The Flix List: Six Unnecessary Big-Budgeted Sequels

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Love them or hate them, Hollywood love to make sequels. Why? Because they’re easy to make and market because audiences are already familiar with the story and characters. Just slap a number after the title and studio executives are happy once the films start making a lot of cash at the box office. Now, I don’t mind sequels as long as they’re good, I mean Hollywood did give us some great sequels, Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, T2: Judgment Day, The Dark Knight and The Godfather Part 2 are just some good examples. But for every great sequel Hollywood gave us, there are a dozen bad ones. For this article I want to list some of the sequels that I couldn’t understand why they were made in the first place.

  1. Alien: Resurrection

    When Fox announced they were going to make another Alien film; a lot of people in the industry sort of scratched their heads and asked why? Alien 3 was a huge box office failure and it never garnered any cult following. Rumors started going around in mid 1995 that Sigourney Weaver was going to reprise her role as Ripley and people thought didn’t she die in Alien 3? Well not only did Fox convinced her to come back, they also put up big money to back the project, $70mil to be exact; this was back in the 1990s so that was a huge budget. The film opened on Thanksgiving weekend of 1997 and it earned a respectable number on opening weekend but unfortunately the film was so bad, it didn’t get a repeat business and with bad word of mouth, it only earned $47mil here in the States.
    ///
    Of course this didn’t stop Fox from pursuing to make more films about the Alien saga; they made two awful Alien vs. Predator films. Then they somehow convinced Ridley Scott to come back and make prequel to his original Alien film. Now none of us know how the new film will turn out but I kept thinking to myself, why keep making these films? I mean they lost huge sums of money on Alien 3 and Resurrection yet Fox just refuse to let this franchise die. I’m sure if the new film is a big hit, then we’ll definitely see more Alien films down the road.
  2. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

    Now I’m actually looking forward to see this fourth M:I film and I’m huge fan of the franchise. But after the so-so box office take of the last film, I didn’t think we’d see another M:I film for a long time, if ever. Some rumors going around was that this one is actually a reboot, but for it to be qualified as a reboot, the franchise would need a new leading man. From the trailers and clips I’ve seen so far, it’s still a Tom Cruise film. When the third film came out, no one was really interested in seeing it. Tom Cruise was probably the most hated celebrity on the planet, right behind Mel Gibson around that time and the poor box office take confirmed it.

    The first film earned over $180mil, the second made well over $200mil but the third one a made ‘measly’ $133mil. Paramount actually ended its partnership with Cruise and his business partner after the poor earnings of M: I-3. Rumors even went around that they were looking to reboot the franchise with a new leading man and Brad Pitt was even mentioned as the leading candidate to take over. As we all know, that never happened and now Cruise is back on another mission and even though I’m scratching my head as to why they made this fourth entry, I’m pretty excited to see it on the giant IMAX screen.
  3. The Chronicles of Riddick

    This sequel to Pitch Black is probably one of the worst sequels I’ve ever seen and again I still don’t know how or why it was made in the first place. I mean Pitch Black didn’t earned that much at the box office and yes it did have some cult following, but I didn’t think it was enough to earn a sequel. But somehow director David Twohy and Vin Diesel convinced Universal to give them over $110mil to make this film. The movie opened in the summer of 2004 and unsurprisingly earned a lot less than its budget, $57mil to be exact. Apparently both Twohy and Diesel are shooting a third Riddick film as we speak, and some independent studio is financing it. Didn’t they see the earning of the last film? Seriously, I think whoever is in charge of that studio needs to put a stop to this right away. I’m speaking for myself here but I don’t need to see another film about Riddick, he’s not that interesting of a character and I know a lot of people agrees with me.
  4. Escape from L.A.

    This sequel to John Carpenter’s 1981 Escape from N.Y. was another head-scratcher. Throughout most of the 80s and 90s, Escape from N.Y. was and still is considered a cult hit but no one really expected to see a sequel from it. Well somehow Paramount Pictures thought it would be a good idea to re-team Kurt Russell and John Carpenter for another film about Snake Plissken’s escape. When this film was announced, no one was really excited to see it, except for maybe the Paramount executives who green-lit the project. Again this was one of the most dreadful sequels I’ve ever seen, the film came out in the early days of CGI and the effects were quite bad, even for its time. If you watch the film now, you’ll laugh your ass off at how bad the effects looked. Not surprisingly it tanked at the box office and I think this was the last film Carpenter made that has a huge budget.

