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Top 10 Movies With Forced Sequels

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Scott Varnham They weren't necessary, but the studios released them anyway. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Movies With Forced Sequels. For this list, we're focusing on films that didn't really leave the window open for a sequel, as they ended with the storylines all tied up or simply had a unique premise. Special thanks to our user arimazzie for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Scott Varnham

Top 10 Movies With Forced Sequels


They weren’t necessary, but the studios released them anyway. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies With Forced Sequels.

For this list, we’re focusing on films that didn’t really leave the window open for a sequel, as they ended with the storylines all tied up or simply had a unique premise. And yet their stories were nevertheless continued with a follow-up film, where the sequel was pretty much forced into production and release, and as a result, inferior to the original. A spoiler alert is also probably in order here.

#10: “Escape from New York” (1981)

Released in 1981 partly as a reaction to the Watergate scandal, the original film stars Kurt Russell as hardened soldier Snake Plissken in a nightmarish futuristic America. By the end of the dystopian action flick, the tale was over: the hero saved the president. But the fact that “Escape from New York” was a critical AND financial success meant that a sequel immediately followed...well, by immediately we mean fifteen years later, further showcasing how unnecessary it was. Russell returned as Snake in a film which failed to set the world afire. Now that Luther showrunner Neil Cross is set to write a reboot, we wonder whether this is really a film that needs another treatment.

#9: “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

The lure of the Blair Witch Project was always in its premise - in which 3 film students attempt to find out more about the legendary Blair Witch – and made an earnest attempt to present the film as found footage. That formula made it a huge box office smash and pretty much created an entire genre of horror. Naturally, work soon began on a sequel that would further explore the myth of the Blair Witch. But was anyone really there for the lore? A recut by studio execs, a different focus and format from the first film led to its dismal failure at the box office and ended any chance this had of becoming an enduring franchise.

#8: “Donnie Darko” (2001)

Fans of the original “Donnie Darko” film were pleased by the thought of a sequel - until it turned out that most of the key personnel from the first movie had nothing to do with this later outing. While the original film features a clever, nuanced and most importantly tied-up story (including revealing what happens to the titular character), “S. Darko” had no such luck as its plot is overly complicated and confusing. Many fans now refuse to admit that the sequel even exists and most critics wish they were right. In short, it failed to live up to its predecessor and barely recouped its meager $4m budget.

#7: “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

“Terminator 2” was a fantastic film with an iconic cast and some utterly heart-wrenching moments, and with Judgment Day averted, it was a great place to end the story. Why then did it have any follow-ups? The third film was passable, despite being unnecessary, but “Terminator Salvation” was a total misfire that led to the equally unnecessary reboot attempt with “Terminator Genisys,” starring Jai Courtney - a man mainly famous for his lack of charisma. Like the T-800, this franchise appears to be unstoppable and is probably naturally best killed with fire.

#6: “Weekend at Bernie’s” (1989)

This film, where an unlikely duo has to go to crazy lengths to pretend that their CEO is still alive, is the very essence of a high-concept gimmick plot, and is very difficult to do more than once. Apologies if you've lost a loved one recently, but wouldn't the body have rotted or something in four years? The first film was a box office success, but that was where they should have left it. It took a voodoo ceremony to reanimate the unlucky corpse in the sequel, and when watching the film, you get the feeling something similar happened behind the scenes of this flop.

#5: “The Exorcist” (1973)

Commonly acknowledged to be one of the greatest horror films of all time, this William Friedkin classic was followed up with a film commonly perceived to be one of the worst films of all time, and which was directed by John Boorman… even though, you know, Regan returned to her normal self. However, the franchise didn’t stop with “Exorcist II: The Heretic”. “The Exorcist III: was released more than ten years later and was followed by two different versions of a prequel in the early 2000s. Fortunately, the shine of the original film was not wiped away by the inferior sequels.

#4: “Speed” (1994)

Alright, we gotta give the filmmakers a tiny bit of credit; at least they didn’t set “Speed 2” on a bus for a second time. No, this time, it’s on a boat. A slow, lumbering cruise ship serves as the main vehicle for a plot which contains all the fast-paced action you'd expect on a… slow, lumbering cruise ship. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to save thesequel from a dire critical and box office reception. Critically speaking, it's not only a contender for the worst sequel ever; it might actually be the worst thing ever. [But since we still have 3 more entries to go, you can decide that for yourself.]

#3: “Home Alone” (1990)

At this point, you would think Kevin McCallister's parents would be locked away for serious neglect. Not content with traumatizing him just the once, in the “Home Alone” sequel, they ditch him in New York City. This sequel to the beloved slapstick comedy classic was forced, but somehow still managed to be enjoyable. It’s nearly a beat-for-beat remake of the first film, right down to Kevin befriending an ominous outcast with a heart of gold. Unfortunately, the success of the second entry led to a string of three sub-par sequelscapped by the lackluster made for TV movie in 2012. What’s next? Home Alone: The College Years?

#2: “The Hangover” (2009)

Depending on whom you ask, the first “Hangover” film was either a laugh riot or another boring buddy movie. People tend to be less divided on the sequels. When it comes to the do-overs, most find they were just simply unnecessary and offered nothing new to the mix – especially since they find Doug and he is married by the end of the first, and all. The sequels were just more of the same - butwith none of the charm that made the original so popular. Some reviewers even questioned whether the third film was actually meant to be a comedy, which is damning no matter which way you look at it.


Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2012)

“Die Hard” (1988)

“My Girl” (1991)

“The Butterfly Effect” (2004)

#1: “Jaws” (1975)

“Jaws” was more or less the inventor of the summer blockbuster. Unintentionally, it also fathered the slog of sequels that usually follows a well-received summer blockbuster. In popular culture, this franchise has become infamous for its terrible and illogical sequels. While “Jaws 2” did pick up from the first film, somehow… did it really need to? The shark was dead! The third film jumped on the ‘80s 3-D bandwagon and tanked, while “Jaws: The Revenge” is only notable to Michael Caine who is still pretty pleased with the house it bought him. The franchise is now dead in the water (we hope) and we’re all grateful for that.
Do you agree with our list? What movie’s sequel did you find forced? For more vital top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.

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