Since D. W. Griffith’s 1915 “The Birth of a Nation” was followed by “The Fall of a Nation” just one year later, movie sequels have been a Hollywood standard. Movie sequels are made in order to capitalize on an initial film’s success, and today nearly every successful Hollywood release has its own franchise.
The logic from a financial perspective is clear: a studio that can establish a fanbase to a franchise rather than a single film can practically guarantee future profits. Furthermore, audiences have made it clear they will grant loyalty to film series.
24/7 Wall St. has identified the 25 best and 25 worst movie sequels based on metrics such as box office gross and online ratings. All but five of the best grossed over $100 million at the domestic box office, conversely only one of the worst surpassed that benchmark.
George Lucas’ 1977 “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” is one of the earliest examples of a major Hollywood blockbuster to generate a hugely successful film franchise in its wake. The first film, “A New Hope,” made $786 million at the worldwide box office — the highest grossing film ever at the time of its release. The series — under which nine films have so far been released — has earned over $7.6 billion worldwide — one of the top-earning franchises in all of movie history.
Since the success of Star Wars, studios have found success with a number of other film series, such as those based on the books by J. K. Rowling and J. R. R. Tolkien. Nearly every popular superhero movie is followed up by sequels, including those about Spider-man, Batman, and the X-Men. Sequels for children’s films such as “Shrek” and “Despicable Me” are also highly popular.