Sequels You Never Knew Existed

Hollywood loves a sequel, even if the audience doesn't always agree. Here's a handful of would-be franchise expanders that didn't come anywhere near duplicating the success of their predecessors.

A Christmas Story 2: My Summer Story

Being a Hollywood producer doubtless has its risks, but at least you won't shoot your eye out if you make a sadly subpar and utterly unnecessary sequel to a beloved holiday classic. Our proof lies in My Summer Story, the long-delayed follow-up to A Christmas Story. Originally titled It Runs in the Family, this 1994 release did have a couple ties to the original (most importantly, it was based on stories by Jean Shepherd, who returned to provide narration). But given that the entire cast was too old to reprise their roles, a whole new set of stars had to be moved in, including Charles Grodin and Mary Steenburgen. Reviews weren't entirely unkind, but the film's box office gross, which totaled less than $71,000, speaks for itself.

Legally Blondes

After 2003's Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Reese Witherspoon was just about done with the character of bimbo-turned-lobbyist Elle Woods. But after watching the franchise continue without her with the successful Legally Blonde stage musical, she took the reins once more as producer of this 2009 direct-to-DVD spinoff. The most interesting (and sad) thing about the movie is the involvement of director "Savage" Steve Holland, whose once-proud filmography kicked off with the John Cusack classic Better Off Dead. Here, viewers watch as Elle's twin cousins move into her old house know what? It really isn't worth talking about the plot. Suffice it to say that small dogs and a life lesson in the final act are involved.

Ace Ventura Jr.

More than a decade after Jim Carrey exited the Ace Ventura franchise, someone got the bright idea to continue the series without him by attempting to tell the story of his lookalike kid, who gets mixed up in solving some pet-related wrongdoings after Ace Sr. flies the coop. It's a horrible idea for a sequel, even one that went direct to video, and it was greeted with all the commercial indifference and critical scorn you might expect. If it had arrived in the '90s, you probably would have seen it at your favorite Blockbuster. Alas, by the late aughts, it could only gather dust on the loneliest DVD rack at your local Best Buy.

WarGames: The Dead Code

Unlike a lot of technologically-driven films, WarGames remains a pretty solid little action thriller, not least because it boasts the combined talents of Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman, and Barry Corbin. None of the above returned for the wholly lamentable WarGames: The Dead Code, which tried to duplicate the teen hacker excitement of the original by essentially copying the plot...right down to the reintroduction of WarGames senior computer wiz Stephen Falken (played here by Gary Reineke, who did not play the character in the original). Needless to say, these new WarGames had no winners.

Addams Family Reunion

Seeking to reboot the Addams Family franchise in the late '90s, Fox decided to start it over again as a new TV show with a new cast—and then filmed Addams Family Reunion, which was supposed to serve as the pilot even though it had different stars. Confused yet? Just be glad you aren't Tim Curry or Darryl Hannah, both of whom somehow ended up roped into this alternately unfunny and offensive alleged "comedy." Aside from a storyline that involves members of the family developing "Waltzheimer's disease," which makes them normal, highlights include a love story for Lurch and a mutant puppy who eats hair. The New Addams Family exited the airwaves after a two-season run, and there have been no subsequent reunions since.

Road House 2: Last Call

There are definitely people in the world who would argue that Patrick Swayze's Road House is a classic. It's hard to imagine, though, that many of them would go so far as to say we needed a sequel, let alone one starring Johnathon Schaech (veteran of similarly misbegotten sequels such as Poison Ivy II and 8mm2). Schaech stars as Swayze's character's son, a DEA agent who ends up running his uncle's club after a local drug kingpin beats him half to death. If you're guessing that the kid ultimately discovers that the kingpin is the same bad guy who murdered his dad, then you're a step ahead of the target audience for Road House 2: Last Call.

Tooth Fairy 2

You're setting a pretty low bar for comedy when you hire Dwayne Johnson to run around in a tutu, but even when it's held up against the relaxed standards set by the original Tooth Fairy, its little-seen sequel is an ordeal. Johnson obviously wasn't coming back for another round, so the producers hired Larry the Cable Guy on the assumption that, like the Rock, he'd provoke laughs simply by strapping on fairy wings. It didn't work. And neither did hiring a pig as one of Larry's co-stars.

