Sequels are something that keeps Hollywood chugging along since any remotely successful film would see studios scrambling for getting a follow-up in production as early as possible. This actually makes sense because why you need to roll the dice on a bold new IP when you can make a safe bet on a name brand that is already so successful. It is always easy to spot a lazy dud sequel coming from a mile away, every so often a no-expectations sequel ends up surprising everyone.
There have been a few sequels that got a mixed reaction from the audience when they were first announced. The skepticism was highly justified in every case, whether a result of the series’ prior failures or a fact that the story did not necessitate into another movie. But the sequel defied all odds for delivering the most entertaining follow-ups that were even ranked among the best entries in their respective franchises.
1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
When a new Jumanji movie was announced, fans of the original 1995 film were not happy. It was later confirmed to be a continuity sequel and still fans were worried that it might tarnish the original’s legacy. The film also provided a small and respectful tribute to Williams’ character from the original but mostly went ahead with its own story. Shockingly, the film received positive reviews from critics and grossed $962.2 million worldwide. Its sequel, Jumanji: The Next Level was immediately announced and it was equally successful as its predecessor.
2. Zombieland: Double Tap
When horror-comedy Zombieland was a hit in 2009, fans were waiting to see a sequel. Zombieland: Double Tap was preparing for a release in 2019 but fans thought that the window of opportunity has passed away. Director Ruben Fleischer’s films after Zombieland were also not much loved by the critics and audiences. But Zombieland: Double Tap was a surprise for everyone. It was called a reverent and worthy sequel that earned profit from the returning cast, neat cameos, bonkers action, and killer one-liners. Though it was not able to match the level of the first film, it was better than expected.
3. Rocky Balboa
1990’s Rocky V was not much loved by the audiences like its predecessors. The announcement of the sixth film was mocked by the fans of the series who had forgotten about it and thought Stallone getting back into the ring at the age of 60 would only reopen wounds. But Rocky Balboa was named as the best among all Rocky sequels. It gave a deserving end to Rocky and ditched the brain damage subplot from Rocky V for allowing the character to bow out with grace and dignity.
4. Toy Story 4
Toy Story 3 had a lot of speculations saying that this might be the end of Woody and Buzz’s big-screen adventures. But Pixar announced Toy Story 4 in 2014 and many people felt that the mere existence of the film will undermine the closure delivered by the third film. The film released in 2019. Many critics felt that it was unnecessary in comparison to its predecessors. But despite that, the film worked out for the fans of the franchise.
5. Final Destination 5
The fourth installment in the Final Destination franchise was intended to be the last one. The film’s overreliance on CGI and unimaginative death scenes left audiences feeling like the franchise had run its course. When the fifth film was announced and re-titled 5nal Destination, people still had a feeling that this one also would be a soulless sequel. But it turned out to be better than the predecessor. This was because of the creative death scenes and suspenseful direction by Steven Quale. New Line did not rush to announce a new sequel suddenly and now, almost after a decade, a sixth film is in development.
6. Ouija: Origin of Evil
2014’s Ouija was named as a lazy horror film. The film was badly written with uninteresting characters and it was unintentionally comical. But the film earned $103.6 million against a budget of $8 million. Ouija: Origin of Evil is significant for various reasons. It was more of a soft reboot or prequel and was co-written and directed by Mike Flanagan. The atmospheric unease and slow-burn chills were loved by everyone. The film was a critical and commercial success. But still, a sequel is yet to be materialized.
7. Fast Five
After the fourth Fast & Furious film, fans had lost interest in the franchise. The CGI action sequences, Letty’s death, and the tone of the movie spent more time and energy attempting to be a real movie. The theme of the franchise was then changed to ensemble-driven heist series. The introduction of Dwayne Johnson arrived at a time when people had low expectations but the film received positive reviews and made strong box office collections. From here, the franchise slowly became a global phenomenon and a billion-dollar enterprise.
8. Curse of Chucky
The Child’s Play franchise was successful in the beginning. But by the fifth film, Seed of Chucky, people somewhere lost their interest in the franchise. Seed of Chucky grossed less than half compared to the collections of Bride of Chucky. When the next film was announced as a direct-to-video release, expectations were very high. The next film, Curse of Chucky received decent feedback and was appreciated for its black comedy tone and straightforward approach. The next film, Cult of Chucky, was better received. The 2019 reboot replaced Brad Dourif with Mark Hamill in Chucky’s voice.
9. Crank: High Voltage
2006’s Crank, starring Jason Statham is one of the most unique and energetic genre films of the decade. When the sequel was announced, people thought it would rehash the original concept. But the audiences had no idea about the insanity they would get to see on screen. This has been one of the most ambitious, creative, and unexpected sequels. The sequel ditched the original’s loose sense of realism with dream sequences and insane action scenes. Till now, the much-demanded Crank 3D has not yet materialized.
10. Jackass 3D
Jackass was a pop-culture phenomenon in the early 2000s. The success of the MTV series led to two critically and commercially successful films in 2002 and 2006. A third film was announced for a 2010 release. But the problem was that most of the edgy teens that grew up with Jackass had become adults. But Jackass 3D was named as the best among three films and had a multitude of stunts and scenarios made to take complete advantage of the 3D presentation. Jackass 4 is currently in production for a planned release in October.