Leave it to Hollywood to take something good and milk it for all it’s worth. There truly are some unforgivable sequels of successful movies that put their great franchises to shame.
I mean, nobody asked for a NINTH Fast and Furious film. And why, oh, why did they think a Mask follow-up was needed? We don’t even want to get started on the second Titanic film!
The 14 Best Movie Sequels Ever Made
These are just a few of the worst movie sequels out there. So bad, to the point where they’re legitimately offensive, and plain old embarrassing, you wish they didn’t exist.
So, just for laughs, let’s go down (embarrassing) memory lane and relive a bunch of really bad movie sequels that should never have happened…
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1. The Hangover Part III (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Here’s the thing with The Hangover franchise, every new movie feels like a funny joke your dad thought you’d forgotten and really wants you to hear again. With the same formula churned out over and over again, The Hangover saga reaches comedy limbo with its third movie.
In this bad sequel, the characters seem to be in some type of purgatory, where the same things keep happening to them (and to us) as punishment and Zach Galifianakis’ character, Alan, just loses that hilarious charm he had in the previous films.
2. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes: 14%
Trust us, it was difficult not to list most of the Paranormal Activity sequels in a category of their own, but this one might just be the worst. While the original brought something new to the horror movie genre with the format of fake real footage exposing paranormal events, The Ghost Dimension is all cheap, repetitive jump scares, and second-hand acting.
Once again, we’re dealing with a suburban middle-class family whose – surprise surprise – camera captures ghosts. The level of predictability has never been higher. There is such a thing as the ‘hamster wheel’ effect for movie sequels and the Paranormal Activity hamster has been rolling for way too long.
3. Teen Wolf Too (1987)
Rotten Tomatoes: 7%
The original wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but it was a decent comedy movie, and anything where Michael J. Fox appears in is worth giving a standing ovation, anyway. He could be playing Daffy Duck for all we care! It’s not to say that Jason Bateman doesn’t do his best in this sequel as a young man whose werewolf curse comes in handy in a boxing tournament, but the plot and the jokes fall flat and feel very déjà-vu.
And of course, replacing the star of a movie in its sequel is an extremely risky bet to begin with, one that Teen Wolf Too unfortunately didn’t win.
4. Son Of The Mask (2005)
Rotten Tomatoes: 6%
If the original movie was entertaining and deliciously cartoonesque, this one feels like a caricature of it. And as much as Jaime Kennedy does his best to walk in the steps of Jim Carrey in the title role, the plot feels lazy and the special effects are overdone. Add that to the extremely high expectations set by the first opus, and by Jim Carrey’s pristine performance, it’s difficult to imagine anything other than a cringe flop.
The plot of Son of the Mask features the mask from the first movie, but besides that, they hardly have anything in common. Somehow, a baby gets born with the powers of the mask, so we get treated to some truly painful CGI baby transformation/dance sequences. Most of the so-called “jokes” in this movie are so painful, film critic, Richard Roeper wanted to walk out halfway through.
5. Mean Girls 2 (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
When Tina Fey refused to write a sequel to her hilarious, yet poignant coming-of-age comedy, Mean Girls (2004), Paramount went ahead and had it made anyway – as a halfcocked TV movie. Its own creators were so embarrassed of the film, they didn’t even bother with a theatrical release.
Mean Girls 2 takes the overall tropes of the first film and throws them in a saucepan and stirs, hoping it will deliver a masterpiece. Featuring the same high school drama minus the laughs, not to mention the entire original cast except for the Principal, played by Tim Meadows. The movie is virtually unknown compared to its predecessor, with only two critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and an overall audience rating of 31%.
6. The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999)
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
They were right to call this ‘The Rage’ because this is probably how fans of the original movie, and fans of the book, felt upon watching it. If there was ever a prize for the most useless sequel ever, this one would win them all.
