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Sequelitis / Live-Action Films

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  • 22 Jump Street parodies this in the Credits Gag with increasingly wacky sequel ideas. The concept of the film being a retread of the first one is one that's explored.
  • Air Bud. It went from a touching story about a dog escaping an abusive owner, helping a young boy find his place, and leading a small-town sports team to victory, to a wacky comedy about talking puppies. Most fans were not amused.
  • The brilliant Airplane! was followed by 1982's Airplane II: The Sequel, which wasn't produced by the ZAZ team (James Abrahams and the Zucker brothers). Most of its jokes and plot were re-hashed from the original movie, Leslie Nielsen didn't return, and it did so badly at the box office that the planned second sequel was canceled. The best parts were the courtroom scene and the self-parodying performance by William Shatner.
  • Alien is almost universally considered as an outstanding horror/science-fiction film, the sequel Aliens was even more successful with both critics and audiences and is generally considered as good or even better than the first; the third film Alien³ while not necessarily regarded as a bad film, is nevertheless held as inferior to the previous films with an "obscene" Happy Ending Override. The fourth film, however, was disastrous and is loathed by fans of the saga and co-writer Joss Whedon; it halted independent Alien films until 2012's Prometheus, and also mostly halted the careers of the producers and director.
    • Between Resurrection and Prometheus was AVP: Alien vs. Predator, which managed to be a success in spite of dividing opinions, specially regarding toning down two R-rated franchises to PG-13 levels and focusing too much on the humans. Alien vs. Predator: Requiem, on the other hand, was an outright disaster that took wrong turns with those criticisms (the violence was back but way excessive, and the human cast was unlikable instead of boring) while also being shoddily filmed with excessive rain and darkness that even made the extraterrestrial fights of the title hard to follow.
  • American Pie descended into this for a while. The American Pie Presents series were direct-to-DVD releases with predictable results. The sole main cast member reprising a role from any of the first 3 movies is Eugene Levy. Inverted with American Reunion, which brought back the principal cast and was a much better film than the DVD cash-ins that preceded.
  • American Psycho 2: All American Girl, starred Mila Kunis as a sociopath college student, whom after surviving an encounter with Patrick Bateman as a teen (in the sequel it's established that he really was a serial killer), decides to study to become an FBI agent to profile serial killers, and is willing to do anything or kill anyone who stands in her way to achieve her goal. The movie was panned heavily by critics and fans of the original, giving it full Fanon Discontinuity, and Mila has said it's one of her most regretful roles she played.
  • Both The Amityville Horror (1979) and The Howling had an unusually high number of sequels, most of them direct-to-video. With Amityville, it also extended to the book series, which eventually became pure fiction, and got progressively weirder and surreal.
  • Arthur 2: On the Rocks is still held up today as one of the biggest drop-offs in quality between a comedy and its sequel. The original 1981 film was a huge Oscar-winning hit, but prospects for a sequel were dicey from the beginning — first, writer-director Steve Gordon died the year after its release. Second, a major plot point in the original was Arthur's Servile Snarker valet Hobson dying at the end of the second act. Third, the title character was a happy, witty alcoholic, a character type falling out of favor as The '80s progressed and as substance abuse of all kinds was increasingly frowned upon. Fourth, the Surprisingly Happy Ending was pretty definite. There was still a major push for a sequel, though, and the original cast and a new creative team ultimately obliged. The plot made a legitimate attempt to continue the narrative of the first film and give Arthur more Character Development by stripping him of his fortune, leaving him and his true love in poverty, and having him sober up as part of his resultant quest to earn his happy ending, working in an appearance by Hobson that may or may not be a hallucination along the way (thus adding fantasy elements to a non-fantastic story). Unfortunately, critics felt this sucked all the fun out of the premise and Escapist Character, and audiences agreed — and the cast and crew had their regrets as well. Writer Andy Breckman actually stood outside his hometown movie theater to apologize to anyone who saw it.
  • The Austin Powers series, once it became insanely popular (i.e. by the first sequel), started becoming a caricature of the first movie, with its Vulgar Humor and especially their tendency to take gags that were most memorable from the previous movie and exaggerating them in the next. The first was intended to be an Affectionate Parody of the movies Mike Myers used to watch with his father. After the first became a cultural phenomenon on home video, more writers were brought in to create something Denser and Wackier. By the time the third movie came around, the series was repeatedly breaking the Fourth Wall and just generally making a mockery of itself. Still, some fans regret that the token Character Development Austin went through in the first movie had to be systematically scrapped for the sequels to work.
  • Batman. Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns were met with acclaim. Then Joel Schumacher came in, and the campier and more toyetic Batman Forever was more contested, but still a commercial success. The last movie, Batman & Robin was met with derision from fans and critics alike, torpedoing the plans for a fifth film (Batman Unchained) and leading to a reboot with the highly successful The Dark Knight Trilogy a decade later.
  • Baby Geniuses: In spite of the original film's critical thrashing, its modest box office success led to a sequel entitled Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2, and viewers are still divided over which one is worse. Plans for a third movie seemed to fall through after its original director Bob Clark died in 2007, only for a new director to take the helm and resume the series with the third released as direct-to-video, and practically no-one admits that it's better than the first two.
  • If there's one thing worse than a highly anticipated movie stuck in Development Hell, it's when the producers, directors, and stars try to rush to get it out of said hell and completed, which is why Basic Instinct 2 was condemned by critics and ruined any chance of a third movie. The box office gross didn't even cover Sharon Stone's salary for the movie.
  • Battle Royale 2 suffered heavily from this. Even the most enthusiastic fans of the sequel will admit that it isn't anywhere near the caliber of the original (whether it be novel, manga, or movie).
  • Be Cool. The sequel to Get Shorty was loosely based on the novel that was the sequel to the original Get Shorty novel, but was so crammed full of actor allusions, cameos and industry in-jokes (for both film and music) that it had none of the spark of the first movie.
  • A Hard Day's Night is still regarded as a classic with its story that served as mockumentary on The Beatles. Help! showed some decay for a Denser and Wackier plot full of random events and setting changes. And then there's Magical Mystery Tour, which is too bizarre for its own good. (not counting the other movies about the band, Yellow Submarine which didn't involve the actual Beatles until the end; and Let It Be, an actual documentary about a band about to split that seems to be too downbeat for enjoyment.)
  • Beethoven was a modest hit when it came out, but wasn't anything particularly special. However, the success of the film was enough to give Hollywood an excuse to turn it into a franchise, resulting in a film series that became more and more out of touch with the original with every installment. While Beethoven's 2nd stayed true to the original formula with its then-familiar cast and Beethoven still at his usual canine antics, Beethoven's 3rd saw Beethoven transferred to a new family featuring Judge Reinhold which was related to the original one featuring Charles Grodin, with increasingly uninspired villains and stories appearing in each installment. By the time of Beethoven's sixth film appearance, the series was rebooted and retooled and then the seventh installment, Beethoven's Christmas Adventure, had Beethoven talking, finally doing away with what little resemblance the sequels still bore to the original. There was also a short-lived animated seriesnote ! In 2014, it spawned an eighth installment, Beethoven's Treasure Tail, vaguely linked to the sixth film.
  • Beverly Hills Cop II was not as well-received by critics as the original, but audiences still liked it. That was not the case with Beverly Hills Cop III, which was so Denser and Wackier it ended up as just silly, and lost most of the comedy between attempting to be an Actionized Sequel, ditching three good supporting characters (Taggart, Bogomil and Friedman), and dropping a good bit of Eddie Murphy's trademark snark (director John Landis even said he expected the weak script to be improved by Murphy's comedic talents... only for the actor to attempt a more serious performance).
  • Beyond The Poseidon Adventure starts with a very forced excuse for a sequel, as the capsized ship hasn't yet sunk, and some scavengers arrive at the shipwreck to salvage it. And given that afterwards they get trapped within, where they meet more survivors further down the sinking ship, this of course means it's a retread of the original with nary any inspiration.
  • Birdemic quickly gained a So Bad, It's Good following for its slipshod camera work, Author Tract-laden dialogue, and incredibly fake-looking special effects. The director, realizing he had a cult hit on his hands, later put out Birdemic 2: The Resurrection, which—like many sequels to so-bad-they're-good works—is self-aware and deliberately tries to be corny. General consensus on this film is that this results in the movie trying too hard and ending up feeling forced and artificial, completely removing what makes the first movie so fun to watch. It's as bad at being intentionally bad as the first movie is bad at being intentionally good.
  • The Blues Brothers is one of the most famous movies inspired by Saturday Night Live, but Blues Brothers 2000 was just the same thing all over again — so much that the only major difference is that John Goodman replaced John Belushi — and it gained little fanfare from critics and audiences. As a result, it completed to the downfall of John Landis, who directed the original eighteen years earlier.
  • The Bourne Series followed a very acclaimed trilogy with two movies that couldn't live up to it: The Bourne Legacy, which tried something different with another main character and was not as inspired; and Jason Bourne, which brought back the title character but did absolutely nothing new, with reviews noting the story beats are ripped straight from the first films without deviation.
