When a movie gets the go signal from the studio to create a sequel, then you know it’s done well in the box office. But that poses a new challenge for the production, meaning they need to create something even bigger and better than the first film. Over the years, audiences have seen franchises go downhill because of less than stellar sequels. An example is the Divergent series and Zoolander 2, which both came out early this year but failed to impress both critics and moviegoers alike.
The exact formula in making a sequel great does not only rely on bigger budgets, but a lot of it depends on how the producers breathe new life to the story or how it provides closure to plot holes left by its predecessor. On this list, you will find ExploreTalent’s picks on the greatest movie sequels of all time.
Find out if your choice made it to the list below.
1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
After receiving major backlash from the widely criticized prequels, the Star Wars franchise was strategically sold to Disney Studios. This meant a new director, a bigger budget, and an improved production. The result was a glorious new story line and an impressive cast that was a blend of old and new characters. Throughout its run, Star Wars: The Force Awakens grossed more than a billion dollars in the worldwide box office. Not only that, it managed to gain an overwhelming positive response from movie critics and managed to gain several awards and nominations in the process.
2. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Toy Story 3 is another proof that bringing back beloved characters together for a whole new adventure will draw audiences in. This time, Woody and his gang are preparing for a big change: their owner Andy is growing up and the toys have to move on as well.
Everything about this movie just shows how dynamic Disney and Pixar studios are when they work together. From the plot to some of the most memorable scenes in movie history, Toy Story 3 is unarguably one of the best animated films out there. It has managed to appeal to both the new and older generation since it pays homage to the childhood we have all loved but left behind.
3. Evil Dead 2 (1987)
Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead 2 managed to gain a cult following for the best reasons. It was downright funny, comical, and stayed true to the gory horror that fans of the genre all know and love. The elements of the sequel do mirror that of the first film, but it takes it to a whole different level by having Bruce Campbell‘s character develop in the most hilarious way possible. After all, the eighties was the golden age of those goofy B-Rated movies and Evil Dead 2 perfectly embodied that.
4. Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Over the last decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a driving force for superhero films in the industry. The release of The Avengers back in 2012 proved that more heroes incorporated in one movie, the more crowds are drawn in. So it was to nobody’s surprise that Captain America: Civil War became a huge commercial success especially since it pitted two of the main heroes against each other and introduced new players to the game as well.
Not only that, the movie was backed up by a strong plot that involved politics and personal issues, which made audiences view their favorite heroes in a whole new light. All in all, Captain America: Civil War introduces the next phase of Marvel movies in the most entertaining way—and it might just be the studio’s best film to date.
5. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
There isn’t any fantasy epic film that could parallel the Lord of the Rings franchise, especially after seeing how many trilogies lose its spark after each LotR sequel is released. What makes The Return of the King stand out from the rest is how satisfying the finale wraps the whole story line up that it immediately makes audiences want to watch the first movie all over again. There is not a single character left underdeveloped, and every heartbreak and triumph was well accounted for. The film expectedly became a box-office success and went on to win all of the categories it was nominated for during the Academy Awards.