Taking ingredients from Stephen King’s story without having any charisma for itself, Carrie 2 tries way too hard to reproduce the original, but fails to even be a good story in its own right. In essence, we think there shouldn’t even have been a sequel, but… Hollywood’s gotta Hollywood.
7. The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2: The Secret of the Bell (2002)
Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
Another subcategory of the sequel curse is the ‘straight-to-DVD/VHS’ one. Disney had a lot of these before its recent computer animated renaissance, and a lot of them were follow-ups to actual classics. Some are actually good, like The Lion King II or The Return of Jafar, and then some are…The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2.
The quality of the animation in this one fell down the drain. The mundane plot and lackluster villain feels like ‘episode of the week’ material, and the songs are far from being memorable. Also, there’s a huge bell with diamonds in it. Diamonds. Disney, do you know how bells work?
8. Jaws 2 (1978)
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
The first one was thrilling, tense and everything you would hope for in a horror film centering on a bloodthirsty shark that has its fun slaughtering beachgoers. This second opus, however, feels like someone went and shot the exact same film under different angles.
Even with a plot that is essentially a copy, which means it could have been at least as entertaining, the tonal quality of the first movie disappears, the characters get on your nerves, and the shark is so predictable, it’s not even scary anymore. At one point, you find yourself wishing it would just eat everyone already…
9. Grease 2 (1982)
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
One of the worst sequels to a great movie. Seriously, how dare they? And Michelle Pfeiffer, what were you thinking? In this fun-to-make-fun-of sequel to the highest-grossing movie musical ever made, The Pink Ladies and the T-birds live on at Rydell High two years after the original characters graduated.
The plot is a love story similar to the first film, but this time, it’s the guy that has to “shape up” if he wants to date a Pink Lady. The songs are bland and forgettable, and there’s virtually no choreography for some of them. The movie has a pathetic 38% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s definitely not the one that anyone wanted…
10. Titanic 2 (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes: 15%
One of the tell-tale signs of a terrible sequel (other than its awful IMDb rating) is the number of years between it and the original. Titanic 2 was made in 2010, a solid 13 years after its high-grossing predecessor, Titanic. While not truly a sequel to the classic romance movie, Titanic II heavily riffs the original with its plot.
Produced by The Asylum, the studio that gives us such classics as Sharknado and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, this flop is about a new ship, christened (you guessed it) “Titanic II”, that similarly hits an iceberg, this time by a tsunami. It’s so completely over the top and different from the original, it’s in an entirely different genre, becoming a cheesy adventure and action flick instead of an award-winning drama. Definitely one of the worst sequels ever.
11. Return to Oz (1985)
Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
The Wizard of Oz is an all-time classic. Why oh why did anybody think it would be okay to make a follow-up film? Its sequel, Return to Oz wasn’t just a nonsensical, non-magical, and disaster of a movie, it was also downright petrifying.
While the original was a wonderful musical for children, Return to Oz was a horrific nightmare. From that electroshock therapy scene (on a child!!) to those dreadful wheelers, no child should have to sit through this awful movie. Despite its reasonable rating on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, this is definitely one of the worst sequels ever made.
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12. Scary Movie 5 (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
The first was epic, the second was brilliant, the third and fourth were somewhat great, but the fifth…oh the fifth Scary Movie was BAD. With a shockingly terrible Rotten Tomatoes score of just 4%, this chapter in the horror parody saga was a complete and utter waste of time. In fact, we forgot it even happened until writing up this list.
Spoofing the likes of Inception and Paranormal Activity, Scary Movie 5 lacked a lot of the funny ingredients that its predecessors had. And anyway, there’s no Scary Movie without Brenda and Cindy. Am I right?
13. xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
xXx is a really fun movie. Vin Diesel, playing an action-sports-star-turned-bad-boy-secret-agent in the heat of the early-2000s skater age? Yes, please. Granted, it’s a completely insane movie, but there’s some self-awareness, and it’s a blast to watch.
