July 24, 2016

A Selection Of The Longest Time Gaps Between Sequels. And Were They Worth It?

Movie making is an art, that much most devoted film goers will appreciate. But sometimes that passion can override the harsh reality that movies are developed for financial gain. Sometimes this can be a good thing if fans of a particular franchise want to see their favourite characters on screen time and time again, even if each passing sequel gets worse than it’s predecessor.

Unfortunately, studios do not often hide the fact that they want to keep the public dipping into their pockets in rapid fashion when they rush out a follow up. Inevitably, this action tends to run a series into the ground to the point where no more money can be made due to declining interest and a lack of new ideas.

But what happens when years go by without a hint of a sequel, only for one to be announced and developed? No doubt it comes as a surprise. Whether that surprise is pleasant or not depends on a few factors. But does the quality improve as a result of having time to think of intelligent and fun suggestions that should captivated audiences?
Let’s find out!

Psycho II (1960-1983)

Few would be brave enough to make a sequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s black and white horror classic, but director Richard Franklin undertook such a task. 23 years after the original, the time gap between original and sequel is one of the longest in the horror genre. Surprisingly, Psycho II didn’t turn out to be a bad follow up, either!

While the 1960 classic convinced audiences who the killer was from the beginning, Psycho II kept us all guessing as to who was responsible for all the slashing when Norman Bates came home after being locked up in a mental hospital for over 20 years. The smartly executed conclusion paved the way for two more sequels, finally ending with Psycho IV: The Beginning made in 1990.

Superman Returns (1987-2006)

The opinion that Superman IV is an abomination is pretty much universal. And the same can be said for Superman Returns made 19 years after!

Bryan Singer, who directed X-Men, was given the responsibility to direct a big blockbuster Superman sequel while retaining the timeline and universe that the Christopher Reeve films took place in. Brandon Routh came aboard to play Clark Kent/Superman. Unfortunately what we got was a bore of a film that focused too much on the relationship between Superman and reporter, Lois Lane and writing new history on the mythology that enraged fans.

Warner Bros later admitted that the film was a failure, to nobody’s surprise, and a reboot was developed and released in 2013 with British actor, Henry Cavill in the role of Superman.

Independence Day: Resurgence (1996-2016)

1996’s Independence Day broke new ground and gave movie studios the idea of the “summer blockbuster.” But that wasn’t the only new thing! For it’s time, it was rare that a black character saved the day in movies and Will Smith’s Steven Hiller was constructed to make such a move.

Fast forward 20 years later, and Independence Day: Resurgence would hit theaters. Oh, dear. Cash grab alert! Resurgence turned out to be nothing but an inferior almost carbon copy of the original, only with a lack of character depth, excitement and a general shortage of vision for the narrative. Audiences and critics have understandably slammed the sequel and it could all be up in the air as to whether the planned third film will actually get made. Let’s hope not, eh.

Rocky Balboa (1990-2006)

Although this writer actually did not mind the 4th sequel in the Rocky franchise, it was a flop back in 1990 and halted any plans for a further film. At least for another 19 years!

After spending a few years wondering how to resurrect his deteriorated career, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa made a comeback to the ring in 2006. One of the primary concerns was the character’s advancing age but Balboa chose a cunning angle to tackle that with, and unlike the earlier sequels the film went back to its roots and focused more on the dramatic than campy action which the series eventually spiralled into throughout the 1980’s.

Bambi II (1942-2006)

64 years! Is there a longer time gap than that for a sequel? If there is then please let me know!

1942’s Disney classic musical, Bambi told the story of a deer growing up in the forest who eventually has to lead his friends to safety from evil hunters. Originally a flop at the box office, it made it’s money back and more when it was re-released five years later in 1947 but that did not stop it from becoming one of the most famous children’s animated movies ever made!

2006 eventually arrived and the idea to explore the happenings of Bambi during the events of the first film (yes, it is called Bambi II just so we have this right) wasn’t welcomed warmly by the USA despite it being released in 25 countries. It received a direct-to-video release in the States, setting a record for most copies sold for a direct-to-video release, ever, with a figure of 2.6 million copies having been purchased.

In the world of cinema, it seems that time away really does help!

About the Author

Lee Skavydis
Lee Skavydis

I am a die hard movie fan, owning over 500 movies on both DVD and Blu Ray. I try to go to the cinema at least once a week when time permits. My other hobbies include following fight sports such as boxing, travelling around, writing and editing, listening to heavy rock and cook the odd occasional recipe. I used to write for several prolific boxing websites, interviewing some of the most famous names associated with the sport around.


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