Proof that it’s not always better the second time around…
Reporter: Ryan Elliott | Sub-Editor: Alex Clement
It doesn’t matter how well-received a film is – there’s no place for sentiment when it comes to sequels. Follow-ups are often far costlier to make, and much easier to get horribly wrong. Following the release of the T2: Trainspotting official trailer, we’re all wondering – can Danny Boyle even dream of topping the first installment 20 years later?
The black comedy crime drama will be released on February 10 2017, and judging from the trailer, will once again prove to be an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. Here’s hoping, anyway, as it would be a great shame to poison the legacy of such an iconic British film.
Here’s 10 times that movie sequels went horribly wrong; featuring a few painful comedies, some not-so-catchy sing-alongs and a couple of butchered classics. Here’s hoping this Ewan McGregor-inspired classic can buck the trend.
Staying Alive (1983)
The follow-up to Saturday Night Fever truly was a stinker. The first film was hailed as one of the greatest films of the 1970s, with John Travolta putting in an energetic performance as Tony Manero – who saw disco dancing as a way of coping with the painful realities of life. The original grossed a staggering $237.1m from just a $3.5m budget.
Six years later, disaster struck. Staying Alive was slated by critics for lacking the raw intensity and passion that had earlier made it such a success, which was reflected in the underwhelming $64.8m the sequel grossed from a far more sizeable budget. Throw in the 4.5/10 rating on IMDb (compared to the perhaps harsh 6.8 for the original) and it becomes apparent – Staying Alive was a shocker.
The Godfather III (1990)
Firstly, it’s important to remember that the third of The Godfather movies was by no means terrible – it just didn’t live up to the first two, which are arguably two of the greatest films ever screened. The epilogue didn’t really have enough strength as a standalone ending, and put a slight dampener on an otherwise tremendous piece of cinema.
The Pacino-led final hoorah was nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards – perhaps testament to the fact it wasn’t too much of a train wreck. In spite of Pacino’s excellent performance, there was wide criticism of the casting of Sofia Coppola in the movie, whose performance was described as ‘out of her acting league’ alongside the now-76-year-old.
Son of the Mask (2005)
Though arguably not much of a consolation, the first Mask movie was a smash hit. Jim Carrey was typically energetic and hilarious, and Cameron Diaz flourished in what was her cinema debut – leading the superhero comedy to gross over $300m in spite of being released alongside the critically-acclaimed Forrest Gump.
11 years later, and The Mask legacy was well and truly murdered. Both Diaz and Carrey did not return for the follow-up, which was essentially a painful couple of hours of Jamie Kennedy trying to replicate the latter’s hilarious performance – with cringe-worthy consequences. The film grossed less than $60m (in spite of its huge $84m budget), and was rated just 2.2/10 by IMDb – arguably one of the worst comedies of all time.
Jaws: The Revenge (1987)
The Jaws movies are a perfect example of how to kill a classic… Three times over. Spielberg’s original was a cinematic masterpiece – with the soundtrack working perfectly alongside to create suspense throughout.
From there though, the films just got worse and worse. Jaws 2 was painfully average, Jaws 3 was below-par and Jaws: The Revenge, well, sucked. Rotten Tomatoes’ critical consensus of the film reads: “Illogical, tension-free and filled with cut-rate special effects, Jaws 4 – The Revenge is a sorry chapter in a once-proud franchise.” Hardly what you want from a thriller, is it?
The Hangover Part III (2013)
The first Hangover movie was released in 2009, and my word, it was hilarious. The US smash-hit became the second highest-grossing R-rated comedy in the United States upon release ($467.5m box office), and actors such as Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis enhanced their reputations tenfold.
The second movie got a little repetitive, once again following the ‘we got drugged and made a mess’ narrative, but it was still bearable – with Galifianakis once again enhancing his reputation as a comedy actor. Then, the third came. Many sceptics expected this film to bomb given its predictable nature and repetitive jokes, and boy were they right. It felt as if the franchise was squeezing every last drop of comedic value to finish the trilogy, which undoubtedly shouldn’t have gone beyond two movies.
Grease 2 (1982)
Grease 2 is arguably the biggest box office bomb of any follow-up film in history. The first romantic musical is now viewed as a timeless classic, and the lack of storyline was more than forgiven due to the catchy soundtrack and energetic performances throughout from John Travolta et al.
The second edition, however, had nowhere to hide. An entirely new cast took to the big screen to sing songs that were in no way catchy or creative, and the on-screen chemistry through was poor. Furthermore, the storyline lacked just as much substance as the first – if not more. The film went from grossing in excess of $300m the first time around, to just $15m for the second instalment.
Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003)
There’s a lesson to be learned from this piece – if you make a brilliant, original comedy starring Jim Carrey, don’t do another one without him. Similarly to The Mask, Dumb and Dumber showed Carrey at his hilarious best, with co-star Jeff Daniels also lauded for his performance. The $247m box office gross does the dumb duo justice, though nine years later, the ‘prequel’ became the stuff of nightmares.
The 2003 version was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards, including Worst Remake or Sequel, and the legacy of the original film appears to be tarnished forever – with Carrey and Daniels attempting to reboot the comedy with the 2014 release of Dumber and Dumber To, which was also panned by critics.
Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
The Blues Brothers were originally subject to a bidding war when their film underwent production in the late 1970s, with Universal Studios eventually prevailing. The story is based on the iconic pair, who played music in an attempt to raise money for an orphanage, having decided to change their ways for the better.
Though it was a slow start, the film eventually took off worldwide and grossed over $115m, making it a large success. What did they do after that? Yep, they killed it off with another. The 1998 sequel was basically another ‘we’re getting the band together’ plot, with the only thing changing being the purpose of their money raising. Yawn.
The film grossed less than half of its $28.1m budget – testament to just how dull it was. There’s a serious case to be made for Drake and Josh to have done a better follow-up than the 1998 version.
xXx: State of the Union (2005)
The original xXx movie remains one of Vin Diesel’s finer roles, with the American starring in the high-octane action film that managed to gross $277m worldwide. The original was so successful that another is currently in production for release in 2017. What happened between the first and the new is to be forgotten, however.
Vin Diesel dropped out of the sequel to work on The Pacifier, and in his place stepped Ice Cube. The pressure was on with such a big budget, with Ice Cube yet to play any major role in a successful action movie. Did he pull it off? Absolutely not. The film was a stinker, and flopped $16m under its huge $87m budget.
Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
The problem with having such an original plot is this – it’s hard to follow up. Speed had exactly that, with an LAPD officer forced to drive a bus above 50mph to prevent a bomb exploding, which it would if the speed of the vehicle fell. Keanu Reeves starred, and the film went down a treat – winning two academy awards and grossing 10x more than its $30m budget.
What happened? You’ve probably noticed the trend by now. They went and ruined it with another. The same plot – only on a far slower cruise ship, is hardly thrilling. Everything was panned from the plot, to the acting to the production. The film made profit, but it was blasted by critics – earning the 1997 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Re-Make or Sequel, as well as being nominated for seven others.