Top 10 Movie Sequels that Recycle the Most from Their Predecessors

Making movie sequels can be difficult. You need to add something while not alienating from your audience. However, these flicks borrow so much from their predecessors, they're basically the same movie with a few subtle differences.
The Top Ten
1 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

Home Alone was a breakout hit for then child star Macaulay Culkin which made him a household name in the early 1990s, and is considered the highest grossing Christmas movie of all time. And while the sequel did pretty good, it just didn't perform as well. And when you see how it's virtually identical to the original, it's easy to see why. Kevin and Buzz getting in a tussle, Kevin getting into legal trouble, the gangster movie gag, and, of course, the booby traps. Culkin may have gotten top billing for this movie, but it was Tim Curry's superb performance as the snooty concierge that stole the limelight in every scene he was in. Had the concierge been played by anyone else, this movie would've done a lot worse in terms of gross revenue. But it would still be better than the rest of the sequels that followed.

2 Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue (and red), Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a reboot/sequel for a new generation of Star Wars fans and it takes heavy inspiration from the iconic 1977 sci-fi film that started it all. While it's still a good Star Wars film, the comparisons between Episodes 4 and 7 are undeniable. Robots escaping a siege and landing on a desert planet? Check. A wanderer caught up in an intergalactic struggle? Check. A space ship big and powerful enough to destroy entire planets? Check. A major character getting killed off? Check. At least Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi served up a few fresh ideas.

3 Friday the 13th Part 2

When Halloween hit theatres in 1978, it reinvented the horror genre with its simple premise of a serial killer on the loose. In 1980, Sean S. Cunningham decided to challenge the formula set by John Carpenter with the now classic slasher flick that has become a pop culture icon. However, it wasn't until the second installment where Jason Voorhees, son of Pamela, was established as the killer and we didn't see him in his iconic hockey mask until Part 3. Nevertheless, all the films in the series follow the same formula; young adults travel to a lake resort to get drunk, have sex, and get killed one by one. Many people wished that Part 4 lived up to the subtitle as "The Final Chapter" and for good reason.

4 Mary Poppins Returns
5 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The original Terminator and it's sequel Judgement Day made Arnold Schwarzenegger a household name with the sequel being the highest grossing movie of 1991. While Arnie got top billing in the sequel, it was Robert Patrick's robotic performance as the T-1000 that really stood out. So what did the 3rd installment in 2003 have to offer? Nothing that hadn't already been done before. A regular android being sent into the past to protect John Connor with a liquid model hot on his heels? Wait. Wasn't that in the last film we saw? Once you've seen T2, you'll be able to see the similarities between it and T3 with no problem.

6 Escape From L.A.

The original film Escape From New York by John Carpenter has become a cult classic since its debut in 1981. Set in the year 1997, the character Snake Pliskin played by Kurt Russell has to rescue the president who's plane crashed into New York City which is now the toughest prison in America. And he has only 22 hours to get the job done. If he succeeds, he's pardoned of his crimes. If not, he's a dead man. Fifteen years later, John Carpenter released a sequel that was exactly the same as the last film. Same character, same premise, same stakes; the only difference is that it takes place 3000 miles from the last location and is set 16 years after the original. While the original has an 85% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $25 200 000 on a $6 000 000 budget, the sequel has a 52% rating and grossed only $25 500 000 on a $50 000 000 budget. When you see how identical they are, the numbers aren't surprising.

7 Police Academy 3: Back in Training

The first movie involved training a bunch of misfits to be new police officers and while the second movie did something different by charging these yahoos with bringing law to a lawless precinct, the third movie is more or less the same thing as the first movie. The governor decided the coffers aren't big enough for two police academies and decided to ax one of them. Therefore, a committee oversees them training their new cadets to see who's better fit in maintaining law and order. There are new cadets like Bud Kirkland, Tackleberry's brother-in-law, Carl Sweetchuck, the former owner of a lighting fixture store and Zed McGlunk, a man-child who was the leader of the Scullions from the last movie, just to name a few. And while there's definitely a lot at stake, it plays out as you'd expect from the first movie. The only key difference is that the third movie got the more family friendly PG rating so it's less raunchy than the last two films. It's still enjoyable for a good laugh. Just don't expect anything too fresh.

