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These Are 8 of the Worst Sequels Ever Made

Movie sequels can often be a dime a dozen, getting churned out in an effort to capitalize on the success of originals. While sometimes these follow-ups can concoct the perfect formula with fresh elements and a unique spin, more often than not they fail to deliver to the masses. Many sequels are cheap imitators of their predecessors and lack both originality and depth, becoming a clear money grab that is insulting to fans of the first. These efforts at attempting to replicate a picture’s magic have rightfully earned the scorn of film critics and audiences alike.

From dreadful sequels of classic cinematic darlings like Grease 2 and Caddyshack II, to a knock-off of a cult sensation with Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, movie studios have truly pushed out some deeply disappointing and universally panned follow-up flicks. Who possibly could have thought a slow-moving cruise ship could ever live up to the pulse-pounding action of 1994’s Speed? No one, that’s who. Let’s take a look at eight of the worst sequels ever made.

8 Grease 2

Paramount Pictures

One of the most beloved and popular musicals of all time, 1978’s Grease features John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as the iconic star-crossed lovers Danny and Sandy, and went on to become the highest-grossing musical ever made at the time. Known for its epic soundtrack, killer 1950s aesthetic and gifted supporting cast, Grease remains a cherished cinema classic. The blockbuster’s producers seemingly wanted to replicate that movie magic, and attempted to do so with the 1982 sequel Grease 2. Starring Maxwell Caufield and Michelle Pfeiffer in her debut leading role, the rom-com musical follows Pink Ladies leader Stephanie (Pfeiffer) as she finds herself falling for English exchange student Michael (Caufield), Sandy’s cousin. Very few of Grease’s original cast returned, and its unoriginal screenplay and lackluster soundtrack led to a poor critical and commercial reaction. Famed critic Roger Ebert hit the nail on the head when describing the film, saying “This movie just recycles Grease, without the stars, without the energy, without the freshness and without the grease.” Hopefully the upcoming prequel series from Paramount fares much better.

Related: Best Movie Musicals of the 21st Century, So Far

7 Book of Shadow: Blair Witch 2

Artisan Entertainment

The follow-up to the groundbreaking found footage film The Blair Witch Project, 2000’s Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 follows a group of people fascinated by the lore around the original film; they decide to go back to Black Hills and investigate the haunted land for themselves. The sequel was criticized for its lack of creativity and uninspired dialogue and premise, with many feeling that the pacing and scares were muddled and flat in delivery. The music, acting, sets, photography, and ideas all just seemed cheap. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a “D-” grade, and it currently holds a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 14%. Many felt the motivation behind the sequel was pure greed, which is why it was released just a year after the first; Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 fittingly won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worse Remake or Sequel.

6 Son of the Mask

New Line Cinema

Widely considered one of the worst films of all time, 2005’s Son of the Mask is the standalone sequel to the Jim Carrey superhero comedy hit The Mask, and stars Jamie Kennedy and (for some reason) Alan Cumming and Bob Hoskins. A sequel was in development shortly after the original’s release, with Jim Carrey being offered $10 million to return for The Mask II; the star turned it down due to feeling that returning to a previously played character offered him no challenges as an actor. The project stalled before coming to fruition with Son of the Mask, which follows an aspiring animator from Fringe City who has had his first child born with the powers of the Mask. The flick was a box office bomb and critical failure, and was panned by moviegoers and critics alike for its poor plot and inappropriate moments. Reviewer Richard Roeper commented, “In the five years I’ve been co-hosting this show, this is the closest I’ve ever come to walking out halfway through the film, and now that I look back on the experience, I wish I had.”

5 Speed 2: Cruise Control

20th Century Fox

1994’s bus-with-a-bomb action extravaganza Speed famously depicts a bus rigged by a terrorist that is set to explode if its speed falls below 50 miles per hour, and is led by Hollywood heavy-hitters Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. Not only was the film a box office smash, it also won two Academy Awards and further propelled its leads to superstardom. Speed’s director Jan de Bont came up with the premise for a sequel from a recurring nightmare he had about a cruise ship crashing into an island. Some dreams are better left unmentioned; despite Bullock returning, the follow-up would go down in infamy as one of the worst sequels of all time. Speed 2: Cruise Control tanked with moviegoers and critics, with harsh remarks garnered for its setting on a slow-moving cruise ship, wooden characters and laughable dialogue. Bullock herself regrets the sequel and “knew it was going to be a big flop” once she saw the finished product.

Explained: How Franchise Culture is Killing Independent Cinema

4 Staying Alive

Paramount Pictures

Directed by Sylvester Stallone with John Travolta reviving his famous role as Tony Manero, 1983’s Staying Alive is the sequel to the musical hit Saturday Night Fever and centers on Manero as an NYC dance teacher with big Broadway dreams. Despite being a box office success, Staying Alive was scorned by critics and currently has a rare approval rating of 0%on Rotten Tomatoes; it is the oldest film to hold that score. Many critiques were aimed at the musical’s lack of heart and dramatic depth like that of the original and was deemed unnecessary. In 2006, Entertainment Weekly dubbed the film as the “Worst Sequel Ever,” and it is listed in The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.

3 Caddyshack II

Warner Bros.

1988’s sports comedy flick Caddyshack II is the follow-up to the cult classic original and stars Jackie Mason, Dan Aykroyd, Robert Stack, and a returning Chevy Chase. The sequel was panned by audiences and critics, with scathing reviews for its laughless script and lazy storytelling the main focus of their ire. Chase was the only original cast member to reprise his role, though he would publicly announce later that he regretted doing so. Much of the cast was unhappy with the film, with Chase disgustedly telling director Allan Arkush during post-production, “Call me when you’ve dubbed the laugh track.” Caddyshack II earned $11 million on a budget of $20 million, tanking with audiences and winning two Golden Raspberry Awards.

2 Batman & Robin

Batman and Robin, Warner Bros.
Batman and Robin, Warner Bros.

Known as the film that almost killed an entire franchise and one of the worst in cinema history, 1997’s Batman & Robin features George Clooney as the famed caped crusader as he battles to protect Gotham City from Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy. With a stacked A-list cast like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman, the sequel should have been a slam dunk, but that was simply not the case. Batman & Robin was a box office disappointment and was put through the ringer by critics; it would go on to become one of the worst superhero movies of all time. Director Joel Schumacher blamed the flick’s failure on Warner Bros.’ decision to fast-track production. George Clooney himself spoke critically of the picture, having called it “a waste of money” and proclaiming, “I think we might have killed the franchise.” Thankfully, that was not the case, and Batman would continue to save the day in the Christopher Nolan trilogy, along with the anticipated The Batman reboot.

1 Mean Girls 2

Paramount Home Entertainment

Many films are better left untouched, as is the case with writer Tina Fey’s teen comedy classic Mean Girls. The 2004 phenomenon tells the story of a naive teenage girl as she attempts to navigate the ups and downs of adolescence and social hierarchy after years of being homeschooled. She gets sucked into the vapid orbit of the “It” girls, The Plastics, and undergoes an epic journey of self-exploration. Mean Girls stars Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams and was a commercial and critical hit, and would go on to develop a cult following. Its 2011 sequel, simply titled Mean Girls 2, once again tackles the clique warfare concept with far less lucrative results. Tim Meadows was the only original cast member to return, reprising his role as the principal. The follow-up was criticized for its recycled plot of the original, with Entertainment Weekly calling it a “thinly veiled, low-budget remake of the 2004 hit with which it shares a name.” It may be the epitome of cheap, soulless cinematic cash-grabs.

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