  • Caddyshack II. Chevy Chase was the only star returning for the sequel, which lost all of what made the first movie funny. They knew the writing was on the wall, as every other castmate and returning writer Harold Ramis had no desire to even consider a sequel.
  • Many sequels to movies starring Jim Carrey have suffered from this, including Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (which is is considered inferior for overreliance on Toilet Humor and making Ace more of a Jerkass) and Dumb and Dumberer. This is most visible in the fact that the vast majority of sequels to his movies do not include him at all, either starring someone else in his role (Dumberer), dropping his character entirely (Ace Ventura Jr., Evan Almighty), or disregarding his character's existence altogether (Son of the Mask); Jim Carrey so thoroughly detested working on When Nature Calls that he declared he would never do a sequel ever again.note  He worked on A Series of Unfortunate Events because it would be a series he'd enjoy doing... but it entered Development Hell after a single movie before being rebooted over a decade later as a Netflix series, with Carrey's role being taken up by Neil Patrick Harris. He broke this rule for Dumb and Dumber To, a proper sequel to Dumb and Dumber, but that film had a ridiculously difficult production (up to and including Carrey dropping out of the project at one point and, apparently, the money used to produce it having been stolen from a Malaysian government investment) and received a negative reception from critics. He also returned as Dr. Robotnik for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which fared better among critics and audiences, finally marking a Carrey sequel that averted this.
  • Carrie is considered one of the landmark horror films of The '70s, and its success helped to establish Stephen King, the writer of the book it was based on, as one of the biggest names in horror literature. Twenty-three years later comes The Rage: Carrie 2, a film that, while most definitely enjoyable in a certain way, fails to hold a candle to the original, and was a box office disappointment. Part of this may stem from the fact that The Rage was originally written as a separate film called The Curse and was turned into a Carrie sequel presumably after somebody saw the obvious similarities between the two films.
  • Charlie's Angels (2000) was considered fun if uninspired. The sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, on the other hand, tried to disguise the weaker script, both plot and comedy-wise, with more fanservice, quick edits, and celebrity cameos, and could not repeat the same success.
  • The original Children of the Corn (1984) film has suffered from an attack of Sequelitis, spawning seven gradually worsening sequels - The Final Sacrifice, Urban Harvest, The Gathering, Fields of Terror, 666: Isaac's Return, Revelation and Genesis.
  • A Christmas Story is regarded as a holiday classic. The sequels were too obscure... except for A Christmas Story 2, which seen as one of the worst movies of all time.
  • The Conjuring fared well with critics, then its prequel Annabelle released the following year was reviled by some and considered So Okay, It's Average by others. The Conjuring had a proper sequel in 2016 that met critical success, while Annabelle had a Surprisingly Improved Sequel in 2017... and then things fell down again with side stories The Nun and The Curse of La Llorona, before two other So Okay, It's Average outings with a third Annabelle and a third mainline title.
  • Even in otherwise positive reviews, the majority of viewers and critics feel The Craft: Legacy is inferior to the 1996 film The Craft (and critics weren't hugely enamored with that movie, either, though it's regarded as a Cult Classic). The main criticisms include being overly-derivative of the first movie, the rushed climax, the lack of characterization for the girls save for Lily, the toned-down horror, multiple unresolved plot threads, and the lack of nuance in some of its themes. Not helping is that while The Craft had something of a uniqueness factor as dark fantasy aimed at teens was uncommon in the 1990s, these days supernatural teen dramas are a dime a dozen. While some appreciated Legacy's attempts to address topical social issues and its girl power themes, there's not much else to make it stand out.
  • The Crow was an inspired take on a powerful, emotionally-gripping comic book. The sequel The Crow: City of Angels suffered - tortuously - from the writers attempting to take the "framework" of the original story and try to swap out the plot details, replacing the original compelling story with a particularly unsubtle morass of "IKEA Pathos." That, and apparently no one on the film team even noticed the visual aesthetic of the original, since not even the barest effort was made to retain it. Add to this wooden acting, a notable dearth of memorable lines or dialogue, an obvious, over-the-top Ass Pull ending, the utter absence of verisimilitude between the visual (and linguistic) environment depicted in the film and the real-life Los Angeles it was allegedly based on, and a particularly blatant bridge drop at the end, and you have a shameful attempt at remaking - even cloning - The Crow, with essentially none of the things that made the original great. To the point that even if The Crow: Salvation was middling at best, everyone agrees it was an improvement over City of Angels. But then there was The Crow: Wicked Prayer, which wastes a good source material and only has entertainment value in an unhinged Dennis Hopper performance.
  • Of the two MGM distributed Dark Shadows films in the early 1970s, the second, Night of Dark Shadows is generally considered the weaker for several reasons, including the fact that it's not directly based on any plot arc from the main series, and the fact that Executive Meddling led to a re-edit that left the continuity of the plot choppy and confusing. Add to that the absence of Jonathan Frid as fan favorite character Barnabas Collins (though Frid was in the first film, and the second features the just-as-popular David Selby as an alternate version of his regular Quentin Collins character) and the fans stayed away in droves. This killed all hopes for a third film in the series.
  • Death Wish started as a grounded, down-to-earth crime drama where Charles Bronson's character brought about a cynical analysis of the attitudes of Americans regarding the crime waves of the 1970s, and stood out as unique in the action genre at the time. However, its four sequels became progressively less grounded in reality and increasingly over the top, with Bronson resorting to excessive means in dispatching one typical action movie villain after another and dropping the social commentary that magnified the first film's impact.
  • The Descent is considered a horror classic. Its sequel, The Descent Part 2, is a movie that fans of the first tend to pretend doesn't exist. The job is made easier by the fact that the sequel follows an alternate ending.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid, already an adaptation of a book series victim to decay, had three movies that were divisive among fans, but nothing too bad compared to the Trilogy Creep The Long Haul, which between an all-new cast (the now-grown kids made sense to replace, but the adults too?) and a script that was mean, unfunny and overreliant on social media and YouTube references, had at least one review noting the subtitle was a good description on what watching the movie feels like.
  • Each Die Hard film after the first became slightly less believable than its predecessor, resulting in John McClane being Made of Iron by Die Hard 4, and nobody ever bleeding, despite the original's highly-praised realism (though the decision to lower to PG-13 is to blame for the Bloodless Carnage). The plot is as convoluted as in the campier Bond films, as well as the marriage he was trying to save in the first film getting only a cursory mention (as being long over). Though up until 2013, at most there were two Contested Sequels in the second (for being too similar to the first, as lampshaded by the quote "Another basement, another elevator—how can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?") and the aforementioned fourth movie (being the apex of Serial Escalation). Then came A Good Day to Die Hard, a fifth movie that did not split the fanbase regarding doing everything wrong.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God is often said to have inverted this trope in spite of being released as a SyFy Channel Original, which is normally a step worse than Direct to Video. It helps that the first Dungeons & Dragons (2000) was so campy and far gone from what D&D was (or was expected to be) that the few fans left felt it had nowhere left to go but up. The third one, however, The Book of Vile Darkness, managed to do worse again and strangely dropped all connections to the previous movies despite actually numbering itself this time.
  • The Expendables 3, due to being rated PG-13 and adding unnecessary new characters played by lesser-known actors who are taking the screentime from the bigger name actors whose appearance were the whole point of the franchise, has drawn much criticism. It doesn't help that many of these new characters are played by real-life MMA fighters and martial artists with little to no acting experience, which unfortunately comes across in their performances.

  • The 2015 Fantastic Four film is a reboot-related example, being rated much lower than both the unreleased Roger Corman film and the 2 Tim Story movies - this is somewhat of an ironic case, as the Tim Story movies were considered incredibly silly and somewhat campy, whereas the 2015 film tried to distance itself from those 2 films and was more in the vein of The Dark Knight Trilogy, yet was universally considered to be the worst version of the Four on the screen (a big feat given the Corman film is a No Budget effort done only to retain rights).
  • Final Destination. Of the films, the first two are viewed as the best, the third is viewed as average, the fourth film is violently hated, and the fifth is viewed as a proper return to form (with the highest critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 61%).
  • The Fly II is generally seen by critics as inferior to the the 1986 remake due to being more of a standard monster movie than the tragic psychological thriller of its predecessor. Audiences, on the other hand, were more forgiving due to its visuals still as good as those of the remake; even critics noted that this was the one area it could match it.
  • Friday was a great comedy with good performances from Ice Cube as Craig and Chris Tucker as Smokey, the latter of whom is widely thought to be the funniest part of the film. A sequel, Next Friday, was released in 2000 and is generally considered inferior - mainly due to the lack of Smokey (Tucker had chosen to do Rush Hour instead and had become a born-again Christian after making Money Talks), who was replaced by Mike Epps as Day-Day - but the movie still has its defenders. 2002's Friday After Next, however, has been almost universally panned.
  • Gamera: While the films were never considered high art, the first few films were considered entertaining but gradually became of lower and lower quality around the fourth film as it succumbed to over-reliance on repetitive plots, focus on annoying child characters, evermore shoestring production quality, and use of Stock Footage to pad the runtime. This culminated with the universally-reviled Gamera: Super Monster which exacerbated these flaws, with another ineffectual alien invasion, the most annoying little boy main character yet, the budget of a ham sandwich, and more than a third of its runtime being recycled scenes. The Heisei trilogy which followed invert this though, and are considered miles better than any of the Showa Gamera sequels, by virtue of being a Darker and Edgier Continuity Reboot which avoid the flaws of the original series.
