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When Sequels Fail At The Box Office

When Sequels Fail At The Box Office

When Sequels Fail At The Box Office
13 October 2014

After a film is released and ends up making a load of money, it's a natural assumption that more of the same will make even more cash. 

And yes, time and time again, this simplistic business prediction turns out rather nicely for the safety-conscious studios. But for every Fast and Furious, there's a Basic Instinct. Here are seven examples of sequels that fans were not remotely interested in watching.

The X Files: I Want To Believe

Original box office: $189m

Sequel box office: $68m

Released while X Files mania was still an actual thing (hands up if you also owned the theme tune on cassette single), the first, and really quite entertaining, big screen adventure was greeted with positive reviews and an impressive box office total. After the show ended in 2001, another movie was planned to follow on but a number of delays meant that the film didn't get released until 2008, by which time the fanbase had well and truly shrunk. The reviews were tepid at best and the box office similar. Rumours of a third have quickly died down...


Basic Instinct 2

Original box office: $352m

Sequel box office: $38m

No one really expected the first film, a luridly erotic Hitchcockian thriller, to be a hit. Well, at least not a whopping $352 million worldwide hit. Not only did it pull in the crowds but it managed to thrust its way into the public consciousness to become a genuine pop culture phenomenon. But despite the tease of an ending, it didn't exactly scream "franchise", not that Sharon Stone cared. Desperate to inhabit the character again, she went through a variety of directors (including, fascinatingly, David Cronenberg) and a lawsuit before making the critically loathed, London-set sequel a massive 14 years later. Audiences wisely stayed far away.


Sin City 2: A Dame To Kill For

Original box office: $158m

Sequel box office: $35m

When the first film came out, it felt like something rather unique, at least in the presentation. Rather than adapting a graphic novel for the big screen and stripping it of its visual style, the film went to great efforts to replicate the mood and aesthetics of the original source material, making it a hit with fans, as well as the uninitiated. A sequel was greenlit but a tortured pre-production (which saw stars such as Angelina Jolie come and go), meant that a whopping nine years elapsed before the sequel finally crawled into cinemas. The result? Sin City made more in one day than Sin City 2 made in 10. Sin City 3 seems unlikely...


Grease 2

Original box office: $394m

Sequel box office: $15m

After Grease became a monstrous worldwide hit, Paramount wanted to turn it into a franchise, with three more films and a TV series. But their first attempt, the uninspired sequel Grease 2, failed to set the box office alight on release. Original cast members John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing refused to star and the film relied on unknowns Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfieffer to suffer the blows. Unsurprisingly, the film killed off any ambitious plans to do more with the brand. 


The Exorcist II: The Heretic

Original box office: $441m

Sequel box office: $30m

While writer William Peter Blatty and director William Friedkin were utterly uninterested in being involved in a followup to their Oscar-winning smash hit horror The Exorcist, the phenomenal box office meant that a sequel was a no-brainer for Warners. But the production was troublesome. A script that was being rewritten constantly throughout filming, on-set illness and budget contstraints meant that it was a mess and one which critics tore apart and audiences failed to see. Reactions to the first public screening were so bad that punters were reportedly chasing Warner executives down the street. 


The Sting II

Original box office: $160m

Sequel box office: $6m

Despite making a shedload of money at the box office and winning seven Oscars, The Sting wasn't a film that screamed out for a sequel. But a worrying 10 years later, out popped The Sting II, malformed and malnourished. Strangely, despite the title, the director stated that it was "inspired by" the first film, rather than a continuation. This meant that the two leads were loosely the same characters from the original but there were key changes. Audiences were confused or maybe just apathetic as the film made a paltry amount of money, although it did score an Oscar nomination for Best Musical Score.


Son Of The Mask

Original box office: $351m

Sequel box office: $58m

Even those who found Jim Carrey;s rubber-faced shtick obnoxious would have found it hard to fault The Mask for sheer entertainment value. Along with a star-making role from Cameron Diaz, Carrey anchored the movie, something which New Line should have remembered when going forward with this doomed sequel. Carrey had originally agreed to make The Mask II but his experience of a sequel to Ace Ventura had changed his mind. Then, 11 years after the original was released. Jamie Kennedy, aka no Jim Carrey, took on the lead in this critically lambasted follow up, which was the most nominated film at the 2005 Razzies.