The Worst Movie Sequels of All Time

Just because a movie was a hit doesn’t mean it needs a sequel. However, whether studio execs were desperate to cash in on the success of the first film, or they were simply out of new ideas, the atrocious sequels on this list were somehow greenlit. And the results were as bad as they sounded on paper. 

Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)

The original Speed can only be described as dumb fun. Speed 2, however, takes the fun out of the equation. In the original, terrorists rig a bus to explode if its speed falls below 50 miles per hour. It’s a silly concept, sure, but it makes for non-stop action that effectively switches off the viewers’ brains. In the sequel, the same plot device is applied to a cruise ship that cannot fall below 20 miles per hour. Speed 2’s pacing reflects this; it is slow-moving and boring. And without the original’s star Keanu Reeves, there’s nothing here that’s worth watching.

Son of the Mask (2005)

Jamie Kennedy, star of the so-bad-it’s-good classic Malibu’s Most Wanted, gets a lot of hate that is arguably undeserved. But realistically, he’s no Jim Carrey. His replacement of the The Mask star in sequel Son of the Mask only proved Carrey’s irreplicable genius. Anyone who’s seen Son of the Mask will be shocked to learn that its budget was four times that of the original film. This just proves that money is no substitute for star power. 

Basic Instinct 2 (2006)

1992’s hit thriller Basic Instinct garnered over $350 million at the box office. To this day, it is widely considered a neo-noir classic. However, when a sequel was announced 14 years after its release, even fans were scratching their heads, as the film’s ending didn’t imply any need for a continuation of the story.

Basic Instinct 2 sees Sharon Stone reprising her role as Catherine Tramell. But here she is clearly going through the motions. It’s as if even she knew this film was nothing more than a grab or cash. And it didn’t even succeed at that. The sequel only grossed a tenth of the original’s box office revenue.

S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale (2009)

2003’s Donnie Darko was many millennials’ first foray into the world of independent cinema. It was a mind-bending journey of a sci-fi film that—even with all its fantastical elements—accurately reflected the human experience. S. Darko, on the other hand, feels like bad fanfiction. The only thing it has in common with the original is that its titular character is related to the titular character of the first film. It is so clearly an attempt to cash in on the surge in popularity that Donnie Darko saw in the late ‘00s. 

Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)

One Baby Geniuses film is bad enough, but did there really need to be a second? Who is this for, exactly? Not even children were vying for a film about toddler superheroes. Its lack of a real target audience was reflected in its box office performance: the film earned about half of its budget. A low point in the career of director Bob Clark (of Black Christmas, Porky’s, and A Christmas Story fame), it is sadly his last film, as he was killed by a drunk driver in 2007. 

A Christmas Story 2 (2012)

A Christmas Story 2 explores the teenage years of the series’ protagonist Ralphie. Seeing as it was filmed nearly 30 after its predecessor, none of the original cast reprises their roles. The new cast, while not made up of bad actors, feel awkward in their attempts to recapture the magic of the Christmas classic. The entire film is basically a compilation of bizarre recreations of scenes in the original. (For example, Flick again sticks his tongue where he shouldn’t, this time in a suction tube.)

Apparently, yet another Christmas Story sequel is soon to be released, this one starring Peter Billingsley, the actor who played Ralphie in the original.

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Jaws: The Revenge sees a shark seeking revenge against the people who murdered its shark brethren in the previous Jaws films. If this wasn’t ridiculous enough, said shark follows the film’s protagonist 1,100 miles across the world in its quest for vengeance. That is one smart shark. By the time Jaws: The Revenge was released, the horrifying realism of the first film was long gone from the series.

Caddyshack 2 (1988)

Original Caddyshack writer and director Harold Ramis had no interest in creating a sequel. However, due to pressure from the studio, he agreed to do so on the one condition that actor Rodney Dangerfield be involved. For a short time, Dangerfield was on board with the project. But a falling out between Dangerfield and the studio made Ramis abandon the film.

The studio moved forward without him, producing an uninspired mess of a film. Chevy Chase is the only actor from the first Caddyshack to appear in the sequel. And his appearance is nothing more than a glorified cameo.

Staying Alive (1983)

The Sylvester Stallone-directed Staying Alive is a sequel to Saturday Night Fever and sees John Travolta reprising his role as Tony Manero. Now a NYC-based dance instructor, Manero dreams of making it on Broadway. The film will make you question whether or not Stallone had ever even seen a play himself, as it is not at all grounded in realism. It is one of the only films to hold a 0% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

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