Beetlejuice Beetlejuice and Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F drops first trailers, points to new wave of old faves

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Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley is returning to the land of palm trees and sunny days – and hijinks.
Eddie Murphy as Axel Foley is returning to the land of palm trees and sunny days – and hijinks. Credit: Courtesy of Netflix 2024

“What brings you back to 90210?” Kevin Bacon asks Eddie Murphy in the first trailer for Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.

The Detroit cop returns to the land of palm trees and sunny days – and hijinks. There are out-of-control helicopters, a snow plough racing through LA and a really, really big truck ramming through a mansion. Typical Axel Foley stuff.

There’s a story (his daughter’s life is threatened so Axel teams up with her ex-boyfriend to uncover a conspiracy) but the Beverly Hills Cop movies have always been more about watching Murphy riff and cause havoc. And the trailer promises plenty of that.

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Beetlejuice Beetlejuice also released its first full trailer today, about four hours after Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F.

Michael Keaton is back as “the trickster demon”, as are original cast members Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara, this time joined by Wednesday break-out star Jenna Ortega and her mesmerising ability to deadpan.

The Beetlejuice sequel is releasing in September.
The Beetlejuice sequel is being released in September. Credit: Warner Bros

The Deetz family have returned for the funeral of grandpa Charles (Jeffrey Jones who played the role in the first film has since been convicted of child pornography offences) when Lydia’s (Ryder) daughter Astrid (Ortega) discovers a mysterious pamphlet in the attic. Soon, the juice is loose, and so is the barrier between the living and the dead.

It took 30 years to bring Murphy back to a role he’s played three times before, and 36 for Keaton to don Beetlejuice’s famous stripes, but they’re not the only ones digging through the archives, with a handful of nostalgia plays about to hit cinemas this year, which also includes Twisters, The Crow and Gladiator 2.

Since the turn of the century, Hollywood has increasingly relied on familiarity and franchise entries to attract audiences but when there are only so many Transformers, Marvel and Planet of the Apes films you can pump out, you have to reach back even further.

Top Gun: Maverick proved that when you hit a sweet spot of resurrecting a beloved title that hasn’t been oversaturated, bring back the original star(s) and do a bloody good job, you could pull in a $US1.49 billion box office.

(from left) Kate (Daisy Edgar-Jones), Javi (Anthony Ramos), and Tyler (Glen Powell), in Twisters directed by Lee Isaac Chung.
The Twisters sequel stars Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos and Glen Powell. Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pic/Melinda Sue Gordon

Like Tom Cruise, Murphy and Keaton are still movie stars with cross-generational appeal. OK, maybe not Zoomers, but it only takes one viral TikTok meme to change that.

But you also don’t have to hang your hat on the old guard. The 2017 Jumanji reboot did $US995 million without Kirsten Dunst or a by-then-deceased Robin Williams. The Twister sequel (28 years in between) won’t include Helen Hunt and Gladiator 2 (24 years), by virtue of character deaths, can only bring back Connie Nielsen and Derek Jacobi.

The Crow has a whole new cast led by Bill Skarsgard and FKA Twigs. Obviously, Brandon Lee died filming the original 1994 film and The Crow had three sequels, the most recent in 2005, but none were particularly memorable.

The Crow stars Bill Skarsgard.
The Crow stars Bill Skarsgard. Credit: Larry Horricks/Larry Horricks/Lionsgate

The key here is to mine a nostalgia title that hasn’t recently been peddling a gazillion remakes/reboots/revivals and now everyone is sick of it.

Audiences have been given enough time to actually remember something fondly and look forward to being in that world again. Studios will just have to have the discipline to not churn out a thousand more sequels when they see dollar signs. Ahem, Ghostbusters.

As Judge Reinhold says to Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop 4, “God, I missed you, Axel”.

Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F is on Netflix on July 3.

Twisters is in cinemas on July 18, The Crow is in cinemas on August 22, Beetlejuice Beetlejuice is in cinemas on September 5 and Gladiator 2 is in cinemas on November 21

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