-action Mulan set for release in November 2018. They are also working on a live-action Little Mermaid, The Jungle Book 2 and The Lion King, as well as Dumbo with director Tim Burton, who directed the very successful Alice in Wonderland.
While no specific release date has been nailed down for Maleficent 2, sometime in 2019 would seem like a realistic expectation at this point. The studio has a release date pegged for an untitled project on December 20, 2019, which could be a good place for it. As far as directing goes, which is what she has been focusing on, Angelina Jolie recently held a premiere for her upcoming Netflix movie First They Killed My Father, which will arrive on the streaming service later this year in addition to getting an awards qualifying theatrical run. She is also reportedly prepping an adaptation of Alessandro Baricco's novel about the brutality of war, Without Blood. Disney hasn't made mention of a director for Maleficent 2, so maybe they could persuade her to double up for the sequel.
THR's report also confirmed that her in development rhino poaching movie Africa is all but scrapped. The movie was supposed to star her ex-husband Brad Pitt, but the movie apparently got a little out of control budget wise, which caused the project to fall apart. Her directorial effort Unbroken did pretty well at the box office, grossing $163 million, but it didn't get the awards season love that she and Universal were likely hoping for. That may motivate her to get back in front of the camera in something like Maleficent 2, which could help give her name a big boost.
Maleficent 2 may wind up being Angelina Jolie's next movie, but one last thing that the report from THR noted was that Universal's Bride of Frankenstein remake, which she has been attached to for quite some time, is still a very long way off. They haven't even hired a writer for the movie. No matter what her next project winds up being, it is clear that Angelina Jolie is making her next moves carefully, since she reportedly turned down Wanted 2 and Salt 2, which probably would have been nice paydays for her. But Disney is a safe bet at this point, so that is probably why the Mouse House was able to coax her back for a sequel.