  • Ghostbusters II fell victim to this, as the plot reads like a Mad Lib rewrite of the first movie: An ancient (god/warlock) is resurrected in modern NewYork, possesses Dana Barrett's nebbish (neighbor/boss), and needs (her/her baby) as part of its plot to destroy New York. She gradually falls for Peter's quirky charm, while the rest of the Ghostbusters try to convince the skeptical mayor and a sleazy (EPA agent/mayoral aide) that the world's in danger until the big finale has the heroes facing off with the (god/warlock) in a gothic (skyscraper/library) now overrun by evil, while a giant walking mascot (terrorizes/saves) the city by stepping on things. It's all made even more implausible given how easily all the world-changing events of the first movie seem to have been swept under the rug, and the end result was so lackluster, both critically and financially, that the director and other three stars were completely turned off from Dan Aykroyd's plans for a third movie (which were mostly reused in a video game that reunited the cast). The 2016 Continuity Reboot, for all its controversy, falls outside the range of this trope on technical grounds. Ghostbusters: Afterlife was deemed an aversion.
  • The Godzilla films often fall under this considering there are 27 sequels to the original Japanese film and two remakes. The first film is regarded as a classic and a few sequels are beloved by the fans. However, many films (especially the ones made in the 1960s-1970s) are considered to be So Bad, It's Good at best.
  • Grease is a hugely popular 50s nostalgia musical funfest. Grease 2 has only a few characters returning from the original (Frenchie, Eugene, the principal and her assistant, and the coach. All brief roles.) and introduces Sandy's cousin Michael in some weak attempt to connect the two movies. The plot is a Gender Flip of the first movie's plot and the results are... well, most Grease fans like to pretend it doesn't exist. Incidentally, Grease 2 unwittingly stopped the franchise from experiencing what would likely be more sequelitis. There were plans for two more movies and a TV series, but they were scrapped after Grease 2 flopped.
  • The 2009 comedy The Hangover quickly became regarded as a rare case of a well-done "raunchy" comedy, making $467 million out of a $35 million budget. A sequel was made only two years later. Unfortunately, it played out as a carbon copy of the first film set in a different locale and was criticized for having somewhat of a darker and raunchier tone. In spite of these criticisms, and the fact R-rated comedies were already on their way out by 2011, it managed to make even more money than the first. A third film came out another two years later. By then, "raunchy" comedy was now on its death throes and the film was more of a quirky "coming-of-age" film featuring the thirty-something slacker Alan and the campy Asian gangster Chow while the rest of the gang merely tagged along; unsurprisingly, it's widely considered the worst of the three by critics and viewers alike.
  • The Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle sequels are seen this way by some. The first is well-loved, though technically its box office performance was the smallest of the three, while by contrast, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay had the highest box office performance of the trilogy but at the same time got a lot of criticism for being too political. However, the third film, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas did quite well and got better reviews by avoiding the overt political tone that plagued its predecessor.
  • Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II are usually seen as pretty good, while Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth is often looked down upon for being more "mainstream" and slashery. The fourth tried returning to the series roots, but suffered severely from Executive Meddling, resulting in the movie getting the Alan Smithee treatent. Mileage tends to vary on the direct-to-video films though Hellraiser: Hellworld (consensus saying it could've been a decent standalone film, but as a Hellraiser film, it falls flat) and Hellraiser: Revelations (a cheaply produced Ashcan Copy that couldn't even bring back Doug Bradley as Pinhead) seem to be the only ones that are near-universally disliked. For what is worth, Clive Barker wrote Hellraiser comics for Boom Studios serve as a direct sequel series to the first two movies, but so far have completely brushed aside the continuity from the other sequels.
  • Just ask Highlander fans about the sequels, and you'll be told, "There should have been only one [movie]!" Part of the issue is that each film tries to retcon the previous movie out of existence (with the partial exception of Highlander II, which merely retcons the first one's first thirty minutes; and Highlander: The Source, which is a direct sequel of Highlander: Endgame; tellingly, both are considered the worst two of the franchise).
  • Home Alone is widely considered a classic Christmas movie, even though it received mixed reviews at the time. Its first sequel, Lost in New York, while it has a very similar plot to the original, is still beloved. However, the third film got a lot of criticism for changing the setup too much. Macaulay Culkin's Kevin was replaced (he had retired from acting at the time), and the villains were changed from burglars to secret agents. Then, the two sequels after that were low quality TV Movies, with fewer and less interesting traps and no actors from the previous movies appearing. The Disney+ movie Home Sweet Home Alone earned even more vitriol for questionable choices in characterization - the burglars were sympathetic Anti Villains, the kid snobbish and borderline sadistic - that made the movie not only uninspired but mean-spirited.
  • Hot Tub Time Machine was well-received, while Hot Tub Time Machine 2 was ravaged by critics and only slightly better-received by audiences.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer was a minor hit in the '90s very loosely based on a mystery/suspense novel. It's fondly remembered as one of the better post-Scream slasher films of the day. Its first sequel, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, is divisive among fans but generally still accepted as canon. The next film, I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer, was a poor Direct to Video knock-off that featured none of the original cast and introduced out-of-nowhere supernatural elements that weren't in the original. Fans like to pretend it doesn't exist.
  • In the Heat of the Night had two sequels, 1970's They Call Me Mr. Tibbs and 1971's The Organization, that most people tend to forget about. It doesn't help that the only people who worked on all three films — other than Sidney Poitier, who played Tibbs in both sequels — were Quincy Jones, who provided the jazzy score for each, and producer Walter Mirisch.
  • General opinion seems to be that, while not bad or horrible, Independence Day: Resurgence isn't quite as good or fun as the original film.
  • Interview with the Vampire vs. Queen of the Damned. The two movies were made over ten years apart, with completely different studios, directors, and actors. The themes and tones of the movies were vastly different, and no references were made to characters or plots from the first film, but it was explicitly set afterwards. Both movies being relatively self-contained, QotD was less of a sequel and more like the closest thing to a Continuity Reboot without actually doing so. Interview was based on the novel of the same name, while Queen of the Damned was an attempt to squeeze two separate novels into one film.
  • While the first Iron Eagle is considered a Cult Classic, the remaining three... definitely aren't. At most, you might get some who argue IV to be a Surprisingly Improved Sequel compared to II and Aces, but all three are considered well behind the first in quality terms.
  • Iron Man 2 is usually considered the weakest or one of the weakest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far. That said, general consensus seems to be that the second movie is still an entertaining film, if not exactly as fresh as the first one, and plagued by cramming too much stuff so it can both be a follow-up and help set up The Avengers. It may help if you think of it as the second in a trilogy.
  • A few James Bond films suffered from this, specially You Only Live Twice (the formula is starting to age), Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, Moonraker (all three for being overly stupid note ), A View to a Kill (Bond is too old, girl is annoying, plot is a rehash note ), Die Another Day (silliness, dodgy special effects note ), Quantum of Solace (too serious for its own good, convoluted plot), and Spectre (plot is too incoherent).
  • Jaws 2, Jaws 3D, Jaws: The Revenge, ad nauseam. Ken Begg's series of reviews chronicles the slide in quality from Jaws to Jaws 2 (which he admits is merely inferior and mediocre, but much better than the knock-offs and the next sequels) to Jaws 3-D to Jaws: The Revenge (which bottomed out at 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, including a zero star rating from Roger Ebert, and ensnared the careers of a good chunk of its crew). So much that it was mocked in Back to the Future Part II: a holographic Jaws 19 poster can be seen during the 2015 sequence. Which makes oddly prescient a move by Peter Benchley, who wrote the original novel. Prior to the film's release, the royalties were late. He called his agent, she replied that there were negotiations on sequel right. “Sequel rights!? I don’t care about sequels; who’ll ever want to make a sequel to a movie about a fish? Sell them the rights to anything they want ... my life as an astronaut, anything. I need money!” Eventually Benchley's sequel rights were exchanged for one-time payments for each new installment, making the original author someone not to blame for the decay. Parodied again around "Back To The Future Day" in October 2015, when, to celebrate the gag from II, Universal released a fake trailer for the aforementioned Jaws 19.
  • The Ju On/The Grudge film series, which began life as Takashi Shimizu's V-Cinema TV special but is now up to a second special (which recycled most of the first), two theatrical Japanese films, two Japanese shorts, an American remake, and two American sequels. Special honors to the first American film because it reenacted, almost scene-for-scene in some cases, the exact same plot as the first Japanese theatrical movie, though somehow keeps the main star/character (Sarah Michelle Gellar) alive through the end.
  • While it's agreed something like this came into effect with Jurassic Park there's a lot of debate over when it came into effect.
