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Why Sequels Often Suck

Ever see a movie that you loved so much that you couldn’t wait for the sequel to come out? Then when the sequel comes out you are sick to your stomach with the poor quality, lack of story and every other disappointment you can think of. Or as the critics would say, “An epic misfire of the worst kind”.

So after putting some serious thought into this. I’ve come up with some ideas of why it is so hard to pull off a great sequel. Of course this is my opinion so if you come up with some of your own or think I may be a little off my rocker, feel free to post comments below. Would love to get your 2 cents.

There was never suppose to be a sequel

Its obvious that movie studios are in it to win it. Making the cold hard cash and getting people in the theater is the bottom line. So if you have an unexpected hit you want to get another one out as soon as you can to capitalize on the fervor. That said, the writer may not have intended continuing the story and there is no sequel written. Which takes me to the next reason.

Less time was put into the story and it was rushed to production sacrificing quality

So stories are written over a long period of time and well thought out. Which is the reason the movie became a hit in the first place. You, the writer, never intended to write a sequel and continue on. But now the production company (movie execs) or who ever it is, wants you to write another. And they want it yesterday. So you write a half hearted sequel to your masterpiece. Or you turn them down and they get someone else to carry on your legacy and it sucks even worse.

The plots boundaries are all ready known so there is no element of surprise or wow factor

Sometimes what makes a movie great is the world it takes place in. It could be earth in the future or outer space or a make believe place where everyone has special powers. That is all well and great, but since you saw the first movie it doesn’t have quite the impact on you and immerse you into the second film. And this gets even worst the further you try to carry on the franchise to a 3rd or even 4th installment.

What made the first one good is now over-used and isn’t quit as exciting

New technologies and techniques can make an ok movie into a great movie. But as soon as someone starts using them everyone jumps on the bandwagon. Here are a few examples. The camera techniques used in Matrix at the time were just the best thing since the invention of moving pictures. Over the top animation from studios like Dream Works and Pixar raised the bar to new levels. And now 3D is all the rage. But all these things just get blah after a while of seeing them.

Now that I have told the movie studios how they do it wrong. Now all they have to do is figure out the right way to make a sequel. Maybe I’ll do a follow up post with my recommendations and universities can start teaching it to the future movie execs.

2 Responses


While I agree with most of your post Blantonious, I do have to mention one sequel that I honestly feel is better than the original: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

I love, love STAR WARS — and all of it’s corny & goofy charm. A great story with a cast full of chemistry you can’t beat. It’s truly one of my favorite flicks. But I must admit that as much as I love STAR WARS, I loved THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK even more.

George Lucas and company had raised the bar very high with the original, so all eyes were ready for the sequel to….well, suck. Guess what? It didn’t, and EMPIRE remains a classic (and arguably the best of the series) to this day.

OK, that’s all I got. Thanks for the thought-provoking movie post. Keep ‘em comin’!


You are right about that. They don’t always suck. So the question then becomes what process did they use to make the franchise even better? Back in the 70′s and 80′s you couldn’t rush a movie to the theater because the tools and technology just weren’t there. So did they spend the money and time to make sure that Empire lived up and exceed the hype?

By the way I am really looking forward to Iron Man 2 this year so I hope they have done the right things to make it live up to the hype.

Oh and I am also really looking forward to Wall Street 2, Money Never Sleeps. 20 years in the making they have certainly taken their time on this one. And even if they weren’t actually working on it, it was in someones head building and waiting to be put on paper. :-)

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