In the film industry, making movie sequels is a dangerous game. And that danger only increases when an audience waits and waits and waits for a delayed movie sequel, because there's nothing worse than being disappointed after 10, 20, or even 30 years of waiting. But the strange thing is, the time before a sequel is no indicator of how good or bad it will be. Some blockbuster hits - Finding Dory, Jurassic World, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens - were all long-awaited sequels, but some delayed sequels are, well, duds.
While these may not be the worst film sequels of all time, they are long-awaited yet disappointing ones. They flopped critically or commercially, but mostly weren't successful because the audience had changed since the original hit theaters. What is funny, entertaining, or scary to one generation tends not to hold up with audiences 20 years later.
Sequel to: Zoolander (2001)
Year released: 2016
Gap: 15 years
Hot off his Meet the Parents success, Ben Stiller directed and starred in Zoolander. The film received mixed reviews, as is the case with many comedies, but favorable critics praised the satire for being a purposely silly film that knew how to have fun with itself. It performed well at the box office, and Stiller's "Blue Steel" pout was a genuine pop culture moment.
However, Zoolander 2 wasn't able to achieve the same purposely dumb fun, even with a slew of celebrity cameos. The film's failure showed at the box office - it was barely able to make back its budget.
Actors: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Sequel to: Carrie (1976)
Year released: 1999
Gap: 23 years
Carrie is a landmark pop culture film, with the image of Carrie covered in pig's blood serving as the grimmest representation of being a high school outsider. Not to mention it was the first Stephen King book adapted into a movie. The film was a box office success and critically acclaimed, even receiving Academy Award nominations for Sissy Spacek's and Piper Laurie's performances.
Critics and audiences alike widely panned the sequel, The Rage: Carrie 2, which lost money by making just $17.8 million on a budget of $21 million. All in all, it was a bomb. Critics even commented that the film was painful to watch because the entire time, the sequel reminded them what a masterpiece the first film was. The 2013 reboot didn't fare much better than the sequel, either.
Actors: Mena Suvari, Zachery Ty Bryan, Rachel Blanchard, Amy Irving, Jason London, + more
Directed by: Katt Shea
Sequel to: Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Year released: 2014
Gap: 20 Years
The year 1994 belonged to Jim Carrey. He starred in Dumb and Dumber, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and The Mask. So it's safe to say 1994 audiences were responding to Carrey's cartoonish, theatrical brand of comedy. Specifically, critics praised Dumber and Dumber for being a "relentlessly dumb comedy," and it was a huge box office success.
The 2003 prequel, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, didn't have the original's stars and involved almost no one who made the first film. The true sequel came in 2014 and didn't fare much better than the prequel. Critics noted the brand of comedy wasn't as refreshing as it had been in 1994, and audiences mostly ignored the film during its time in theaters.
Actors: Jim Carrey, Kathleen Turner, Jeff Daniels, Laurie Holden, Rob Riggle, + more
Directed by: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly
Sequel to: Independence Day (1996)
Year released: 2016
Gap: 20 years
Independence Day was the highest-grossing film of 1996, bringing in a reported $817 million at the box office. It was also the film that cemented Will Smith as a blockbuster powerhouse. It was an odd choice to make a sequel 20 years later without Smith. Both Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman reprised their roles, but it wasn't enough to save a sequel without Smith. The 2016 film made $389 million at the box office. That sounds decent, but the original outearned it even before being adjusted for inflation.
Actors: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, + more
Directed by: Roland Emmerich