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Movie Prequels Nobody Asked For (Or Even Needed)

Updated May 31, 2019 7.9k votes 772 voters 17.8k views20 items

List RulesVote up the prequels that were not only bad, but unnecessary.

TMI, or too much information, is an acronym ignored by Hollywood studios who want to believe that audiences need to know every single detail about a character’s background. If a film has an interesting story with a complex character, there’s a good chance that a studio wants to make a prequel. Here’s the thing: very few movie prequel are actually any good. This list ranks the worst prequels that nobody asked for... or needed.

The worst film prequels seem to have something in common; most people have never heard of them. Did you know that there was a prequel to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? Have you ever heard of the prequel to The Flintstones? How many decent films can studios really get out of Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates?

Talk about unnecessary prequels - who thought the world really needed to see the story of how Harry met Lloyd in special education high school classes? Are the characters from Dumb and Dumber really that complex to warrant such exposition?

Prequels are universally known to be bad. Of course, there are exceptions, but chances are, if the backstory was that important, it would have been told in the original film. These worst franchise prequels are clearly geared to be a money-grab, a chance for studios to make more money off popular movies and film franchises, instead of coming up with fresh ideas. Everyone's looking at you, George Lucas!

Be sure to make your voice heard and vote up the worst movie prequels of all time.

  • Who knew there were three Van Wilder films? The last installment came in 2009, seven years after the first movie, which starred Ryan Reynolds. The original comedy wasn't very funny and neither was the 2006 sequel. Yet, they still felt the need to make another Van Wilder. The prequel, which went straight to DVD, takes audiences back to the college student's freshman year in order to display all the various unfunny Van Wilder hijinks.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: N/A
    • Actors: Kristin Cavallari, Yvette Rachelle, Jonathan Bennett, Kurt Fuller, Linden Ashby
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Harvey Glazer
    • Screenplay by: Todd McCullough
    • Genres (Film): Parody, Comedy
    • Sequel: Van Wilder
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  • Nine years after the original Dumb and Dumber (2003), we got the opportunity to see the origin of Lloyd and Harry's friendship. In case you're wondering, it was in high school, when the pair was deemed "special" by the school and placed in class together. While the original film certainly had its charm - and the comedic talents of both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels - the prequel is simply not funny, and totally unnecessary. 

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 10%
    • Actors: Shia LaBeouf, Rachel Nichols, Bob Saget, Mimi Rogers, Eugene Levy
    • Released: 2003
    • Directed by: Troy Miller
    • Screenplay by: Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly, Troy Miller, Bennett Yellin, Robert Brener
    • Genres (Film): Screwball comedy, Teen film, Slapstick, Comedy, Buddy film
    • Rated: PG-13 (USA)
    • Sequel: Dumb and Dumber
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  • This 2006 prequel to the 2003 remake of the original 1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre reveals how a young man named Thomas Hewitt turned into the iconic monster now known as Leatherface. The prequel certainly has some shock value and gore, but is not actually scary. Plus, do we really need to know the origin story of how Leatherface became a sadistic killing machine? TCM is a franchise with remakes, video games, and comic books. The prequel is clearly just trying to capitalize on the original film's legacy.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12%
    • Actors: Jordana Brewster, Matt Bomer, Diora Baird, R. Lee Ermey, Lee Tergesen
    • Released: 2006
    • Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
    • Screenplay by: Sheldon Turner
    • Genres (Film): Horror, Thriller
    • Rated: R (USA)
    • Sequel: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
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  • Sam Raimi's 2013 prequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939) is certainly aesthetically pleasing. The effects are dazzling and extravagant. However, there is so much CGI going on that it overshadows everything else. The prequel tells the story of Oscar/Oz (James Franco) as he goes from ham-and-egger magician to legendary wizard. The issue is that Oscar is not really a likable character, so the audience has a hard time rooting for him. In the end, the film fails to find the magic of the yellow brick road and ultimately makes us yearn for the original.

    Rotten Tomatoes Score: 59%
    • Actors: Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, James Franco, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff
    • Released: 2013
    • Directed by: Sam Raimi
    • Screenplay by: David Lindsay-Abaire, Mitchell Kapner
    • Genres (Film): Fantasy, Family, Adventure Film
    • Rated: PG (USA)
    • Sequel: The Wizard of Oz
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