    • Opinions were divided over whether The Lost World: Jurassic Park or Jurassic Park III was worse, although the latter usually won out in such arguments, with most outside the fanbase feeling neither of them held a candle to the original, even with several actors inexplicably agreeing to reprise their roles. Both films' Contested Sequel status slid over the years among the fanbase, with an increasing (but far from universal) number of fans regarding TLW as a worthy sequel to JP though with JP3 usually regarded as the abomination at worst, but a decent effort at best.
    • Since the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom however, an increasing number of fans prefer to isolate the "original trilogy" of films from the World trilogy, and though many fans liked the film, a notable number of reactions invoked fears that Sequelitis had set in. The closer Jurassic World Dominion was even more derided, particularly the script having a plot with a lesser focus on the dinosaurs.
  • The Karate Kid movies initially averted this trope, as The Karate Kid Part II was well-received, being different enough from the first movie. But then things went straight into much less appreciated routes with The Karate Kid Part III, which boils down to a loose remake of the first movie, and The Next Karate Kid, a lame and clichéd attempt at actually remaking the first movie that became a Franchise Killer. Still, audiences were later receptive to the remake The Karate Kid (2010), in spite of taking liberties with the material (for starters, it's about kung fu), and the Un-Reboot sequel show Cobra Kai, which is held to be an outstanding aversion, albeit in a different format.
  • Kick-Ass 2 was generally not as well-received as the original (although audiences reacted better than critics), being more violent, dark, and cynical but without the compelling characterization and comedy of the original, to the point of being called "unpleasant".
  • Released in 1989, Kickboxer was a fine action film that did well at the box office and helped propel Jean-Claude Van Damme to stardom. And then came the 1991 sequel, which Van Damme did not return for. Van Damme's character... and the paralyzed brother he fought to avenge... were both murdered before the events of Kickboxer 2, and the protagonist is a previously-unmentioned third brother. Then THAT was followed by three direct-to-video sequels, in which fewer and fewer actors returned to reprise their roles... and by the time the fifth film came out, absolutely no one came back, putting it squarely in In Name Only territory. Easy to see why most fans tend to ignore everything after the first one.
  • Both the original King Kong (1933) and the 1976 remake were followed by forgettable sequels (The Son of Kong and King Kong Lives, respectively, the latter of which finished off John Guillermin's directing career).
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service was a surprise hit, and as much as Kingsman: The Golden Circle tried to repeat what worked, it fell short of the original in terms of originality, humor, and action, and even shorter in regard to Character Development and the general plot. Prequel The King's Man was hit even worse, as the good cast and well-executed action couldn't save an uneven script and excessive length.
  • The Legend of Zorro had the same director and main couple returning from The Mask of Zorro. And still was widely considered a step down for being too Lighter and Softer and Denser and Wackier, with excessive comedic bits and childish parts (including an actual big role for a child).
  • The first Lethal Weapon movie is generally considered the best, despite making far less at the box office than its sequels. Lethal Weapon 2 lacked some of the tension, but traded it in for a lot of gags making it funnier. Lethal Weapon 3 seemed to get a little more tired, and Lethal Weapon 4 gives us fake-looking sharks, anvilicious (and hypocritical) political sentiments, and a sympathy-pouch-wearing Rene Russo who's supposed to be 9-months pregnant, and yet is able to fight martial arts-trained mooks.
  • George A. Romero's Living Dead Series is often held as having produced three outright classic, genre-defining zombie horror films: 1968's Night of the Living Dead, 1978's Dawn of the Dead, and 1985's Day of the Dead. Romero's return to the zombie genre in 2005, Land of the Dead, didn't receive the praise of its predecessors but was still seen as a welcome comeback from the pioneer of zombie horror. His 2007 follow-up Diary of the Dead, however, did not meet the same positive reception, being widely criticized as a failed attempt to cash in on the emerging boom in Found Footage Films that didn't understand how that genre worked. Survival of the Dead in 2009 indicated to many fans that Romero's spark had finally faded, and he retired from filmmaking afterwards.

  • The Matrix was generally well-received and a major game-changer for action movies. The second and third movies are usually seen as overly long and pretentious (though some thought Reloaded was okay), while the prequel The Animatrix ranges from decent to bad since it's an anthology of nine short films based on The Matrix, with the two-parter CGI The Second Renaissance considered the best (reason to purchase the rest). The other seven vary. Once a fourth movie came out, it was even more divisive, being either a Surprisingly Improved Sequel or a wholly unnecessary addition.
  • The Maze Runner (2014) was well-received for being considerably smarter than a lot of the other YA adaptations. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was viewed as a huge step down, with no emphasis on character development and for it being an In Name Only adaptation of The Scorch Trials. Maze Runner: The Death Cure got even worse reviews (particularly as delays made it come out over two years after The Scorch Trials, when the predecessor wasn't as fresh in people's minds and the YA genre was all but dead), but fans were more welcoming, deeming it an emotional conclusion.
  • Those who consider Mean Girls to be a Cult Classic find Mean Girls 2 to be fairly lackluster. None of the characters return (except the principal, who is now the butt of out-of-place jokes where he appears to sexually harass the students), instead featuring a new group of Plastics and another new girl in Cady's position. The plot is very similar, but the original's deconstruction of high school tropes has been mostly thrown aside in favor of playing the cliches completely straight. Add that to its short production time of under a month, it bears resemblance to one of the more unremarkable Disney Channel original movies (which makes sense, as several characters are played by Disney Channel actresses).
  • Meatballs: The original 1979 comedy was a comedy classic, featuring Bill Murray in his major film debut/Star-Making Role, and featuring a Coming of Age story involving a group of teen campers who are led by rebellious camp counselor Tripper Harrison (Murray) to compete in a triathlon against a rival camp for bragging rights. The original film was a critical and commercial smash hit, but further installments in the series forgot what made the original so enduring (the friendships between the counselors and students), and instead lapsed into Hotter and Sexier knockoffs of '80s sleaze films like Film/Porkys. The end result was a mishmash of Same Story, Different Names (two of the three sequels all revolve around a camp competition between rival groups), unrelated concepts rewritten to fit in the franchise's mold, and waning box office. By the time the fourth film, Meatballs IV, arrived Direct to Video, it's clear that the shine was long gone from the franchise.
  • Meet the Parents was a well-received comedy, Meet the Fockers was a bigger box office hit but was a Contested Sequel considered either still funny or very inferior, and then Little Fockers was a total misfire lacking good jokes and having its cast only caring about their paychecks (Robert De Niro downright admitted it).
  • The original Men in Black was well received by both critics and audiences, but Men in Black II (while still being a hit at the box office) was generally considered to be a dud; with the biggest symptoms of MiBII's problems being the One-Scene Wonder talking pug being promoted to supporting character and Agent K being pulled right back out of retirement because the dynamic between him and J was just too good in the first. In addition, a lot of the first film's fresh and bizarre aliens, appear again in the sequel because they tested well. After a decade in Development Hell, Men in Black 3 was released, and managed to not only be another big hit at the box office but got very good reviews from the critics as well. And then many years later, Men in Black: International was released and was generally regarded as an uninspired dud, and had a tepid box office as well, by far the lowest of any the films in the series.
  • Regarding Miss Congeniality, many a fan (girl) probably became very disappointed that the second film did not see the return of Benjamin Bratt as Eric Matthews, not to mention weaker jokes and characters.
  • The Missing in Action series could have averted this trope but didn't due to Executive Meddling. The original two films were shot back-to-back and as discussed in the documentary Electric Boogaloo, Cannon executives realized the second film was a Surprisingly Improved Sequel. Knowing that no one would come out for it if the first movie bombed, they released the sequel first as Missing in Action and retitled the original Missing in Action 2: The Beginning! Thus the series gets progressively worse with each installment.
  • Mission: Impossible II was a bigger hit than the first, but earned negative remarks on how in spite of impressive action sequences with all the John Woo trademarks, it had a much more disposable script, with fans of the old TV series in particular disliking how it departed from the team dynamics. About the time Mission: Impossible III came out, reasserting teamwork and espionage while marking the point the franchise was Growing the Beard, M:I:II came to be seen as the weakest entry in the series.
  • The Mouse on the Moon was completely devoid of Peter Sellers and brought back very few people from The Mouse That Roared, one of whom, producer Walter Shenson, made two more (better recognized) movies with director Richard Lester. Unsurprisingly, the other three "Mouse" novels by Leonard Wibberly never made it to the silver screen.
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is widely considered to be inferior to the first The Mummy (a very fun Indiana Jones style romp) and The Mummy Returns (the first film on steroids) films. Probably not helped by the seven-year gap between the second and third films - it badly misses Rachel Weisz, who was replaced by Maria Bello (Weisz's and Brendan Fraser's chemistry in the first two films is obvious whereas Fraser and Bello are unconvincing as a couple). The omission of Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) and Ardeth Bay (Oded Fehr) robs the film of those actors' abilities to stretch beyond the schlock setting and craft believable and human characters. Jet Li is criminally underused in the Dragon Emperor role, spending most of his screen time as a CGI dragon. Michelle Yeoh is wasted in her role also and the sequence with the yetis stretches willing suspension of disbelief too far. Critically panned with poor fan reactions, it made LESS money than either of the first two despite seven years worth of inflation, killing the main franchise (though The Scorpion King spinoff series continues).