This third installment in 2017, however, was just ill-advised. Yes, Diesel is back as the titular Xander Cage, but there’s just not a story there waiting for him. A plot surrounding a digital doomsday device feels like a lazy attempt to recapture the stakes of the first film, and the action sets are just less interesting. Throw in a ludicrous martial-arts DJ transparently concocted to capture the mid-2000s pop audience, and… yeah, this was just contrived nonsense.
14. Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
Rotten Tomatoes: 26%
Remember we mentioned that some sequels are legitimately offensive? Unfortunately, the 2021 Space Jam sequel fits that description. We could dive into the dull plot about an AI trapping LeBron James and his son in cyberspace, and there’s plenty to pick at. What makes this film so disappointing, however, is that it replaces the innocent wackiness of the original with an onslaught of Warner Bros. branding as relentless as it is shameless.
You know when you’re watching something on HBO and there are those ads that are montages of other HBO content? Just watch one of those instead of this movie. It’s the same thing condensed into 30 seconds.
15. Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Independence Day is a fun movie. There’s the iconic speech by President Pullman; the delightful nonsense of Jeff Goldblum infecting an alien mothership with a computer virus; and the irrepressible ‘90s of it all…But above all, there’s the magnetic, movie-star charisma of a young Will Smith destined for greatness.
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You know what’s not a good idea? Resurrecting a beloved classic with Liam Hemsworth as a lead in place of Smith. Nothing against Hemsworth, but how many leading men from the last 30 years in Hollywood can match Smith’s energy? On top of this little issue, the movie basically has nothing to say. It’s a recycling project (though we’ll grant, a visually striking one at times).
16. Zoolander No. 2: The Magnum Edition (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes: 22%
Zoolander may not be for everyone, but it’s hard to deny there’s a certain brilliance to its ludicrous antics. Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with so many comedy sequels, it was hard for the cast to capture that brilliance a second time.
There are chuckles here, as superstar male models Derek Zoolander and Hansel are called upon to save the world’s pop stars from grizzly fates. The characters themselves are still funny. But Zoolander 2 is oddly convoluted, too zany for its own good, and far too preoccupied with celebrity cameos and self-referential shenanigans.
17. 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
As much as 300 seemed like a singular movie event, it was actually ripe for a sequel. The battle depicted in the film (albeit in a ludicrously stylized manner) was but one of a few major clashes between Greek and Persian armies in the 5th century BC. The Battle of Salamis was a subsequent naval conflict, and the focus of this sequel.
Without Gerard Butler’s Spartan machismo gushing out of the screen though, the sequel just didn’t make a similar impact. Granted, Eva Green does her best to make up for it in her absolutely madcap portrayal of a Persian naval commander. All in all though, this is a forgettable film that, despite a clear historical setup, feels wholly unnecessary.
18. Taken 3 (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
The original Taken elevated itself above the average popcorn-and-soda action flick by way of an unexpected bad-boy transformation from Liam Neeson and a few iconic scenes. The sequel did reasonably well inverting the first film’s premise and letting Neeson do his thing.
The folks behind Taken 3, however, seemed to lose the thread by ignoring the simplicity that worked in the first two films and delivering a contrived villain, an unnecessarily confused plot, and the worst action sequences in the series to date. Is it still kind of fun to see Neeson kicking ass? Sure. But nothing differentiates Taken 3 from your average straight-to-the-depths-of-Hulu action drivel.
19. F9: The Fast Saga (2021)
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
The Fast & Furious franchise has been getting progressively more Expendables-y, and with F9 it tipped over into the trash action space. Director Justin Lin manages to inject this ninth installment with his trademark excellent action sequences and it’s still a thrill to watch at times. But at this point, he and seemingly everyone involved have forsaken the soul of the franchise.
Simply put, the Fast & Furious films work when the relationships between characters matter more than the action. Rather than relying on those relationships, this film lazily presents a new one, injecting stiff-as-a-board John Cena into the saga as Dom’s nemesis brother. Just… why?
Oh, and they also go to freaking outer space. Enough is enough. Let’s get back to L.A. and have some street races.
20. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Ignore the half-decent ratings; people would praise a Star Wars movie if it featured Ewan McGregor pruning shrubs with a lightsaber for three hours. This is a terrible film, and in fact a far worse one than its oft-mocked predecessor.
Attack of the Clones should have shown us the true stakes of the budding conflict in the Star Wars galaxy and given us a taste of the consequences of war. It should have featured a horrifying army and we should have grown attached to some of the Jedi who would perish.
Instead, this bad Star Wars movie delivered a clone army without a pulse, a war that affected only the people actively fighting it, and the cringiest on-screen romance of the 21st century. Sure, we got to see Yoda duel. Beyond that though, this movie was as pointlessly useless as Count Dooku’s crooked lightsaber hilt.
21. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
The fourth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is almost an attempted reboot of the delightful original. Once again, Jack Sparrow faces an undead army led by a former nemesis and seeks solutions in lore and legends. And once again, there’s a distracting romance between young people caught up in pirate drama.
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There’s just an awful lot going on in this film, and no one seems up to the task. Javier Bardem seems like a parody of himself and the new romance between Henry Turner and Carina Smyth Barbossa is forced and uninteresting. Worst of all, Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush seem bored with their own act.
22. Jason Bourne (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
The Bourne Identity is a classic, and its first two sequels are enjoyable. The Bourne Legacy, lacking Matt Damon, feels more like a side project, but a serviceable one. This fifth film however, just felt entirely unnecessary.
Some agency folks decide to try to lure Jason Bourne out of hiding. Fine. It’s a reasonable enough premise. What it’s ultimately used for, however, is a transparent determination to modernize a franchise that was fine how it was. For no apparent reason, this film gives us Riz Ahmed as a sort of sinister Mark Zuckerberg rip-off wielding technological overreach like a Bond villain with a laser cannon.
This in turn serves as a vehicle for poorly written cautionary preaching about tech, and by this point in this paragraph you’ve forgotten we’re even talking about a Jason Bourne movie. That’s the problem.
23. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
If you read the previous section about Independence Day: Resurgence, you caught our argument that a sequel adding Liam Hemsworth and subtracting Will Smith probably wasn’t worth the effort. Well, the same can be said about Speed 2 moving ahead without Keanu Reeves, and slotting Jason Patric into the male lead role. Granted, Sandra Bullock’s Annie is the beating heart of both movies, and she does what she can to salvage Speed 2. But Patric doesn’t quite carry the wild ride like Reeves did.
Worse than the casting conundrum, however, is the fact that Speed 2: Cruise Control is working with a preposterously lazy script. The plot is recycled, character progression is non-existent, and the dialogue is unintentionally comical.
24. American Wedding (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Yes, the first two American Pie films were wildly inappropriate, and feature tropes and jokes you just wouldn’t see written into a script today. But, they were funny, well-liked, and even possessed of a certain coming-of-age charm, not to mention a goofily lovable cast.
That charm runs out in American Wedding, which doubles down on the grossness and political incorrectness of the first two films and forgets to bring the laughs. Really, most of the trouble comes from Sean William Scott’s infamous Stifler, who becomes an entirely different and far more annoying character.
It’s as though someone else stepped in to play the role and ruined the film with a bad Stifler impression. But, inexplicably, it’s just Scott forgetting how to ace his own role (and probably suffering from misguided direction as well).
25. Dumb and Dumber To (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes: 30%
As much as we love Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, we have to say that we hated the sequel to 90s comedy, Dumb and Dumber. With misogynistic jokes, distasteful humor and an overall silly vibe, this movie left a feeling of revulsion among movie critics. It really wasn’t necessary.
Hey Hollywood – nobody, we repeat, NOBODY was crying out for these movie sequels. There really was no need. Let us know what your worst movie sequels of all time are in the comments below…
There are sections of this article that were written by Kasey Rubenstein and Angela Stephanou.
This article was originally published in September 2014.
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