Hollow Man 2

If you remember the Kevin Bacon thriller Hollow Man at all, it's probably because it had some pretty nifty special effects for its time. The story, meanwhile, was just okay: a sinister variation on H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man, with more modern overtones and a lot more screaming and running around in the final act. All of which is to say that no one was looking for a low-budget, direct-to-video sequel that skimped on the effects and starred Christian Slater instead of Bacon.

Splash, Too

If you're under the age of 30, you may not remember that the major networks often set aside a couple hours of programming for a "movie of the week." And even if you do remember those days, you've most likely forgotten Splash, Too, Disney's attempt to cobble together a sequel to its hit mermaid rom-com starring Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah. With neither Hanks nor Hannah affordable enough for a TV movie, the studio almost completely overhauled the cast, leaving Dody "Mrs. Stimler" Goodman as the lone holdover. Originally broadcast as a two-part event, Splash, Too has been all but forgotten. Even the reissue fanatics at Disney haven't gotten around to putting it out on DVD or Blu-ray.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure

Cousin Eddie, the braying hick who drove Clark crazy in a pair of National Lampoon's Vacation movies, could be fairly funny in limited doses. Naturally, this was all the justification the studio needed for basing an entire Vacation movie around Eddie after Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo were finished with the franchise. The horribly titled National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure starts with Eddie losing his job to a monkey and goes downhill from there, with "star" Randy Quaid huffing and puffing his way through a series of increasingly lame pratfalls. Maybe the movie would've turned out better if Quaid had also lost his acting job to the monkey.

Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation

Studios cranked out a ton of sex comedies in the '80s, and 1984's Bachelor Party would have been just another one of them if its star, Tom Hanks, hadn't gone on to superstardom later in the decade. More than 20 years later, Fox tried making lightning strike twice with Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation. It was a sequel in name only that gathered up another group of stock character types to mug for the cameras in between gratuitous topless shots. Sadly for the studio, the next Hanks doesn't seem to have been in the cast, but that doesn't mean we won't hear about a Bachelor Party 3 in 2032.

Look What's Happened To Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby was a riveting character drama/thriller that defied genre expectations while simultaneously setting the path for everything that would come after it. With an Oscar nomination for best screenplay and a win for supporting actress for Ruth Gordon, it makes sense that Paramount would order a sequel to the critical darling. Gordon even agreed to reprise her role in the 1976 television movie Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby, which featured Patty Duke as Rosemary (a role she was considered for in the original film) and Stephen McHattie as a grown-up version of the titular baby. However, the film was a flop (it now has just an 11 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes), and it was quickly forgotten.

Mean Girls 2

With how much of an instant classic Tina Fey's Mean Girls was, it's almost a surprise that audiences had to wait as long as they did for a sequel. While the original film was released in 2004, the sequel didn't hit the ABC Family airwaves until 2011. The cast was plucked straight out of Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, with Camp Rock's Meaghan Martin taking over the Lindsay Lohan's Cady Heron role, as well as Cory in the House's Maiara Walsh, Nicole Gale Anderson of Jonas, and H20: Just Add Water's Claire Holt (who would later go on to realize her true potential starring as Rebekah Mikaelson on The Vampire Diaries and The Originals) appearing as the Plastics. The film had none of the bite of the original and it was quickly panned by audiences and critics. So not fetch.

Marley and Me: The Puppy Years

If Marley and Me didn't do enough damage to your tear ducts, you're in luck: there's a very, very strange prequel film. Marley and Me: The Puppy Years features none of the original film's cast, with Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston both a little too busy to make an appearance in the direct-to-DVD flick. The film followed Marley as "the world's worst" puppy, a contrived plot which is made even worse by the fact that the film, for some inexplicable reason, decided to give Marley a speaking voice (courtesy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid's Grayson Russell). The film has none of the sweet moments that helped the original thrive, causing it to quickly move on to doggy (and film) heaven.

S. Darko

Cult hit Donnie Darko doesn't necessarily seem like the obvious choice for a sequel, but even experimental sci-fi horror films aren't immune to the reboot craze nowadays. The sequel featured Daveigh Chase reprising her role as Samantha Darko alongside a bastion of teen stars including Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick, One Tree Hill's James Lafferty and Twilight's Jackson Rathbone. However, that wasn't enough to help it make an impression. It earned bad ratings and made just a few million dollars in DVD sales.