8 Ghostbusters II

The original Ghostbusters is a timeless classic that television networks air every Halloween along with Ray Parker Jr.'s hit single being aired on radio stations as well. And while Ghostbusters 2 is a direct sequel to the original, it's more or less the same thing. Whatever key scene from the last movie you can think it, it's been repeated here in a different style. Paranormal investigations, the ghost duel in the court house, Dana being attacked by slime in the tub and, of course, the ghost of a warlock trying to return to life. Although I will admit, Vigo the Carpathian was a more memorable villain, at least in my opinion.

9 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

When Jurassic World hit theatres in 2015, it was the breath of fresh air the franchise needed to recover from the mediocrity that was Jurassic Park 3. But even though Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was still a good movie, it's showing that Universal Studios is starting to run out of ideas to keep the sequels fresh. It borrows not just one previous ideas from the last movies, but a whole bunch. There's the whole mercenaries taking dinos off the island from The Lost World, the Indoraptor hybrid idea from the last Jurassic World, and a lot more instances than I care to put down here. If the sequel slated for 2021 does the same kind of recycling again, it might be time to put the Jurassic Park franchise out to pasture for good.

10 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

I don't think so. The first one was about Flint becoming the greatest inventor in the world before realizing it's not worth it, whereas this one has Flint searching for the machine and putting it to an end while being manipulated by his idol

I actually like this one just about as much as the original!

The Contenders
11 The Sandlot 2
12 Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

All 3 movies are almost exactly the same.

13 The Hangover Part II

This movie deserves even more hate than Stuart Little because not only is it a lazy and unfunny rehash of the first Hangover movie, but also due to the fact that it outgrossed the vastly superior Kung Fu Panda 2 in the US.

I will never understand how more Americans saw this movie in theaters than Kung Fu Panda 2 for as long as I live.

This movie should be on this list and at number one already!

14 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed
15 A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Let's face it; making sequels to horror movies can be challenging. While wanting to make something fresh, it's also easy to fall back onto the old formula. Sadly, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 is guilty of the latter. While Freddy's kills have definitely gotten more elaborate and often floating into the realm of dark comedy, you can't deny it's just more of the same as the first film. While Freddy's Revenge did offer up a unique take where Freddy possessed Jesse to return to the physical world, the third installment fell back onto the old formula set in the first film. This, along with Friday the 13th, is proof that just because you can pump out sequel after sequel with minimum changes from one movie to the next doesn't mean you should.

16 Halloween II
17 Ice Age: Continental Drift

Literally the exact same plot as the second movie.

18 Muppets Most Wanted

While the 2011 The Muppets served as a superb blend of a reboot and sequel, Muppets Most Wanted follows the same formula set in the 1981 Muppet movie "The Great Muppet Caper" where the gang heads to the United Kingdom and Miss Piggy is framed for jewelry theft. This time, Kermit's doppelganger, Constantine who looks almost exactly like Kermit save for a mold on his face, breaks out of prison and is able to have the authorities arrest Kermit. Constantine then uses the Muppets for his own personal heists. While there's a lot that's different and some noteworthy performances such as Ricky Gervais as Dominic Badguy, Sam the Eagle as an FBI agent working with Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon played by Ty Burrell and Tina Fey as Nadya the gulag warden, there's still no denying that Muppets Most Wanted took a lot from the 1981 film. Although I will admit that the opening song "We're doing a sequel" was pretty good.

19 Taken 2

If you've seen the first one, you have seen them all.

20 Finding Dory
21 Taken 3
22 Avengers: Endgame

Like I said, it's basically just Infinity War but more pretentious and more complicatedly yet ironically less competently written

23 Ice Age: The Meltdown
24 National Treasure: Book of Secrets
25 Transformers: Dark of the Moon

More of the same. Better than the 2nd, but not as good as the first.

8Load More
PSearch List