    A couple of years ago, New Line was ready to start shooting a reboot version of Escape from N.Y. but they ran into some financial troubles, so now it’s stuck in limbo. I think most people will agree with me that we don’t need to see another film about Snake Plissken right? Just like Riddick, he’s not that interesting of a character.
  5. Rocky Balboa & Rambo 4
    I’m cheating here since I combined both of these films together but let’s be honest, did any of us ask to see another film about Rocky or Rambo? No, but somehow Stallone was able convince two movie studios to get both films off the ground! I actually enjoyed Rocky Balboa quite a bit, not so much with Rambo 4 though. After the critical and financial failure of Rocky 5, I don’t think anyone except maybe Stallone, expected to see another Rocky film. Like I mentioned before, I actually enjoyed the sixth Rocky film quite a bit, it was a throwback to the first film and Stallone was pretty good in it. Rambo 4 on the hand was pretty dreadful, I mean the film has no plot and the last 20 minutes or so was just carnage. I know that Stallone’s been trying to get the fourth Rambo film made since the mid 90s but because of his diminishing box office power, no studio wanted to make it.

    Of course as we all know, these two films actually rejuvenated Stallone’s sagging career and it seems he’s back doing big action films again. But I kept thinking to myself, why in the heck did the movie studios decided to make these films in the first place? Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of the biggest fans of both the Rocky and Rambo franchises but I still believe they’re totally unnecessary sequels that shouldn’t have been made. Couldn’t the studios spent money on other (read: better) scripts?
  6. Terminator: Salvation

    This sequel might be best remembered for its behind the scenes drama when an audio clip of Christian Bale berating the director of photography was leaked online. After the third film almost bankrupt the production companies that financed it, no one really expected to see another Terminator film for a long time. So when the project was announced in 2007, I don’t think many people were excited to see the film, probably because McG was attached the direct it. It opened in May of 2009 and didn’t really make a dent at the box office. I thought the movie was decent, definitely better than Terminator 3 but it could’ve been a lot better. The rights of the film have been sold to another production company and we may see the fifth film soon. I think the franchise has run its course and should be put to rest now.

Honorable Mentions:

Well actually these are the sequels many people wanted to see but wish they never got made.

  • Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
    After Last Crusade came out 1989, Indiana Jones fans were expecting to see another Dr. Jones’ adventure right away but it took Spielberg, Ford and Lucas 19 years to deliver another film to fans. Well, even after ALL that time, the film turned out be quite a disappointment. I actually enjoyed it the first time I saw it in theater but after watching it for the second time, I thought it was one of the worst films of 2008. The film didn’t have the fun and sense of wonder as the previous three and it didn’t help that they cast Shia LaBeouf as Jones Jr. He just annoys the heck out of me.
  • The Matrix Reloaded & Revolutions
    After the mega success of the original Matrix film, fans were clamoring for sequels since the first one sort of ended in a cliffhanger. Of course we got our wish when Warner Bros. greenlit the sequels and decided to let The Wachowskis shoot the films back to back. Both films came out in 2003, Reloaded opened in May and Revolutions in November. Even though Reloaded was a huge hit, Revolutions didn’t fare too well. Probably because after people saw Reloaded and were quite disappointed with it; they decided to not go see the final film. I’m one of those people who were pretty disappointed with the film, besides the awesome highway car chase scene, the film had nothing else that interest me. I did go see Revolutions in theater but I thought it was even worse than the second film.
  • All of the sequels of Psycho
    I’m not big into Alfred Hitchcock’s films but I remember seeing the original Psycho when I was very young and it freaked me out. Of course I decided to seek out the sequels and wish I hadn’t. Psycho 2, 3 and 4 (which was actually a prequel) were quite awful. Obviously the only reason those films got made in the first place was for money, they came out in the 80s and early 90s, around the time when slasher films were quite popular. For those who have not seen the sequels, I advise you to stay away from them at all cost.

TedS_post


What do you think folks? Are you a fan of any of these sequels, or are you like me and think these films shouldn’t have been made in the first place? Let’s see your list of unnecessary sequels.

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45 thoughts on “The Flix List: Six Unnecessary Big-Budgeted Sequels

  1. I like to pretend there are no Matrix sequels. Sort of like “There is no spoon”. Out of all the ones you mentioned the only one I’m going to see it M:I GP. I wasn’t sure of the Box Office of the third outing, but it was a good movie. Tom Cruise owns that role now, similar to Stallone/Rocky. I bought the Alien boxset blind, based on the strength of the first two films and you know what I’ve never seen the 3rd and 4th. I believe if I’m tired of seeing these characters then I don’t care if there’s another sequel, I won’t pay.

    I love the Rocky franchise and to this day I have yet to see Rocky Balboa. I guess it was pretty good though.

    1. Ted S.

      Same here Max, I just refuse to believe that The Matrix sequels ever existed. I liked Alien 3 but the 4th one was pretty bad.

