Top 10 Movie Cash Grabs

Written by Akil Goin Hollywood is a hungry business. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 movie cash grabs. A blockbuster’s box office bank is a studio’s cash cow, but even surprise hits aren’t exempt from a shameless milking. For this list, we’re looking at sequels, spin-offs, prequels and reboots that no one but the business executives asked for and were designed solely for the purpose of making money. Special thanks to our users iamnotarobot, Tim MacAusland, Bboy Alter, Charlie Wittke and Andrew A. Dennison for submitting the idea through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Written by Akil Goin

Top 10 Movie Cash Grabs


Hollywood is a hungry business. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie cash grabs.

A blockbuster’s box office bank is a studio’s cash cow, but even surprise hits aren’t exempt from a shameless milking. For this list, we’re looking at sequels, spin-offs, prequels and reboots that no one but the business executives asked for and were designed solely for the purpose of making money.

#10: “Home Alone” sequels (1997-2012)

“Home Alone,” about an eight-year-old who’s left behind by his vacationing family over Christmas, is the highest-grossing comedy ever. So, of course, Hollywood has to “lose” Kevin McCallister again for part 2. And y’know what? We’ll give you that one, cause “Lost in New York” has its moments. But when lead actor Macaulay Culkin grew too old to continue, part 3 lost someone else. How many times can they leave a kid unsupervised before someone calls child services? Apparently, at least two more times, even if some have to be TV movies.

#9: “Caddyshack II” (1988)

This film proves that a studio won’t let a cash cow project die even if it’s plagued with failures from the beginning of its pre-production phase. Lead actor and original cast member Rodney Dangerfield quit, his writer-director quit, and only one guy from the original film’s cast of five mains grudgingly participated to make this thing happen. No one was laughing with this comedy, and not even to the bank, because it bombed. Big time. We’re thinking the talking gopher’s to blame.

#8: “American Pie Presents” series (2005-09)

“American Pie” made over 20x its budget worldwide, so no sequels would’ve been bad business. But when the third film in the franchise proved that the well of teen sex comedy gags was running dry, Hollywood still fought for more. Three of the four direct-to-video “American Pie Presents” spinoffs are loosely based on new ‘Stifler’ relatives, while the other one has nothing to do with anything. The only thing these cash grabs have in common with the original? Eugene Levy, who is the only cast member to appear in all the films.

#7: “The Hobbit” trilogy (2012-14)

Squeezing over eight-hours of film out of a 300 page book is milking more than any cow can produce. After announcing that the second Hobbit movie would be split in two, director Peter Jackson defended New Line Cinema, saying it was more his decision than the studio’s and that the choice had really been made by J.R.R. Tolkien, who’d written extra appendices. We suppose that’s fair enough, but no matter how passionate Jackson is about the story, there’s no denying the fact that there are plenty of fanboy bucks to be made here.

#6: “S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale” (2009)

This indie sci-fi movie, which was panned by critics and hated by Donnie Darko fans, was such a cash grab fail that the first film’s writer/director Richard Kelly felt the need to announce his lack of involvement long before it was released. And in “S. Darko”’s defense, its well-intended efforts and production were admirable. But everyone already knows, or should at least, that no low-budget sequel could hold a candle to the original, especially without Jake Gyllenhaal to hold the fantasy-reality world together.

#5: “Jaws: The Revenge” (1987)

With a new writer, director, cast, story and shark, we know that the movie’s only correlation to the original Spielberg masterpiece is its name. In their desperation to apitalize on the franchise, the creators of this film spared every expense on special effects and forgot to tell a logical, interesting story. Even better, this one ignores the events and continuity of the previous sequel. Besides the branding, the only reason this movie exists is because scary ocean movies were popular in the late-‘80s. It earned its Rotten Tomatoes rating of ZERO.

#4: “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2” (2000)

Artisan Entertainment employees were tripping over themselves to film a sequel ASAP when “The Blair Witch Project” set the psychological horror genre on fire and made the found footage horror film a ‘thing.’ They wanted to rush a sequel so quickly and so badly that they couldn’t wait for the original producers or directors to get on board, and trekked on without them. Betraying its predecessor by more closely resembling a traditional horror flick, “Book of Shadows” actually did make money. But was it any good?

#3: “Son of the Mask” (2005)

Save for Ben Stein, we have an all-new cast in this CGI-filled family comedy that features Jamie Kennedy and one creepy baby. It’s as if the producers decided that the comedy and star power of Jim Carrey’s original “Mask” could be replaced with as many visual effects as possible. And they definitely focused on quantity and not quality in that regard. So what happens: The dog gets a mask, the Norse gods get a mask, the baby’s born with mask powers… Mask, mask, mask! It’s intense, stupid and kind of unsettling.

#2: “Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd” (2003)

It’s hard to believe that the studio had nine-years to release this poorly written prequel in response to the cult status and popularity of the original Farrelly Brothers film. Even with relatively unknown leads replacing Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, and oddly inaccurate ‘90s references for its 1986 setting, it actually had a theatrical run. But the Farrellys had no involvement and we’re not surprised. It’s up to you whether their bona fide sequel rights this film’s wrongs.

Before we cash-in on our top pick, here are some honorable – or in this case dishonorable – mentions:
- “American Psycho 2” (2002)
- “Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son” (2011)
- “Teen Wolf Too” (1987)
- “Sex and the City 2” (2010)
- “Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction” (2006)

#1: “Ace Ventura, Jr.: Pet Detective” (2009)

Even as recently as five years ago, either they still hadn’t learned not to make a sequel of a Jim Carrey comedy without him, or the people responsible never cared. The humor of Ace Venturas 1 & 2 lay in Carrey’s unique ability to act like a child while being competent with his adult peers and responsibilities… Ish. That concept is dismissed to market this sequel to children and children alone. It was a disposable direct-to-video movie and a show-business shame.

Do you agree with our list? Which cash grabs did we miss? To fill in on more Top 10s every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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