  • Muppets Most Wanted starts with a song about sequels that hangs a lampshade on this trope. "And everybody knows that the sequel's never quite as good." It was further lampshaded by Dr. Bunsen, who pointed out this was the seventh Muppet film released in theaters. Unfortunately, the film itself bombed at the box office despite being generally well received by critics.
  • National Lampoon's Vacation is a well-liked road trip comedy, and out of its sequels, only Christmas Vacation gets a pass with its relatable Christmas hijinx. European Vacation was deemed as an inferior rehash, Vegas Vacation is watered-down to the point the series was now PG, and the 2015 "remake" got widely bashed for reveling in crude humor.
  • Neighbors was well-received and a huge box office success, grossing $270 million against a $18 million budget. A sequel was ordered, leading to Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising two years later. Although it received a modest reception, which was a rarity for sequels to comedy films at the time, critics complained that the film used the same clichés as the prior film and did nothing unique to them.
  • With a title like The NeverEnding Story, one would expect the movie to have at least a few sequels or follow-ups. The first movie is a very nice fantasy film; the second movie is not as good as the first one (with a dramatic drop in production values), but still watchable, at least compared to the third movie, which had to invent a plot out of whole cloth and ended up with a lot of cringeworthy sitcom-style humor plus OOC characters and shut the book on The NeverEnding Story (it's also an early regrettable role for villain actor Jack Black). That third film only got a limited release in the States after the second bombed there, and eventually went Direct to Video by Miramax/Disney instead of Warner.
  • Nutty Professor II: The Klumps raised the low-brow comedy of its predecessor to unsavory levels and the results wound up very inferior and often disgusting - an enhanced role for the other Klumps already meant Toilet (the father) and Vulgar Humor (the grandmother), but things like rape by giant hamster were uncalled for.
  • Oh, God! is generally remembered as a quirky little Carl Reiner comedy, while the next two movies are ignored almost to the point of being Fanon Discontinuity. The changes in creators definitely didn't help.
  • The first Once Upon a Time in China film is an iconic classic that more or less made Jet Li a superstar and has a number of very moving scenes that push it well beyond being just a kung fu movie and more towards a tragic, End of an Era sort of historical film. The second doesn't have the same iconic status, but it's a very high-quality movie beloved by the fans with a lot to enjoy (especially Donnie Yen and Jet Li facing off) and in some specific areas (such as the depiction of Westerners and Chinese xenophobia) it might have done some things better than the original. The third film... most fans will agree that the main good thing about it was an antagonist who does a Heel–Face Turn about halfway through the film and subsequently became a favorite character of the fandom, but otherwise it's fairly underwhelming and forgettable. Jet Li declined to reprise the lead role of Wong Fei-hung for the fourth and fifth films, and they afterward became exiled to Canon Discontinuity, not even being included in the official Blu-Ray boxset of the series. While Jet Li did return for the sixth movie and it seems to be regarded as at least some improvement over the previous two films, it didn't gain much attention outside of Hong Kong and is still a steep drop in quality from the first two installments.
  • One Cut of the Dead was a No Budget Japanese horror-comedy Film-within-a-film detailing the misadventures of a film crew filming a zombie movie being besieged by actual zombies and then the behind-the-scenes production of the In-Universe actual horror film. It was a really clever and fun little flick that gained many times the amount of its miniscule budget at the box office and was even remade five years later as the big-budget French film Final Cut. However, even the funniest and cleverest joke loses its appeal once you heard it, so its sequel One Cut of The Dead in Hollywood was basically ignored by everyone, being essentially the exact same film with the only difference of a trashy faux-American setting. On top of that, even the French remake was lambasted by some critics, for being the exact same film but replacing the creativity with money and a much more polished production.

  • While not considered terrible Pacific Rim: Uprising is considered a major downgrade on the original, lacking Guillermo del Toro's artistic vision, having disliked retcons, much less likeable or memorable characters, and being far more Merchandise-Driven. Rather tellingly, following this film, nearly all online hype regarding follow-ups to the franchise (which was very prevalent beforehand) vanished almost overnight.
  • The Pink Panther movies escalated the slapstick comedy, wacky disguises, and whatnot quite a bit in the 1970s entries, even bringing in science fiction elements in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. There were also new female leads in each entry, whether they became Inspector Clouseau's love interest or not. The series also hit Franchise Zombie status with Revenge of the Pink Panther, which United Artists commissioned for summer 1978. Still, they were all hits — the franchise jumped the rails in The '80s when director-writer-producer Blake Edwards attempted to continue the series in spite of the death of Peter Sellers, who played Clouseau. It turned out that without Sellers, people weren't interested in more of the same hijinks. This was made clear with the release of Son of the Pink Panther in 1993, which became a huge Box Office Bomb and is considered to be the series' worst.
    • The 2000s-era reboot featuring Steve Martin went through the same path: even though the first one was regarded as quite uninspired, it became successful enough to spawn a sequel that amped up the inappropriate humor, becoming thrashed by critics and audiences alike.
  • Piranha, which Spielberg himself considered the best Jaws knockoff, was followed by Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, whose quality can simply be summed up by the fact that there are now flying piranha! (the one positive is that it gave James Cameron its first directorial job) It also inspired a second case with remake Piranha 3D, praised for its Comedy Horror approach, only to be followed by Piranha 3DD, disliked for slanting so far into comedy it became too stupid to be enjoyable.
  • The original Planet of the Apes (1968) had four sequels - most entering Franchise Zombie; Charlton Heston even asked that the second, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, to end with Earth being destroyed so it would be the last, but didn't work - with varying levels of quality, mostly due to lowering budgets, culminating in the terrible Battle for the Planet of the Apes. It only continued afterwards in TV series and reimaginings. The third movie, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, considered the best of the sequels, was the only one deliberately written open-ended with a sequel in mind. The fourth movie, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, would have been the last (the producer was already considering a TV series), but profits were good enough to justify a fifth movie.
  • The Police Academy series. The first movie wasf a commercial success and jumpstarted the careers of several actors who would go on to bigger projects (Steve Guttenberg, Kim Cattrall, Bobcat Goldthwait), but as the sequels progressed, the humor became increasingly lowbrow, and cast members started leaving throughout the franchise. By the time the seventh and final film, Mission to Moscow, was released in 1994, only a handful of original characters remained, and it failed to surpass the $200,000 mark. It's the last theatrical film directed by Alan Metter, who disowned it in the end.
  • The first Poison Ivy was a Cult Classic despite its poor critical reception (a lot of which came from it being directed by a woman and centering on teenage girls). Its sequels follow the formula of the trope - featuring none of the original cast, only a vague connection to the first film, and amping up the gratuitous sex and nudity (which actually wasn't in the film). And of course all of them were either Direct to Video or made for TV.
  • Predator was an acclaimed action movie with a sci-fi slasher bent, introducing a very cool monstruous alien. Predator 2 was nowhere as well-received for its over-the-top approach, as the Predator now hunts gangs of ethnic stereotypes in an Urban Warfare setting. Predators earned better remarks, but then The Predator was deemed to fall short, with the weakest protagonist of all four movies and a Denser and Wackier script that added very contentious lore regarding the Predator species. (all that said, everyone agrees First Installment Wins, but the other three all have their share of defenders and dissers; only Prey (2022) escaped it and was mostly well-received)
  • The original Psycho spawned three sequels, none of which involved Alfred Hitchcock due to his death. Psycho II, directed by Hitchcock protege Richard Franklin, is widely considered a good follow-up to the first movie. The third and fourth movies, not so much.
  • Rambo is First Installment Wins, and all of its follow-ups split opinions; the most positively received is Rambo: First Blood Part II, a critically reviled but very popular Actionized Sequel that generated a bevy of imitators and is the reason why Rambo is mostly associated with slaughters when in First Blood he causes quite the property damage but only kills one person, mostly by accident. The other movies strayed even further from the compelling anti-war story of a disrespected Shell-Shocked Veteran that started the series, with Rambo III being fairly boring in spite of the warfare, Rambo IV going Bloodier and Gorier, and Rambo: Last Blood not only overriding the last film's ending but also having a controversial approach with Mexican Human Traffickers as its villains.
  • Resident Evil (2002) generally has a mixed reception from fans and general audiences, which, even if not very faithful to the games, has a similar enough tone and entertaining action to keep it engaging. The sequels... not so much. Chief criticisms include deviating even further from the source material, lots of nonsensical Ass Pulls, and turning Alice, already a base-breaking Canon Foreigner, into an increasingly Invincible Hero and obvious Creator's Pet.
  • The first Return of the Living Dead is an almost perfect mix of black comedy and horror and is also a deconstruction and/or Affectionate Parody of Romero's "Dead" series. It's a Cult Classic. Return of the Living Dead Part II uses a lot more comedy than the first which makes it less scary. Return of the Living Dead 3 disregards continuity from the first two and makes it Darker and Edgier. More scary but without the charm. Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis and Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave aren't well-regarded at all.
