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Top 10 Sequels You Didn’t Know Were Sequels

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Telly Vlachakis

Sometimes a movie seems familiar, but you just can’t place it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movies you didn’t know were sequels. For this list, we’ve chosen movies that hid their sequel-ness - whether intentionally or not - either due to a change in scenery, actors, style, title or other elements.

Special thanks to our users Godslayer79for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Transcript
Script written by Telly Vlachakis

Top 10 Sequels You Didn’t Know Were Sequels


Sometimes a movie seems familiar, but you just can’t place it. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movies you didn’t know were sequels.  
 
For this list, we’ve chosen movies that hid their sequel-ness - whether intentionally or not - either due to a change in scenery, actors, style, title or other elements. We’ll be excluding “The Silence of the Lambs,” since it’s not actually a sequel to “Manhunter,” but a standalone film that happens to be the second movie to feature Hannibal Lecter. Similarly, we’ve left out spin-offs, even if they’ve also been called sequels, such as “This Is 40” and “Get Him to the Greek,” as well as franchise films from series like James Bond and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 
  

#10: “My Summer Story” [aka “It Runs in the Family”] (1994)
Sequel to “A Christmas Story” (1983)

Since it came out over a decade after “A Christmas Story,” MGM initially decided to call this sequel “It Runs in the Family” in order to distance it from the holiday classic. However, after becoming a huge financial disaster, MGM retitled the home video release “My Summer Story.” Following the further adventures of young Ralphie Parker, this sequel had all the main actors re-cast, apart from Jean Shepherd as the narrator and Tedde Moore (teddy) as Ralphie’s teacher. Although “A Christmas Story 2” was released in 2012, further erasing “My Summer Story” from the public’s memory, neither film was able to resonate with critics or audiences like the original.  
  

#9: “The Chronicles of Riddick” (2004)
Sequel to “Pitch Black” (2000)

A sleeper hit in 2000, “Pitch Black” had the early makings of a cult classic. This action-packed sci-fi/horror hybrid put Vin Diesel on the map, leading to his roles in blockbusters like “The Fast and the Furious” and “xXx.” Given Diesel’s newfound superstar status, it made sense to make Riddick the title character of this “Pitch Black” sequel. It didn’t hurt that Riddick was the most interesting character in the movie, not to mention the biggest badass. With its larger budget and kickass leading man, this sci-fi adventure flick whetted our appetites for more inter-planetary mercenary chases. Even in complete darkness, Riddick steals the spotlight.
 

#8: “Patriot Games” (1992)
Sequel to “The Hunt for Red October” (1990)

Before Tom Clancy was known for video games, his popularity soared thanks to his series of novels featuring Jack Ryan. This CIA analyst has appeared in five thrilling action flicks so far. Since four different actors have portrayed him, you probably never realized these movies were at all related. Jack Ryan was first portrayed by Alec Baldwin in “The Hunt for Red October,” but the character wasn’t heavily prominent in the marketing for that film. Thus, nobody seemed to notice when Harrison Ford was recast as Ryan in the 1992 sequel, “Patriot Games,” which was so critically and commercially successful that a follow-up with Ford came out 2 years later. But with that being Ford’s last time in the role, it’s safe to say Ryan is a man of many faces.
  

#7: “The Jewel of the Nile” (1985)
Sequel to “Romancing the Stone” (1984)

Before Robert Zemeckis thrilled the world with his "Back to the Future" series, he proved his worth with the adventure comedy "Romancing the Stone". The story of a romance novelist who gets involved with kidnapping plots, treasure hunts and dashing smugglers became a huge award-winning success. Rushed sequels were not that common in the ‘80s, but thrilling adventure films had become a dime a dozen thanks to a little movie called "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Although the main cast of “Romancing the Stone” all returned to the big screen a little over a year later, and “The Jewel of the Nile” did find some box office success, critics were less than pleased with the sequel’s plot holes – and talk of a follow-up to that eventually fell through.
  

