It’s no novelty that Hollywood loves sequels. Even though franchise-creating is a growing obsession in American and world cinema in the 21st century, it has been a thing for much, much longer. The sequels on this list, however, are anomalies – they were made a long time after their original films, and the lack of expediency on the producer’s part usually took a toll in the box office performance and sheer quality of the films.
Check out the worst and most unnecessary late sequels of all time below. It was not an easy selection to make, so we excluded direct-to-video and television releases, eliminating a lot of dreadful Disney sequels to their classic animated films, for example, and some miniseries marketed as continuations of classic movies.
10. Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Like all the best of Oliver Stone’s films, 1987’s Wall Street is political filmmaking with a genre edge, structured as a crime thriller with a magnetic, iconic figure at its center. Michael Douglas’ performance as Gordon Gekko is legendary for a reason, and his character became closely associated with the way Americans see their bankers and Wall Street in general. That’s why late sequel Money Never Sleeps, from Stone and with Douglas reprising his role, seems so rote in comparison.
It’s a film made with a manifest political and practical agenda, examining a post-crisis financial world, and for that it is pregnant with possibilities, which makes for a distraction as Stone struggles to find a tone and a worthy plot to hang his film on. Ultimately, that makes Money Never Sleeps confusing, paper-thin and forgettable – everything the original, for all its flaws, wasn’t.
9. Blues Brothers 2000 (1998)
One of the very few late sequels in which virtually everyone from the first film is involved, Blues Brothers 2000 is also a travesty for fans of the 1980 original. While John Landis and Dan Aykroyd are back, the late great John Belushi is obviously missing, and this complete repeat of the original’s plot sees Elwood Blues getting out of prison and being once again recruited by Mother Mary Stigmata to raise funds for a children’s hospital.
Without the quality jokes of the original or the ear for really good blues music, Blues Brothers 2000 seems like a shameless cash-grab at best, and a tragic misstep by talented creators at worst. Even a parade of special cameos, from Aretha Franklin to B.B. King, can salvage this one.
8. TRON: Legacy (2010)
28 years after the technical marvel that was Steven Lisberger’s TRON, Disney decided that new CGI technologies, combined with sudden 80s nostalgia, made for a perfect opportunity to get back to the virtual world and make a quick buck out of it. It worked for financial purposes, making just over $400 million worldwide, but while TRON: Legacy doesn’t lack personality, it’s clearly the work of an inexperienced filmmaker.
That would be Joseph Kosinski, whose very interesting visual ideas don’t translate to the narrative, a barely-woven-together mixture of clichés by Once Upon a Time creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Star Garrett Hedlund lacks charisma, while the rest of the cast barely registers in an ultimately artificial and shallow cinematic experience.
7. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
Possibly the least expected late sequel ever, this follow-up (in name only) to the 1987 Patrick Swayze “classic” has British starlet Romola Garai as an American teenager moving to 1950s Cuba and meeting young waiter Javier (Diego Luna), with whom she enters a dance competition. While Garai and Luna have both proved since their talent, there’s no real spark here, and this sequel has none of the kitsch, if formulaic, charm of the original.
Director Guy Ferland hasn’t made another feature film since, instead holing up in TV jobs, most notably in Elementary and Sons of Anarchy. Here, it’s easy to see why – he has no clear vision for his film, and while the inane script doesn’t help, the dance sequences are similarly uninspired and forgettable.
6. Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
In more contemporary late sequels, we couldn’t forget last year’s Independence Day: Resurgence, a sequel that managed to miss even the nostalgia factor for the original one, already a standard-carrier for Hollywood clichés. It takes place two decades after the first alien invasion, and this time the armies of the world are more prepared – but the spaceship trying to invade us is twice as big too.
A big chunk of the original cast returned for the sequel, including of course Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Brent Spiner, while newcomers Liam Hemsworth, Jessie T. Usher e Maika Monroe try to appeal to a “younger audience”. The box office failure indicate that not even as a marketing gamble this sequel made sense, and as for its qualities as a film, well, let’s just say that Roland Emmerich has done much, much better – and that’s saying a lot.