The Tim Burton-directed comedy-fantasy film was released 30 years ago, on March 30, 1988.
"Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" really has been stuck in all our heads for 30 years.
The song by Harry Belafonte was released in 1956 but found a new audience after being featured in a memorable scene in Beetlejuice, which was released on March 30, 1988.
The movie was the 10th highest-grossing film that year and was met with both box office and critical success, bringing in $164.6 million at the domestic box office (adjusted for inflation) and winning an Academy Award for makeup design.
In celebration of this Burton classic’s 30th anniversary, The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at what the Beetlejuice cast has been up to in the years since, to see how they've "jump(ed) in the line" in other projects.
Starring in the film's title role, Michael Keaton’s portrayal of Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetlejuice) launched the actor in the direction of leading characters and critical success. Prior to the classic, Keaton had starred in Mr. Mom and was seen in a supporting role in Ron Howard’s Night Shift. After Beetlejuice, Keaton took on a slew of lead roles, reuniting with Burton for Batman and Batman Returns, in which he played Bruce Wayne/Batman. After some of his films garnered mixed reviews during the early 2000s, Keaton made a comeback with an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe win for his performance in the 2014 film Birdman. He furthered his success with a performance in the Academy Award-winning film Spotlight in 2015 and with his performance in the 2016 The Founder, playing McDonald's mastermind Ray Kroc. He also has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Making his film debut just a year prior to Beetlejuice’s release, Alec Baldwin furthered his name recognition after his portrayal of Adam Maitland, the deceased husband who employs Betelgeuse to scare off the new owners of his home. Coming off the success of the 1988 film, Baldwin launched himself into projects including the 1990 action-thriller The Hunt for Red October and received an Academy Award nomination for his role in the 2003 drama The Cooler. Baldwin expanded his film career from there and, working with director Martin Scorsese, co-starred in the 2004 biopic The Aviator and the 2006 crime drama The Departed. Baldwin’s critical success continued due to his portrayal of Jack Donaghy on NBC’s sitcom 30 Rock, for which he received three Golden Globes, two Emmy Awards and seven Screen Actors Guild Awards. He won his third Emmy in 2017 for his portrayal of Donald Trump on NBC’s late-night sketch show Saturday Night Live.
Before landing the role as deceased wife Barbara Maitland, Geena Davis had portrayed roles in films such as the 1982 comedy Tootsie and the 1985 horror-comedy Transylvania 6-5000. After starring in Beetlejuice, which help her garner recognition, Davis received an Academy Award for her role in the 1988 film The Accidental Tourist, and went on to receive critical acclaim for her performance as Thelma Dickinson in the 1991 hit Thelma & Louise. Davis’ success continued into the 2000s, as she received a Golden Globe Award for her role as the United States’ first female president in the ABC show Commander in Chief in 2005. One of Davis’ latest projects, Marjorie Prime, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Known as a '90s film icon, Winona Ryder had only one film credit to her name before taking on the role as goth-teen Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice. Her performance launched a career spanning both television and film. After the success of Beetlejuice, Ryder starred in the 1988 film Heathers and the 1990 film Edward Scissorhands alongside Johnny Depp. After receiving an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe win for her role in the 1993 romantic drama The Age of Innocence, Ryder went on to star in films including Little Women and Reality Bites. Taking time away from the industry in the early 2000s, Ryder returned and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance in 2010's When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story. Ryder currently plays Joyce Byers in the Netflix series Stranger Things, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG Award for best drama ensemble, shared with the rest of the cast.
One of its better known stars when Beetlejuice was released, Catherine O’Hara — coming off of the success of her film Heartburn (starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson) — played the social butterfly/interior designer/mother Delia Deetz. Beetlejuice would become one of three Burton films that O’Hara co-starred in, lending her voice to 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas and the 2012 film Frankenweenie. Known by many as the mother of Macaulay Culkin’s Kevin McCallister in the Home Alone movies, O’Hara has continued her work in family oriented movies by utilizing her talents as a voice actress. She has voiced characters in movies including Over the Hedge, Brother Bear 2 and Where the Wild Things Are. One of O’Hara’s cuurent projects is with Netflix, where she can be seen as Dr. Georgina Orwell in A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Beginning his career in the 1970s, Jones portrayed Charles Deetz, the husband of Catherine O’Hara’s character, in Burton's film. Pre-Beetlejuice, Jones had solidified his status as a performer and received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his role in the 1984 film Amadeus and is still recognized for his role as Principal Rooney in 1986's Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Jones joined Beetlejuice co-star Alec Baldwin in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October and appeared in the 1996 film The Crucible. In 2003, Jones pleaded no contest to a felony charge of hiring a 14-year-old boy to pose for sexually explicit photos. More recently, Jones appeared in the 2015 New American Theatre production of 63 Trillion. He has not performed since the closing of the show.