  • The Ring franchise has suffered from this disease. While each of the three "original" films has been well-received (Japanese, American, and Korean, respectively), their sequels have met with various degrees of scorn and failure to the point that the very first sequel, a film adaptation of the novel's follow-up Spiral, is considered so bad it's Canon Discontinuity by the Japanese producers, who went on to make Ring 2 instead. (Alternatively, even though *that* was a big box office draw, its overall lack of originality and goofier aspects had the studio shifting gears by changing directors and going back to the source material by adapting one of author Koji Suzuki’s short stories into the prequel Ring 0: Birthday, which is generally regarded as a solid entry, and being the swan song of the Japanese film series until the Sadako 3D movies released a decade later.)
  • RoboCop (1987) and its sequel RoboCop 2 were violent, edgy and full of satire on mid-'80s corporate culture. While the second film was derided for focusing too much on shock value and having less of the satirical humor, the franchise was still doing pretty well for itself (an animated series was created during this time, and the films performed very well at the box office). Unfortunately, studio executives (likely smelling several marketing opportunities) toned down the violence in the third film, RoboCop 3, to appeal to younger viewers. While there were some elements that remained from the previous films (Basil Poledouris' score, a return to the silver armor from the first film, most of the surviving cast members returning and some of the satire), the end result was too juvenile for most audiences, and the film bombed both financially and critically. Although there were attempts to resurrect the franchise over the years (a mid-'90s Canadian-made TV series bombed after one season, a late-'90s cartoon was critically panned and a miniseries [also filmed in Canada] was made-for-TV, a 2014 reboot was seen as So Okay, It's Average), it never really flew with audiences.
  • Rocky:
    • The series had one of the longest cases of Sequelitis ever. The series started out gritty and realistic, but gradually became more over-the-top to the point where the first movie won an Oscar for Best Picture and the fifth, after a drawn-out decline, is generally regarded as terrible. After a 16-year Sequel Gap, a sixth entry was made, and successfully took the series back to its roots, as well as providing closure to Rocky's career.
    • Parodied by a sight gag in Airplane II: The Sequel, where you can see a movie poster showing a 90-year old man in boxing trunks and gloves, with the caption "Rocky XXXVIII". Also parodied in Spaceballs (which pokes fun at the whole trope), where a newscaster announces the film critic will be reviewing "Rocky Five... Thousand."
  • Shortly after Diane Thomas agreed to write a sequel to her first screenplay Romancing the Stone, she was killed in a car crash. The studio went ahead with the sequel and created The Jewel of the Nile, a film so bad that one college screenwriting professor made an exam out of pointing out all the flaws in it.
  • The Rush Hour trilogy. The first was a box-office success and a modest critical hit. Rush Hour 2 had mixed critical reception but still did well in theaters. Rush Hour 3 is unanimously considered the weakest of the three, despite also being a modest box office hit.
  • Saw:
    • Fans have debated whether the series has suffered from Sequelitis, and if so, at what point. Some say it was the second film ("Saw never needed a sequel!"), others say it was the third ("the second film only counts!") or fourth ("the third movie finished the series perfectly!"), and others say it was the fifth ("that movie just plain sucked!"). Oddly enough, most of these usually agree that the sixth was a surprising improvement and felt like a return to form for the series. 3D was almost universally panned by fans and critics alike at first, but opinion eventually became too wildly varied to pin down any fan consensus.
    • Honestly, the series was supposed to stop at the third film, but when Lionsgate saw how much money it was bringing in, they demanded that the script to Saw III be changed to allow more movies to be made. The suckiness of Saw IV and V and Sequelitis in general are the fault of Executive Meddling.
  • The Scanners franchise. The original film was a landmark in sci-fi horror, and had David Cronenberg and Michael Ironside doing some of their best work... but then came a pair of Direct to Video sequels that stopped going for shock value and settled on B-movie cheese focusing on various scanners' unsuccessful attempts to start a revolution, backed by shoddy effects and weak performances by the main cast. This later produced a spinoff series, Scanner Cop, which also went DTV and just had more of the same.
  • Scary Movie expressed the tagline, No mercy. No shame. No sequel., but as we all well know, did have one anyway (with the tagline "We lied"); which reveled far too much in Vulgar Humor for its own good. The series got closer back to its roots of satirizing horror movies in the third, but then stepped back again and had that Tom Cruise couch jump parody in the fourth. A fifth film happened, but mostly everyone from the previous films is out of it, and rarely would anyone say that that's a good parody. The spinoffs of the franchise have been even worse, starting with Date Movie, billed as "from two of the six writers of Scary Movie", and somehow running on to three more.
  • Scream:
    • Scream (1996) is considered a great movie. Scream 2 is pretty awesome too. Then comes Scream 3, which gives plenty of reasons to be treated as bad by critics and fans. Scream 4, which came well after the original trilogy, is accepted as a better effort than Scream 3, if still not on the same level as the first two films.
    • Fans of the films also don't think particularly highly of the spinoff TV series that came after Scream 4, but since that's its own separate continuity, it can be, and often is, easily ignored.
    • Occurs in-universe with the reception of the Stab series. These films were based on the real-life events until the events of Scream 3 made protagonist Sidney sue the producers, leading to unrelated movies that kept on going to six sequels - one of which involving time travel. Scream (2022) downright shows that an eighth Stab directed by Rian Johnson (reference to Johnson's wildly polarizing Star Wars: The Last Jedi) went so off-the-rails that fan outcry was enormous. Culminating in two Loony Fans starting a killing spree in Woodsboro hoping it can inspire a better Stab movie!
  • S. Darko. Despite having one actress from Donnie Darko, Daveigh Chase, returning for this sequel, most Donnie Darko fans won't even acknowledge its existence.
  • The original Sharknado was just a typical Syfy Z-movie churned out by mockbuster proprietor The Asylum. What set it apart from the rest was its absurd mishmash of creature feature and Disaster Movie, as well as downright silly moments like Ian Ziering taking on a shark with a chainsaw, turning it into a social media phenomenon. Syfy immediately greenlit a sequel, which ramped up the So Bad, It's Good elements and stuffed it with celebrity cameos. In no time, Sharknado became a Cash-Cow Franchise for The Asylum and an event for Syfy, ordering sequels for the next few years. While the third film cranked up the goofy factor (the sharks are flown TO SPACE!), the franchise started to lose its bite with the fourth film's attempt at upping the ante being seen as tired. By the time the fifth film rolled around, viewers felt that the franchise had outstayed its welcome and the So Bad, It's Good factor was getting contrived to the point of not being amusing anymore. While the sixth (!) film lampshaded the series' longevity and apparent fatigue, it was clear that the initial joke was stretched out for so long it was no longer there.
  • Though Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows managed to be a box office smash like its predecessor, critics and audiences found it weaker and more uneven.
  • Shock Treatment was originally planned as a sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but was re-written as something much different after Tim Curry refused to be typecast as Frank. The second movie features Brad and Janet, but the events of Rocky Horror are never mentioned. Taken on its own, it has its merits but proved a massive disappointment for people expecting an actual sequel. Point of clarity: Shock Treatment was not the original plan for a sequel, that being Rocky Horror Shows His Heels, which never ended up happening. Shock Treatment does keep Brad and Janet (albeit played by different actors), and some of the subtext to their relationship troubles can be taken to have been caused by the first movie. Judge Oliver Wright probably is the Criminologist, making Charles Gray and Jeremy Newson (Ralph Hapschatt) the only actors to continue playing the same characters (unless you consider the McKinleys to actually be Riff and Magenta returned to Earth for some strange reason... also, Bert Shnict was supposedly Dr. Scott in earlier versions of the script). Besides, it's not a sequel, it's an equal.
  • Most slasher movies tend to suffer this fate.
    • At the time of writing (2018) there are eight A Nightmare on Elm Street movies and a remake, eight Halloween movies, a remake with a sequel to that remake and a direct sequel to the original which ignores the rest of the franchise and ten Friday the 13th movies and a remake. And that's just the names most horror fans would be familiar with. As expected, the quality of the sequels of these franchises varies widely.
    • The only movie in the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series that has gained wide recognition is the original. The first sequel took a more exaggerated, comedic route that remains controversial among fans and critics, although part 2 has gained a cult following over the years. the third film is considered forgettable and the fourth is infamous for its Narm Charm. Despite great box office success, the remake is highly divisive, and its prequel is mostly disliked.
    • One particularly painful example: The original Sleepaway Camp was surprisingly deep for its genre, and possessed a genuinely unexpected (yet not nonsensical) Twist Ending that hasn't succumbed to It Was His Sled. The sequels, by comparison, are almost parodies of their predecessor. According to writer/director Robert Hiltzik, only the 2008 sequel, Return to Sleepaway Camp, is canon (he had little to nothing to do with Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland).
    • Halloween deserves special mention. The first film is seen as one of the best horror films ever, and every following film is seen as average at best and more often disastrous. It's at the point where, not counting the reboot (which itself was victim to this, as no matter if the first movie split opinions, the follow-up got terribly received for being an overall incoherent mess and completely ruining both Laurie's and Dr. Loomis' characters), the franchise has had to pull Canon Discontinuity twice, with Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later ignoring everything after the second film, and Halloween (2018) ignoring everything after the first. It's generally seen that the 2018 film is the only one to be a genuinely good follow-up, though not as good as the classic original (they're the only two with a positive critical reception). And even then, follow-up Halloween Kills ended up a Contested Sequel criticized for characters behaving stupidly and how after the predecessor shook up things came something falling headfirst into slasher convention. Halloween Ends also ended up not winning reviewers over.
