It has been said that there are no new ideas in Hollywood. If a film is successful, odds are that it will get at least one sequel. In fact, many films these days are designed from the beginning to be part of a larger cinematic universe, with follow-up films in the works even before the first flick hits theaters.
Audiences tend to gravitate towards movies with familiar themes and characters, assuming that if they liked a film, its follow-ups should be enjoyable as well. But this is not always the case – many of the most beloved franchises in cinema history have put out at least one film that missed the mark, that didn’t live up to the original – or to the other entries in the franchise.
To determine the worst movie from every major franchise, 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of May 2022, weighting all ratings equally. We identified the worst-rated movie in the 65 highest-grossing franchises. Franchises were ordered according to total inflation-adjusted domestic box office, using data from film industry data site The Numbers.
There are many reasons a movie sequel can flop. Sometimes writers, directors, or actors from earlier iterations leave for different projects, and their replacements can fail to recapture the magic. Other follow-ups can turn into cynical cash grabs, as the studio puts very little effort into the film in the hopes that familiar characters will be enough to lure fans to the theater.
The farther a film franchise gets away from the original movie, the more often challenges can arise. Many of the films on this list are fifth, sixth, or even later on in the lineage of their franchise, and can end up being downright awful. They don’t just fail to live up to previous movies, but end up being some of the biggest duds in Hollywood history. These are the 25 worst movie sequels of all time.
Movie sequels aren’t always a miss, though. Some studios realize what made the original films successful and reapply that formula over and over again, to the delight of audiences. For some of the franchises on this list, even the lowest-rated entry was still pretty good. These are the best movie sequels of all time.
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