Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t the only sequel coming out this week! Nia Vardalos and her Portokalos brood are back with a big family secret in the follow-up to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a word-of-mouth smash that made hundreds of millions of dollars when it was first released. But we’re a long ways away from 2002 now and just how much demand for a sequel was built up in-between? This question inspires this week’s gallery: 24 sequels nobody asked for (and how they turned out)!
Mad Max: Fury Road Year: 2015
Hard to imagine a world where we didn’t want this sci-fi Best Picture nominee around, but
indeed the endless miles of bad road leading to Mad Max’s rebirth had audiences skeptical.
For one thing, it’d been 30 years since Mel Gibson vacated the role after Beyond Thunderdome
(and 10 years since his public meltdown), while series creator George Miller had spent the
last two decades making Babe and Happy Feet movies. But once the world got on board with
Miller’s concept of Max as a myth figure (allowing Tom Hardy to enter the picture) and after
that first trailer, the hype
train revved up full tilt.
2010: The Year We Make Contact Year: 1984
Recall 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of the most timeless, beguiling, cosmically entrancing
movies ever made. Now how about a sequel that overexplains every single aspect of it? That’s
something we were all clamoring for, right?
Vacation Year: 2015
Chevy Chase, National Lampoon, and the Vacation movies: things that meant something to comedies in the 1980s, not so much now. So when Chase came back for a cameo in a movie that majorly upped the vulgarity, critics barfed it right back.
Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift Year: 2006
After the series hit a wall with 2 Fast 2 Furious, viewers weren’t amped up for another
movie, especially one set overseas with none of the original cast returning in lead roles.
Though Tokyo Drift posted the franchise’s lowest box office numbers, it allowed director
Justin Lin to settle in and rebuild the story and transform the series into the global
blockbuster juggernaut it is now.
Basic Instinct 2 Year: 2006
The original Basic Instinct came out during that wholesome late-80s/early-90s era of erotic thrillers. There was a distinct whiff in the air that time had moved on when Sharon Stone came back as novelist and possible murderbabe Catherine Tramell. Also, no screenplay by Joe Eszterhas? That guy is synonymous with quality.
The French Connection II Year: 1975
Though the original Best Picture winner had zero closure, French Connection‘s
ending was less about an incomplete story than painting a portrait of detective Popeye Doyle
going completely off the deep end in pursuit of a drug crook. John Frankenheimer’s sequel is
adequate but remains not an essential part of the film canon conversation: one serving of Popeye’s goes a long way.
Return to the Blue Lagoon Year: 1991
Sexual liberation spread to the movies during the 1970s, allowing Randal Kleiser to produce
and direct a physically charged-up adaptation of The Blue Lagoon in 1980 starring a 14-year-old Brooke Shields (and plenty of body doubles). For some reason, a sequel was made 11 years
later but the shadow of Reagan-era family values and the introduction of the PG-13 rating
rendered this Milla Jovovich movie sanitized and groan-worthy.
Son of The Mask Year: 2005
The Mask had a few things going for it: Jim Carrey’s rising star, the introduction of
Cameron Diaz, dark sensibility (for a mainstream comedy), and state-of-the-art CG. None of
these things carried over to the Jamie Kennedy sequel.
Dumb & Dumber To Year: 2014
Jim Carrey must’ve figured at some point if studio heads and financiers were going to ruin his ’90s comedies with bad sequels, he might as well get in on the action. Carrey re-teamed with the Farrelly brothers and together turned around a string of middling box office performers with Dumb & Dumber To, which grossed $170 million worldwide.
The Color of Money Year: 1986
Nobody was expecting Paul Newman to do a follow-up to his iconic film The Hustler, especially with director Martin Scorsese, who was in the midst of a shaggy decade delivering fun oddities like The King of Comedy and After Hours. But Newman got an Oscar for reprising his Fast Eddie character and co-star Tom Cruise got another foot in on his way to the top.
The Wicker Tree Year: 2012
A follow-up to 1973’s The Wicker Man with original director Robin Hardy sounds like a good idea (also as correcting Wicker‘s ruined reputation after the 2006 Nic Cage remake), except that Hardy had directed only one movie since then and that was in 1986. Hardy’s lack of momentum in the directing game shows through in the low Tomatometer.
King Kong Lives Year: 1986
The King Kong remake was a box office hit in 1976 but the 80s were less kind to the mega gorilla: Lives, which begins with the King in a medically-induced coma and brings in a Lady Kong, was a huge dud.
Zoolander 2 Year: 2016
No David Bowie cameo, no deal!
Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Year: 1986
The original Massacre was a phenomenon that unsettled audiences everywhere. The sequel, coming 12 years later, just threw its hands up and turned it into a wacky family affair.
U.S. Marshals Year: 1997
The Fugitive worked thanks to Harrison Ford’s everyman quality pitted against Tommy Lee Jones’ cranky, scary schtick. Remove that, such as in the Ford-less follow-up U.S. Marshals, and you have a workmanlike picture that moves along without much of a center to hold it together.
Return to Never Land Year: 2002
The years before Disney outright acquired Pixar in 2006 were grim in regards to their animation output, what with the death of traditional animation that had long been their bread and butter, and tons of brand-tarnishing lackluster sequels that were dumped direct to video. A few of these sequels were able to sneak into theaters but, honestly, was anyone but young impressionable kids clamoring for a second Peter Pan or The Jungle Book 2?
Return to Oz Year: 1985
The Wizard of Oz is so self-contained and iconic that not many were anticipating more adventures with Dorothy, especially 50 years after the fact. But indeed, we got Return to Oz in 1985, which sees the possibly insane protagonist revisiting her tattered dream world. The movie bombed back then but its relentlessly bleak first half continues to raise eyebrows among cult filmgoers.
The Rage: Carrie 2 Year: 1999
After Scream, teen slashers were all the, ahem, rage and thus this Carrie offshoot was conceived.
Another Stakeout Year: 1993
“Another?” you might be asking, “How can there be another of something that wasn’t there in
the first place?” Indeed, there was a first Stakeout, which came out in 1987 and is rarely spoken of today.
Benji: Off The Leash Year: 2004
Most movie watchers who were aware of Benji became acquainted with him from repeated VHS viewings in the 1980s, meaning the audience willing to come out to watch Off the Leash (the first Benji movie in almost 20 years) was pretty limited.
Saraband Year: 2003
A new Ingmar Bergman movie was always a cause for celebration but, honestly, no one was expecting to see more of Johan and Marianne from 1973’s Scenes From a Marriage. But as Bergman’s swan song, it was a fine and fitting farewell.
The Black Bird Year: 1975
John Huston’s version of The Maltese Falcon is one of the all-time classics. Knowing it couldn’t possibly maintain that reputation, Black Bird is entirely comedic starring George Segal as Sam Spade, Jr. taking over the family private eye business. The movie is pretty disliked but does at least hold the distinction of having Lee Patrick and Elisha Cook Jr. reprising their roles from Maltese.
An American Werewolf in Paris Year: 1997
An American Werewolf in London was a horror-comedy from 1981 with legendary make-up effects that left audiences howling. Paris, coming 16 years later, had audiences going, “Who?” Though London director John Landis didn’t do Paris, he did make his own unwarranted sequel with Blues Brothers 2000 around the same time.
The Sin of Harold Diddlebock Year: 1947
Set decades after the glory of The Freshman (1925), director Preston Sturges convinced Harold Lloyd to reprise his role in his first movie after leaving Paramount Pictures. In a fate that befell many silent stars in a world of sound and color, the movie didn’t catch on and Lloyd never appeared on screen again.