#6: “The Two Jakes” (1990)
Sequel to “Chinatown” (1974)

Believe it or not, there is actually a sequel to Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” …and it’s called “The Two Jakes.” In addition to directing, Jack Nicholson reprises his role as an older detective Jake Gittes. Although the film actually received fairly decent reviews, mainstream audiences wereconfused by the title, which seemingly had no connection to its predecessor. On top of that, many film buffs felt that a follow-up to “Chinatown” simply didn’t need to exist. As a result, “The Two Jakes” tanked at the box office and a third film titled “Gittes vs. Gittes” never saw the light of day. That’s not a joke…
  

#5: “The Devil’s Rejects” (2005)
Sequel to “House of 1000 Corpses” (2003)

After Rob Zombie’s directorial debut, “House of 1000 Corpses,” developed an instant cult following among horror fans, so a follow-up was expected. Zombie clearly loves horror, and his first project was a love letter to ghoulish and gory ‘70s grindhouse classics, such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”  “The Devil’s Rejects” follows the first film’s family of murderous maniacs, now on the run for their heinous deeds. The style considerably shifts, as we now find ourselves in a kind of the “Hills Have Eyes” road-trip nightmare, with a “Bonnie and Clyde” criminals-on-the-run scenario. Although both films are now beloved cult-classics, not everyone realized they were witnessing the same psycho family on screen, especially since Zombie likes working with the same actors for his various projects.
  

#4: “The Road Warrior” [aka “Mad Max 2”] (1981)
Sequel to “Mad Max” (1979)

Though it’s now considered one of the greatest action movies of all time, audiences weren’t to blame for not knowing “The Road Warrior” was a sequel to “Mad Max.” While the first film was making its rounds at the time, and slowly gaining cult status, the apocalyptic road-revenge movie hadnot fully reached American shores until 1981, at which point Mel Gibson was still an unknown Australian actor. Originally titled “Mad Max 2,” the sequel was retitled “The Road Warrior” for North American release. Fortunately, a prologue that featured footage from the first movie was included at the beginning of the film, so poor moviegoers unfamiliar with Max Rockatansky wouldn’t be confused.
 

#3: “The Color of Money” (1986)
Sequel to “The Hustler” (1961)

Although “The Hustler” was a classic of ‘60s cinema, young moviegoers in the ‘80s likely flocked to see “The Color of Money” because it starred Tom Cruise. In the film, Cruise plays a young pool hustler and the protégé of an aging Paul Newman. Newman reprises his role as Fast Eddie, who’s now older and looking for an apprentice to take under his wing. The 1986 drama was a big success, finally earning Newman his first Academy Award. Unless you were over the age of 25 at the time, though, chances are you had no clue these two films were connected – or that the first one even existed – with the contrast being even stronger due to the fact that the first was black-and-white and the second was in color.
 

#2: “Desperado” (1995)
Sequel to “El Mariachi” (1992)
In the case of Robert Rodriguez and his big screen sophomore effort, “Desperado,” audiences were unaware the surprise hit was a sequel due in part to the change in language. Both films follow the nameless mariachi and his run-ins with drug gangs, but “El Mariachi” was entirely filmed in Mexico and in Spanish by the American-born Rodriguez with a barely-there budget. But even so it became an indie-film legend. The sequel, however, had a major studio budget, and Antonio Banderas’ rising star power. Therefore, the original title of “El Pistolero” was changed at the studio’s request. Even the final installment in Rodriguez’s Mexico Trilogy, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico,” was released with many audience members unaware of its connection to the previous films.

Before we reveal our top pick, here is an honorable mention:
- “Graffiti Bridge” (1990) 
Sequel to “Purple Rain” (1984)

#1: “Army of Darkness” (1992)
Sequel to “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” (1987)
Horror fans were anxiously awaiting the return of Ash in one of the most anticipated sequels of the ‘90s, especially with the bizarro ending of “Evil Dead II.”  Since Ash would be flung to the 14th century to fight the undead, a bigger budget was needed. Therefore, the third film had major studio backing, thanks to the underground success of the “Evil Dead” films. Sam Raimi’s initial title of “The Medieval Dead” was refused, as was “Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness.” At the behest of Universal Pictures, the film was released simply as “Army of Darkness,” in order to allow the film to stand on its own, making fanboys scratch their heads – though its positive critical reception and cult status proved that they still hailed to the king, baby!

Do you agree with our list?  Which movies did you not know were sequels?  For more entertaining top 10s published daily, don’t forget to subscribe to WatchMojo.com. 

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