Earlier this year, Disney brought forward the Maleficent sequel seven months from its scheduled May 2020 release to October 18, 2019. No reason was given at the time, but director Joachim Rønning has now spoken about the surprising change.
“I think [Disney] saw an opportunity to bring it forward. They saw a director’s cut and they were happy with it, and they saw that maybe we don’t need to wait another seven months,” he told Digital Spy.
“I think it was nice to also get out in front of Halloween. It’s a scarier movie, so suddenly it was an opportunity to be had. I was very happy with that.”
Rønning had worked with Disney before on Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge. Given his background in independent movies and “doing much more of it on [his] own”, it taught him a valuable lesson.
“On my previous films, I even made the posters and you don’t really have to do the posters when you’re working with Disney – there’s a thousand people making posters over there and they’re all amazing,” he explained.
“I think I learnt to pick my battles and let go of the control a little bit because there’s top shelf, the best people both in front of the camera and behind it.”
And it helps of course when your movie has a cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Michelle Pfeiffer and Elle Fanning.
“Angelina Jolie very much knows the character of Maleficent so the direction is a little bit different. It’s not, ‘I don’t think Maleficent would do that’ – I would never say that because she knows,” he reflected.
“To have Michelle Pfeiffer, Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning battling it out in front of my camera, it’s just so privileged as a director to have that. I really felt that watching my monitor on set that I was in the movies because they’re so iconic.”