      Give Rocky Balboa a try, you might like it.

  2. I think #1 is definitely Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull for me. I know that people were clamoring for more Indiana Jones, but it ends up lessening the originals but being so goofy. The Matrix sequels also do the same thing and diminish the great original. I agree with you that Rocky Balboa is good and would actually go further and remove it from this list. After the mess of Rocky 5, the sixth film actually does a service to the series and gives it the right kind of ending. The premise is ridiculous, but Stallone sells it. I like to think that this is the next movie after Rocky 4. I totally agree about Escape from LA, which is so disappointing and dumb.

    1. Ted S.

      Ha ha, I almost put Indiana Jones 4 at #1 but then people were expecting Spielberg and Lucas to make it and this article is about the sequels we didn’t ask for.

      I still laugh every time I see the awful “special effects” in Escape From L.A.

  3. The Godfather III comes to mind but Francis really needed the money to finance his studio so I’ll give him a pass for all the great work he’s did in the 70’s. If you didn’t have the first 2 films to compare it against it’s really a pretty good film.

    1. Ted S.

      Good call Dave, I totally forgot about The Godfather 3 and you’re right, if the first two films didn’t exist then it’s actually good movie.

  4. I got dragged to see ‘Escape From LA.’ I was outvoted. But that’s not the worst part.

    The worst part is that I saw it before ‘Escape From New York.’

  5. THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK was actually a marvelous sf film, one of the best ones in its sf saga genre. It was detailed, multilayered, visually stunning with breathtaking sets and costumes and visual effects, the story was well developed and intriguing and also diverse, the action was exciting, it had a lot of memorable legendary scenes, and above all it had the most amazing cast including such amazing thespians as Karl Urban, Colm Feore, Judi Dench and Thandie Newton, and Vin was great in his action role.
    It was trashed only by ignorant fanboys who are always intimated by sf and historical epics.
    When it comes to extremely bad sequels, I would put DARK KNIGHT and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN high on that list. The first one was morbid, visionless and monotonous, while PIRATES were just boring and pointless.

    1. Ted S.

      Dez, you and I have different taste in films. I thought Riddick was just awful, I didn’t care for the story and I thought the visuals were pretty sub par. I agree with you about the cast, unfortunately the script was so bad I feel asleep a few times while watching it.

      I’m not sure what you meant by this: “It was trashed only by ignorant fanboys who are always intimated by sf and historical epics.” Care to explain?

      I’m not a big fan of the Pirates of the Carribean films either but I thought The Dark Knight’s one of the best sequels ever made.

      1. I’m not a big Vin Diesel fan so I never saw the two movies although he was really great in Lumet’s “Find Me Guilty”. Highly recommended.

        Fun Fact: Spinoff video games are notorious for being horrible due to the speed at which they have to be created to be able to sync up with the movie’s release date. THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK video game for the Xbox is considered one of the very best if not the best spinoff from a film. I played it…. good stuff.

        The Dark Knight was truly brilliant for too many reasons to go in to here. One of the only sequels that’s better than the original film. I’d put it up there with The Godfather II.

  6. I haven’t seen too many of these but I still remember the hollow feeling Indiana Jones 4 gave me…it was a bunch of ideas & special effects thrown together without plot or character development….ugh.

    1. Ted S.

      You didn’t miss much Paula, it’s sad that the studios spent so much money on these films when they could invest their money on better scripts.

  7. Hi, Ruth and company:

    I cannot disagree with your choices.

    Even Dame Judi Densch couldn’t pull the film from the doldrums of Thandie Newton and Colm Feore.

    Sigourney Weaver footed the bill for ‘Alien: Resurrection and got exactly what she paid for. A film that stinks on ice on many levels!

    Was never really a fan of the flash bang, gee whiz ‘Mission Impossible’ film franchise. Still prefer the series with Dan Briggs and later, Jim Phelps.

    ‘Rocky’, ‘Rambo’, ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘The Matrix’ should have ended after their first outings.

    There is only one ‘Psycho’ and Hitchcock made it back in 1960!

      1. Ted S.

        No problem Jack.

        I know there are few more sequels I forgot to put on the list, it’s sad that Hollywood seems to love making sequels, unfortunately they keep making a lot of bad ones.

        1. The thing is Ted, Hollywood loves the sequel because it has a built in audience meaning $$$ in that all important first week window that usually makes or breaks a film. Notice that lawyers and accountants run the studios and not film aficionados. The Weinstein’s are the closest thing to film aficionados that there is out there.

  8. A very interesting read, Ted. I agree that Terminator salvation is way better than the 3rd one…but I also have no interest of seeing it in cinema when it came out. I regretted that because when I saw it in DVD,it was actually worth to be seen in cinema.