American Psycho 2

Mila Kunis starred in the direct-to-video American Psycho sequel American Psycho 2 early on in her career, in the midst of her star-making run on That '70s Show. The actress hasn't had positive things to say about the critically panned sequel, which also starred William Shatner. "Please — somebody stop this," she told MTV News while imploring against a possible American Psycho III. "Write a petition. When I did the second one, I didn't know it would be American Psycho II. It was supposed to be a different project, and it was re-edited, but, ooh ... I don't know. Bad."

Fun fact: the film was directed by Morgan J. Freeman, a man who, aside from sharing a name with one of Hollywood's biggest stars, has served as a producer for MTV's Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, 16 and Pregnant, and Teen Mom.

The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas helped to launch the Land Before Time franchise in 1988 with the only one of the dinosaur flicks to hit theaters. Most '90s kids have seen at least a few of the Land Before Time direct-to-DVD sequels; however, the franchise's popularity waned over its run and even super fans probably think that it ended with 2007's The Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends. However, there was actually a fourteenth Land Before Time film that was released in 2016. Titled The Land Before Time: Journey of the Brave, the film was directed by Care Bears director Davis Doi from a script by Elana Lesser and Cliff Ruby, who both wrote for Mean Girls 2. The film featured the voice of Damon Wayans Jr. as well as an original singalong song called "Look for the Light" sung by country star Reba McEntire, but somehow that wasn't enough to revive the long-running franchise.

I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

What's the only title more extreme than I Know What You Did Last Summer and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer? That's right, it's I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer. The 2006 horror flick was the third in the series, which started with the first knowledgeable film (starring future it-couple Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr., alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ryan Phillippe). While I Still Know What You Did Last Summer made it to theaters thanks to the reappearance of Hewitt and Prinze, the third benefited from no such star power and was relegated to a direct-to-DVD release. Perhaps the only memorable part about the film (and we use that word lightly) was Don Shanks, a stuntman who worked on Dumb and Dumber and (another long-forgotten sequel) Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, as the villain. The film holds the dubious honor of a zero percent critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Home Alone: The Holiday Heist

ABC Family made quite the splash when it announced that it had ordered a fifth Home Alone film to air during its 2012 25 Days of Christmas event. However, the film, which recast Christian Martin as the Macaulay Culkin adorable child lead, was a disappointment when it aired. Despite boasting talent like A Clockwork Orange's Malcolm McDowell (who we assume was tricked into doing the film through some sort of nefarious means), the film captured none of the magic of the original. Plus, Martin's surprise face was never even close to being the equal of Culkin's.

The Thing

2011's The Thing is actually a prequel to 1982's The Thing, which is actually a remake of 1957's The Thing From Another World. Confused yet? The new film starred scream queen Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton (who is currently garnering Oscar buzz for his appearance in Loving), Suicide Squad's Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Banshee's Ulrich Thomsen, and Eric Christian Olsen (NCIS: Los Angeles, Annie's shirtless, hacky-sack-playing boyfriend on Community) as a team of scientists who face off against a dangerous alien creature while researching in Antarctica. Despite its spooky premise, the film wasn't able to scare up ticket sales — it grossed just under $28 million on a budget of $38 million. That, along with Antarctically cold reviews, made it a pretty easy flick to forget.

The Star Wars Holiday Special

Star Wars' bastion of hardcore fans likely didn't miss the franchise's Holiday Special, which was released in 1978, in between the release of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. It featured all of the film's main cast, including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, in a musical variety show focusing on Chewbacca's family. One would think that Disney would want to wring every cent out of the extremely profitable Star Wars universe by re-airing the televised special as often as possible, but instead it's been buried, mostly due to the absolutely awful reception. George Lucas was not involved with the project, and, while the initial stars appeared, they never had very kind things to say about the project. During press tours for The Force Awakens, Ford called the film "an embarrassment" and Fisher said it was "awful. And I don't mean awful in a good way." The film was so hated by Lucas and the cast that Lucasfilm decided not to release it on VHS or DVD. However, thanks to some loyal fans, it will live on forever on YouTube.

Mei and the Kittenbus

Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro is a cult hit, but most of the movie's fans don't realize that Miyazaki actually wrote and directed a follow-up, titled Mei and the Kittenbus. The 14-minute short featured the return of voice actress Chika Sakamoto, who helped tell the story of Mei meeting and befriending the Kittenbus, the baby version of Catbus. There's a reason why you probably haven't heard of this 2003 sequel—it was never released on home video, and it for the most part only screens at the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo. Plane tickets to Japan may be pricy, but they may be worth it for the chance to get to see this hidden masterpiece.