Remember when people considered sequels as lazy writing and lacking creativity? Well, apparently that no longer matters as it seems to be a sure thing that a wildly successful movie will have a follow-up. It is no secret that when Hollywood thinks it has found a winning formula, they’ll flush out that number 2 as quickly as possible.
When the first film is such a hit it’s easy to imagine the same or similar beloved characters recreating the magic on screen again to much adoration… but the reality is usually much more grim. Nowadays the connections between the originals and the sequels can be so tenuous all it requires is the title with the digit 2 beside it.
It must be difficult for the Hollywood executives though, as they wipe away their tears with the mountains of cash gained from the almost guaranteed box office hit sequel. We’re not saying they’re soulless money-grabbers that laugh in our face as they stuff their pockets but…these sequels are pretty bad.
#10 – Speed (Speed 2: Cruise Control)
Speed was actually a very good movie, had a talented cast, and made around $350 million at the box office. It was a definite hit and Hollywood was already salivating at the prospect of a sequel. So along came Speed 2 featuring Sandra Bullock again (the only recurring cast member), who happens to be the unluckiest woman ever when it comes to different modes of travel.
In the first movie she was trapped in a bus which was at least travelling at “speed”. The second movie however failed to capture the tension as the story rumbled along at the same pace as the forsaken cruise ship. Despite the weak script, the bland and uninspiring acting and the slow moving story eliminating any element of speed; it still grossed $165 million so…maybe uninspired sequels are our fault?
#9 – The Birds (The Birds II: Land’s End)
The original 1963 film is a brilliant testament to the world of cinema by Alfred Hitchcock. Anyone who can turn birds into something scary has to be commended. Is that why we needed a sequel? Released in 1994, The Birds II was a direct-to-television film that completely missed the mark. Rather bafflingly, Tippi Hedren, who played the lead role in the first movie, also turns up in the second as a different character. Why? It’s a mystery similar to why killer birds existed in the first place.
Hedren commented on the sequel,
“It’s absolutely horrible, it embarrasses me horribly”.
The director even requested his name be removed from the credits and a pseudonym put in place! The tagline of the film, ‘History has a nasty way of repeating itself’, summed it up quite well. Isn’t that right, Hollywood?
#8 – Splash (Splash, Too)
Featuring Tom Hanks in the lead role and Ron Howard as the director, it was hard to imagine the original could have failed. It had Tom Hanks and a woman doing a wonderful job of hiding her true identity as a mermaid. What’s not to like?! Despite a small budget of $8 million, it grossed over $69 million and won an Oscar for best original screenplay.
So what happened with the sequel? Except for one actress, it was entirely recast for the second movie. Tom Hanks was definitely not going to return for a direct-to-television sequel and so Todd Waring took his place. Interestingly, this very actor had replaced Tom Hanks before and appeared in the tv series Nothing in Common. This trivia fact was probably the most intriguing thing about Splash, too as it sank to anonymity.
#7 – I Know What You Did Last Summer (I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer)
So as we know, somebody did something terrible in the summer and the antagonist has been struggling to get over this for quite a while; in fact, this is the 3rd movie in the franchise. The first two films somehow grossed over $200 million despite neither of them being particularly good. Perhaps the cast of Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr and Sarah Michelle Geller helped the first two films achieve box office success. However, the 3rd film featured none of these stars and it went straight to video.
It was rumoured Jennifer Love Hewitt considered reprising her role in the 3rd film, which isn’t too surprising as she has appeared in other sequels such as Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties and The Hunchback of Notre Dame II. For now though we know what you did last summer, Hollywood, and it wasn’t very impressive.
#6 – The Blair Witch Project (Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
The Blair Witch Project was one of the most successful independent films of all time and cleverly marketed in a ground breaking way on the internet by suggesting that the movie was a record of real events. Maybe this is one reason why the sequel failed as it became much more difficult to believe the follow-up was also a recording of real events. So even with a much larger budget, it failed to recapture the success of the original.
They again employed clever marketing gimmicks; one of those being subliminal messages placed throughout the film which encouraged viewers to watch scenes in reverse or go frame by frame to find them. The problem was that it meant you had to essentially watch one horrible movie twice. Unfortunately, this sequel should have been left in the shadows.
#5 – American Psycho (American Psycho 2)
Here is that infamous number 2 again and this sequel is a good example of Hollywood needing only a tenuous link to shoot a follow-up. In the first film with Christian Bale, it had moderate box office success and received generally positive reviews. So what does that means? It’s good enough to be linked to a sequel of course!
In reality, American Psycho 2 initially had nothing to do with the first film. The script was first called The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die, before that was erased and replaced with American Psycho 2. Remarkably, it actually features Mila Kunis as the psycho and William Shatner as an awfully miscast former FBI agent and professor. If you want to be driven to psychopathy then it’s an excellent movie to watch. If not then it’s best if we all just forget about this one.
#4 – Home Alone (Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House)
Can someone ring the authorities and report child neglect please? Once is excusable, twice is regrettable and thrice is unforgivable but four times?! How often can a family forget one kid? In this interpretation, several of the main characters from the first two films are brought back including Kevin McCallister (originally played by Macaulay Culkin). Despite being filmed 10 years after Home Alone 2, Kevin has only aged 1 year. So now he’s not only home alone but stuck in a time warp. Poor Kevin!
With the first two films grossing over an astounding $834 million but the third film only managing $30 million (which didn’t even cover its budget), shouldn’t this have been a sign the franchise was dead? The heavily criticised television film should be an indication that we need to leave any more sequels alone.
#3 – The Wizard of Oz (Return to Oz)
The Wizard of Oz is iconic and, according to the Library of Congress, the most watched film ever. So if you’re going to make a sequel it better be good. Considering Return to Oz arrived 46 YEARS LATER, it’s going to be awesome. Correct guys? You’ve only had 46 years to work on it, no pressure.
As it turns out, 46 years isn’t enough time. It’s not the worst film on this list but it comes nowhere close to the success of the first one. There was trouble on the set as the director, Walter Murch, was fired for falling behind schedule and then rehired after receiving support from other film makers. In the end, it only managed lukewarm reviews and failed to recuperate its $28 million budget. It would have been better to never have returned at all.
#2 – Jaws (Jaws: The Revenge)
After being nominated for 7 Razzies (awards given in recognition of the worst films), one of the stars of the movie, Michael Caine, summed it up best when he said,
“I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific!”
He was being rather honest here as it was the lowest grossing movie in the Jaws franchise and universally panned by critics and audiences alike. The fun didn’t end there as the film came with the inexplicable tagline ‘This time it’s personal’. Nobody was entirely sure how a fish managed to take anything personal; maybe it was tired of starring in the 4th sequel of an already tired franchise. Somehow though Jaws 4 managed to stay afloat and earned over twice its budget back.
#1 – The Mask (Son of the Mask)
When The Mask was released, it became the second highest grossing super hero movie of its time (the first was Batman). Jim Carey was electric in his lead role and was supported by the relatively unknown Cameron Diaz. The Son of the Mask appeared 11 years later (presumably after some digging around for ideas in the box office hits collection and discovering The Mask). The film went horribly wrong in quite a number of places and even achieved 6 Razzie awards. What happened?
Firstly the enigmatic Jim Carey didn’t return to the role and was hugely missed. His replacement, Jamie Kennedy, didn’t come close to bringing the same charisma to the role and was voted worst actor of 2005. With a non-existent plot and an abundance of over-used special effects, the Son of the Mask would have been better off never born.