      • There are two entries in the Halloween film series that generally fight for the position of "worst of the franchise". Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, for its messy, nearly incoherent story, the heavily disliked "Thorn Cult" plot-line which needly retcons Michael's motivations, and a confusingly ambiguous ending in both versions. Halloween: Resurrection, for its utterly ridiculous Happy Ending Override, a dull and tired plot, dumb, unlikeable characters, and another poorly written, ambiguous ending. Both films were so reviled that they resulted in the series being rebooted.
    • The Child's Play franchise doesn't get nearly as much hatred for their sequels as other franchises. That said, there are two major contenders for this trend:
      • Child's Play 3: This sequel garnered heavily negative reception from critics and fans. The problems with this one range from Andy's actor being replaced, unlikable characters such as Tyler and Shelton, the story working more like a military war camp film than a slasher film, and so many plotholes. The biggest problem with this film is that it was rushed, being released just nine months after Child's Play 2. Creator Don Mancini and Chucky himself, Brad Dourif, have disowned it.
      • Seed of Chucky: While critics had mixed opinions on the film, fans absolutely loathed it, as while Bride of Chucky renewed the series by going in a Comedy Horror route, Seed went too far into the former and didn't provide enough of the latter, with spoofing and pop culture references overtaking the scares and kills. Some even deem the film even worse than the aforementioned Child's Play 3.
    • A Nightmare on Elm Street started the follow-ups wrong with A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, who everyone agrees to be inferior to the original, albeit over time it evolved from "widely hated" to "Contested Sequel" after the reappraisal of the homoerotic overtones and how it retains the scary Freddy rather than make him more comedic. A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child was also deemed a step back with a ridiculous plot and an uncertain tone that ranges between dark and grim to silly and funny, but earned a share of defenders for its gothic atmosphere. Still, follow-up Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare is widely considered the absolute worst in the franchise, often hated for being way too goofy to the point of parody, to flat characters, to random cameos that drag the movie down and in general being a poor conclusion to what was supposed to be the final entry of the series.
    • Of the twelve Friday the 13th movies, only the first four movies and the sixth, relatively speaking, are seen in a respectable light, with the first kickstarting the franchise, the following three entries building up one of the most memorable slasher villains, and the sixth rejuvenating a series that just had an unsuccessful attempt at reinvention with self-referential humor. The rest are generally considered forgettable at best or downright awful messes at worst. Four of the films in particular compete for being the worst of the series, although opinions vary wildly.
      • Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning for its trashier tone and less relatable characters, lack of focus, too much of the violence being censored, and the highly contentious ending, specifically the twist that Jason is not the killer or even in the movie at all. Notably, the following film, Jason Lives, retconned various elements of this one and only took it as Broad Strokes canon, and met a much better reception for it.
      • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan for the mere fact the title markets it as a "Jason in New York" story when only a third of the film itself takes place in New York. Crappy production quality, nonsensical setup, and subpar story and acting only compound upon it.
      • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday for the massive and extremely convoluted changes to the mythology, so different from the formula that it turns into a dark fantasy horror where Jason is a demonic worm instead of a slasher, ultimately diverging far too much for most fans to stomach.
      • Jason X for the extremely ridiculous and blatant Recycled IN SPACE! premise, taking away any serious scares for self-indulgent camp. This one is one of the most contentious of the sequels, with some seeing it horrid mess and others as a hilarious romp.
  • Smokey and the Bandit was a massive hit in 1977, with only A New Hope grossing more money at the box office that year. Its two sequels, however, did not do so well against its fellow Star Wars films. The second film was considered a tired rehash of the first film but gets some flack off of it for at least featuring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field in their starring roles and having an awesome climactic battle. The third film, however, put Jackie Gleason's Buford T. Justice in the lead role (which is considered the only positive about this film) and omits Sally entirely and Burt's only involvement is a cameo at the end.
  • Snow White & the Huntsman received a sequel in 2016 titled The Huntsman: Winter's War - dropping Snow White completely. Word was originally that her actress Kristen Stewart was removed from the franchise after a scandal involving her having an affair with the first film's director, but she later said she kept turning down the scripts due to their general badness. The sequel pulled several Retcons including giving Queen Ravenna a sister she'd never mentioned before to serve as a new antagonist, ignoring any mention of her canonical brother, changing the backstory involving the Huntsman's dead wife (who turns out to be Not Quite Dead) and going for a Lighter and Softer tone. The film was a huge bomb that acted as a Franchise Killer, savaged by critics and viewers alike.
  • The original Species was a decent (if not spectacular) sci-fi horror film that had Natasha Henstridge running around (mostly naked, to boot) while a team of scientists tried to stop her. A sequel three years later combined a nonsensical plot (the scientists clone the original alien, then act shocked when she escapes to mate with another member of her species), cheesy effects, and a cast that appeared to be going through the motions, and the following TV movie, Species III, was made by filmmakers who thought the entire franchise was composed of gratuitous violence and sex. The fourth film, Species - The Awakening, splits opinions - it's either an improvement, regarded as a decent B-movie that by having a plot not very connected with the previous two stands well on its own, or somehow even worse, as it's even cheaper-looking than the third and lacking on story depth, sex, and blood.
  • The first Speed movie was a huge commercial and critical success. The sequel Speed 2: Cruise Control was almost universally panned while barely avoiding being a box-office flop worldwide, and is one of the all-time classic examples of what Sequelitis is fully capable of. It began the career derailment of director Jan De Bont.
  • Spy Kids proved to be a very successful family film and thus spawned its own franchise; unfortunately, each new installment has done worse than the one that came before. While Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams proved to be a decent movie despite this, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over quickly came to be considered the series' jump the shark moment, having little to do with the franchise other than the characters; however, this did not stop Robert Rodriquez from producing (reluctantly) Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 2011, eight years after the conclusion of the original trilogy, with rumors of a fifth film on the way despite the fourth film's poor critical and box office reception.
  • Star Trek has the "Star Trek Movie Curse" - the first (which can be considered a sequel to the series), third (this one is considered alright, but still not as good as 2), fifth note , seventh and ninth films are considered letdowns. It was broken when the tenth was a critical and commercial disappointment note , leading to a wildly successful reboot (though some try to make the curse still work by considering the Affectionate Parody Galaxy Quest the tenth movie). Star Trek Into Darkness got a decent critical reception, but the overall opinion was either that it didn't live up to the first reboot (if you loved the movie), or that Gene Roddenberry is spinning in his grave (if you didn't), and contains a rather infamous Untwist that those trying to to justify the (Quest-adjusted) curse can point to. The jury is still out on Star Trek Beyond, which got generally positive reviews from critics, and more mixed reviews from a fanbase still deciding what to think of the reboot movies.
  • In the Star Wars series, this started with Return of the Jedi, which was widely disliked by critics and fans at the time of its release; nowadays it's considered quite as good as the two movies before it but still a classic. Then came prequelitis, with The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones widely considered the two weakest films in the series. Revenge of the Sith, however, was generally thought to be an improvement, but that's not saying much given the competition. Fortunately, the next in the series, The Force Awakens, is generally believed to be a return to form, and Rogue One is widely regarded as being a worthy prequel to A New Hope. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about The Last Jedi which received mixed receptions that divided the fanbase once again. Then came Solo, which unlike Rogue One was considered alright at best, and The Rise of Skywalker, which reviewers bashed (alongside The Phantom Menace, it's the only not-Fresh Episode on Rotten Tomatoes) for an uncreative and messy plot, split the fanbase even further though the overall trend leans towards dislike, and grossed the least of the three sequel trilogy films by a decent margin.
  • The Spider-Man Trilogy. The first two are considered to be stunning critical and commercial successes. The third film has a massive Broken Base, though it remained the most successful Spider-Man film for 12 years. Then The Amazing Spider-Man reboots the franchise and is met with a decent reception, though it made a whole new Broken Base. Then it happens again, with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 being overall regarded as an average movie at best to being considered a complete failure at worst, causing Sony to cancel the rest of the series and create another reboot, Spider-Man: Homecoming, with a helping hand from Marvel.
  • Superman. 1978's Superman: The Movie told his origin story, was quite successful and today is regarded as a Trope Codifier that proved superheroes could credibly carry serious films. It was followed by Superman II, which also got warm reviews but was plagued by Creative Differences between director and producers. Superman III, in turn, is an uneven mess of a film with Lois Lane being chucked away from existence with no explanation and Richard Pryor stealing the show... but in an extremely clumsy fashion. And then there was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, an Anvilicious, Special Effect Failure-filled, unmitigated disaster that completely bombed both critically and commercially. It was 19 years before another Superman movie was released— Superman Returns, which pointedly erased III and IV from its continuity. Superman IV also erased the career of Mark Pillow, who moved on to being a family man, and helped towards the implosion of The Cannon Group. Returns received decent reviews from critics, but it didn't gross as much as the studio expected and split the fanbase, with one of the frequently-raised criticisms is that the producers didn't seem to be able to make up their minds as to whether they were actually making a continuation of the earlier film sequence, or whether they were making a completely fresh start. The next movie, Man of Steel, was an actual intended reboot.