    Ah…the last Indiana disappoint me so bad with that unnecessary alien thing. as for Matrix sequel,if not for the great effect, it’s not worth seeing it. The first was the best both in story and visual effect.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Novroz, I did see Terminator 4 in theater and I actually hated it. A couple of years later I watched it again and didn’t mind it as much. Indiana Jones 4 on the other hand, I liked it the first time but the second I saw it, I hated it.

    1. Indeed John! And it’s not even the ‘so bad it’s good’ case. I can’t believe after 19 years that’s all Spielberg & co. could come up with!

      1. I bet in 30 years, people might see it that way- “so bad, it’s good”. I could definitely see a bunch of Indy fans sitting around, watching that movie, and laughing at how bad it was.

        But for now, the disappointment is too fresh.

  9. I kinda loved Pitch Black so I totally agree The Chronicles of Riddick was totally unnecessary. Ok maybe not that, but it was very poorly executed.

    I didn’t mind Terminator: Salvation that much but seeing it a second time on TV a week or two ago, it certainly is very forgettable and doesn’t really “feel” like a Terminator movie.

    1. I don’t LOVE it, but I thought Terminator Salvation was still watchable. I actually like Worthington as the cyborg, his expressionless face is just PERFECT for this role 🙂

    2. Ted S.

      Yeah I liked Pitch Black quite a bit and was looking forward to Riddick but wow it was bad.

      I hated Terminator Salvation at first but after seeing for the second time, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. It could’ve been much much better considering how much money they’ve spent on it.

  10. Ted! I gotta say “amen” to so much in this post! haha!

    Mission Impossible: the 3rd one was just an action film at best and nothing at all in the style of a “Mission Impossible” film. I hope the 4th one is so much better.

    The Matrix sequels undoubtedly needed to be mentioned, right there with Indy!

    Escape from NY/LA! haha did you see Guy Pearce’s new trailer for Lock-Out that is pretty much Escape from NY? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ-9a_30wRQ

    What a great post man! Thanks for it!

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks T. and I agree about M: I-3, it’s definitely my least favorite of the series. So far a lot of people are saying the 4th one is as good or better than the first film.

      Yeah saw that trailer of Pearce’s new film, probably a rental for me.

  11. Nice list and completely agree with you on Terminator Salvation. Absolutely hated it. Actually enjoyed Chronicles of Riddick and even rewatched it (not in the cinema though). No surprise then that I’m looking forward to the next installement. The thing is that since Vin Diesel is in it I will watch it (seen almost anything he was in).

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Nostra, I like Vin Diesel too but Riddick just didn’t work for me. Maybe the third film might be better, heck I didn’t really care for his Fast & Furious franchise but I had a great time watching Fast Five.

  12. With the exception of Escape from LA, I actually enjoyed all the listed sequels you’ve mentioned…. I even enjoyed the first Alien vs Predator film, for all its faults.

    If you wants sequels to crappy films, how on Earth did they get to Police Academy 5?

  13. HAHA I seem to agree with Rodney where ever I go.

    I am the same, I actually enjoyed all the films listed. Especially the Rocky and Rambo ones and even the Riddick film!!

    I obviously have no taste!

  14. I’m with you, Ted! Whenever a sequel is announced – or a remake, for that matter – I often scratch my head and wonder why!

    In some cases they really work but in other cases the films merge into one and you’re unsure of what happened in which film.

  15. I’m behind you on everything here except for the Stallone films. Balboa compliments the Rocky series and bookends it very successfully, while Rambo 4 is, well, just a great John Rambo movie. I’m as surprised as anyone that either of them were made in the first place, but I don’t think that that means they’re unnecessary.

    Truthfully, I don’t think I’d lose sleep if Rambo 4 was erased from existence– but Balboa is really, really great and could almost rival the original in terms of quality. It’s an incredibly strong movie.

    My own pick for this would be Spider-Man 3 or X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Maybe Wolverine can be ignored as part of franchise canon, but it doesn’t do anything to justify its existence or its presence among the other three films (even the truly awful X-Men 3— which, I admit, I thought about putting down over Wolverine!). As for Spider-Man 3, it doesn’t hold up against the other movies; it’s overstuffed and the previously established characters are made somewhat bland by virtue of the film being so bloated.

    Also: Every Jaws movie but the original.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah I was hesitant to include Rocky Balboa on the list, I agree with you that it’s a great film. Somehow I just couldn’t get into Rambo 4 and I love all of the other Rambo films, even the bloated 3rd one.

      Agree on the Spidey 3 and Wolverine, those were awful awful sequels.

      Ha ha, wow I totally forgot about the Jaws sequels, good thing I guess.

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