  • Taken was a slick action movie that proved Liam Neeson was very good for the vengeful One-Man Army genre. Taken 2 was nowhere as fresh, but still warmly received. Taken 3, on the other hand, was widely considered a disappointment showing a severe lack of ideas and all the problems in recent action movies, such as frantic editing - a widely mocked fence-climbing scene has fourteen cuts in six seconds.
  • Ted became a surprise hit at a time comedies aimed at adults had already fallen out of favor with audiences. Three years later, a sequel was made, but was soundly criticized for trying too hard to get away from the sophomoric humor that made the first film such a success, eventually ending Seth MacFarlane's forays into film.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was considered a nice piece of 1990s pop culture. The second film wasn't quite as well-received due to being Denser and Wackier, but it still had a few entertaining moments, and it has its fans. The third film, however, was bashed mercilessly by critics and fans alike (fans were actually far more ruthless on it than Siskel & Ebert ever were to the trilogy as a whole), and it's viewed as the worst of the three by a healthy margin; it swept the Turtles off the big screen until 2007, and it would take until 2014 for another live-action TMNT film to surface; it does not have any continuity to the others.
  • Terminator: The first is iconic. The second is considered one of the greatest sequels of all time. The third is one hell of a Contested Sequel, and resulted in a TV series being made on the principle that T3 never happened. The fourth, while visually impressive, lacks substance and ended up being an underperformer at the box office, which then led to the death of its production company and the rights being sold off. And when the fifth came out, again it wasn't as well-received - particularly how it retcons the events of the first four movies with convoluted time travel - and led to the next film doing another reboot. Terminator: Dark Fate garnered a mixed reception, with a particular sore point being how the movie opens with a Happy Ending Override as painful as the aforementioned one of Alien³, but it nevertheless got the best reviews since the third.
  • There were six films in The Thin Man series. The first got a Best Picture nomination and is still remembered as a classic. The subsequent movies have been progressively less acclaimed, going from the "pretty good" second movie to the "terrible" sixth one.note 
  • The Toxic Avenger is a horror-comedy classic. The second film isn't bad, but it’s too goofy at times just the first half of what was really one big movie. 2 and 3 were actually just big movie that got split into two films, and it shows. The third film was panned and subjects Toxie to severe Badass Decay. This being the sort of series it is, the fourth film ( which is better regarded then the previous two films) hangs a hilarious Lampshade Hanging on it during the opening narration:
    15 years ago, A mop boy named Melvin Ferd fell into a case full of toxic waste and became a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength, he became... The Toxic Avenger, the first superhero from New Jersey! Then came two shitty sequels, sorry about that. This is the real sequel.
  • The Transformers movies alternate between playing sequelitis straight and turning it on its head. Critical consensus has the first being nothing special, the second downright bad, the third having no real consensus, and the fourth somehow being both an improvement and the worst of the lot. The first movie was an okay sci-fi action-thriller that gave a semi-realistic tone to the franchise. The second movie lost that touch and became an over-the-top action movie with tons of unneeded adult humor (such as the pot-smoking mom, the racist robots and mechanical testicles) and a generic plot. The third movie tried to please everyone and lowered the screen time for the robots (even though they are the title characters), made the first half almost a sort of parody (which led to the return of Sam's parents who by now are nothing more than The Artifact) and the second half a sci-fi war movie that dropped bridges on many characters. Finally, the fourth movie acted as a soft reboot of the series by replacing the human cast and notably extending the length of the action sequences; which in turn made the film the longest of the series (2 hours and 45 minutes). While this move gave the title characters a notably increased amount of screentime, the final result was also considered by many reviewers to be a monotonous and phoned-in regurgitation of the previous three films. And the fifth film looks to have finally driven off the public, to the point that it underperformed in China, historically the franchise's biggest stronghold, and grossed less than the first film despite a decade of inflation and foreign market expansion. (the bad reception even poisoned the well to make Bumblebee, widely considered better than all the sequels and maybe the first movie too, not as much of a success as the mainline series; still, a seventh movie, following on Bumblebee and incorporating Beast Wars, is in production)
  • The Trial of Billy Jack: The first two movies in the series, The Born Losers and Billy Jack are both well-received. Trial of Billy Jack, on the other hand, is listed frequently as one of the worst sequels ever made. Fourth movie Billy Jack Goes to Washington, a blatant copy of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington which came out well after the series' cultural moment had passed, was seen by almost nobody, and lacks even the So Bad, It's Good reputation of Trial.
  • Parodied In-Universe in Tropic Thunder. Tugg Speedman stars in the Scorcher series, which revolves around the Earth repeatedly ceasing to spin and becoming a giant fireball. The 6th one, Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown, changed the planet's fate into a frozen wasteland because the previous films had exhausted the previously mentioned concept. Here's the trailer:
    Trailer Announcer: In 2013, when the Earth's rotation came to a halt, the world called on the one man who could make a difference.
    [Speedman is shown standing on a blasted cliffside, and everything in the background is on fire. He has a baby in one arm and a rifle in the other]
    When it happened again, the world called on him once more. And no one saw it coming. Three. More. Times! Now, the one man who made a difference five times before is about to make a difference again. Only this time, it's different.
    [Speedman is shown standing on an iceberg, and everything in the background is frozen. He has a set of twins on him and he's holding two rifles]
    Tugg Speedman: Who left the fridge open?
    Trailer Announcer: [voice over] Tugg Speedman. Scorcher VI: Global Meltdown.
    Tugg Speedman: Here We Go Again!. Again...
  • Another film that spoofed this trope was UHF, which featured a fake promo for Gandhi II, an Actionized Sequel that basically turns Gandhi into Shaft, violently beating up bad guys, romancing ladies and ordering a medium-rare steak.
  • Universal Soldier had a lot of it, first with two TV movies without anyone from the other movies, and then by actually bringing Van Damme back in Universal Soldier: The Return, but delivering a lame action movie with underwhelming effects and an idiotic plot. Surprisingly, the direct-to-video sequel Universal Soldier: Regeneration (which like The Return ignored the two TV movies, also removed The Return from canon), averted this, being considered the first worthy follow-up, only for Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning to be a more divisive affair.
  • U.S. Marshals was less enthusiastically received by critics and audiences than The Fugitive, the film to which it is a spinoff.
  • Wayne's World 2 was deemed a step down and not as fresh as the first, though with still positive reviews and a fair share of fans - though not the same box office success, as steep competition made it only gross $48 million domestically against a $40 million budget.
  • Movies based on video games aren't exempt from this rule, either, even though very few of them get sequels in the first place (and usually deservedly so). Just ask anyone who paid to watch Mortal Kombat: Annihilation or Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life. The vanishingly rare exceptions include The Angry Birds Movie 2 (the highest rated video game movie of all time) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • Weekend at Bernie's is an amusing little comedy, with Terry Kiser stealing the show as the eponymous dead guy. Then they went and made a sequel. The female character one of the heroes spent the entire first movie obsessing over/wooing vanishes without even the most cursory attempt at Hand Waving, and it was all downhill from there. Some viewers felt that Weekend at Bernie's II pulled off the rare feat of being so unbelievably stupid that it came back around the other side and was So Unfunny, It's Funny. Referenced in How I Met Your Mother, as evidence that Lily is a "laugh-slut":
    Ted: "Remember that time we heard her laughing, and we thought she was watching Weekend at Bernie's, but it turned out she was watching Weekend at Bernie's II?"
  • The X-Men Film Series had two beloved movies, followed by a Contested Sequel. Since continuing after The Last Stand would be hard, they decided to make prequels instead. First was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which also divided everyone; then came X-Men: First Class, but it completely averted sequelitis and is now considered the best in the series since X2: X-Men United. Following that was a sequel/stand-alone story to Wolverine, simply titled The Wolverine, which was considered a better film than its predecessor back in the day. Then came indirect The Last Stand sequel/direct First Class sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was not only considered a better film to both of its predecessors, but was also hailed by critics as the series' zenith followed closely by Deadpool which is considered the first successful R-Rated superhero movie. Afterwards, it became a lot more uneven with X-Men: Apocalypse being one of the biggest Contested Sequels in the franchise, Logan being hailed as one of the best X-Men movies, if not THE best, and considered a tremendous improvement over the two previous Wolverine-centric movies, Deadpool 2 being considered good although whether it is better than the first or not is debatable, Dark Phoenix getting even worse reviews than The Last Stand, and The New Mutants being delayed too much and ultimately not being well-received to officially end Fox's run with a whimper rather than a bang.
  • Zoolander garnered mixed reviews and did okay at the box office during its initial release, eventually becoming a Cult Classic. Then in 2016, Zoolander 2 received a thrashing from critics and audiences long fed up with silly comedy (this being one of a string of bombs that killed the R-rated comedy film), who also took offense at the numerous jokes aimed at the fashion industry (whose popularity exploded during the 2010s) even though several noted designers made humorous cameos.