With Fast & Furious 6 out now, let’s look at 6 other movies that we never expected to see more than one of.
There are some movies – say, Robocop - that you expect to see a couple sequels from. There are others where it’s more surprising to see a slew of sequels; even the most die-hard Star Trek fan back in the late '60s would’ve found it hard to believe that we’d be on the 12th installment by now. But there are some movies whose endless sequel-spawning defy belief, so we’ve rounded up a few of the more ridiculous examples below. By the way, before you start yelling at us in the comments, a couple of disclaimers. Firstly, we don’t count the Bond franchise, since they’re generally standalone movies rather than sequels. And we haven’t included any horror films here: Even relatively mainstream horror franchises like A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday 13th, Halloween, Child’s Play, Puppet Master, Leprechaun, and Saw have a combined count of 59 films (67, if you count the Police Academy series as horror movies, which, from at least the third one onwards, we definitely do), so clearly endless sequels is all just part of the deal. Got all that? Good! Now, on to the dregs of sequeldom…
We’re getting this out of the way early, since most people are fairly aware that the big nuclear dinosaur’s racked up one or two sequels in his time. Like, there was that one with the big killer moth, and the one with the three-headed monster. Oh, and that one where he fought a robot version of himself, not to mention that awful remake where it sent its babies after Ferris Bueller. Oh! And he beat the shit out of King Kong once, too. So let’s say – what, seven sequels? Eight? That’s a pretty respectable number of sequels for a movie about a dude in a T-Rex costume, stomping cardboard skyscrapers. Anyway, on to the – wait, what? Godzilla has been in 28 different movies? 28?? How is that possible? Insanely, those 28 are just the Japanese productions – add in the American versions (including next year’s reboot), and you’re up to 31. We’re not going to pretend we’ve ever seen any of them (sober, at least), so highlights are impossible, but we’re guessing that the 25th installment, 2001’s Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack must have its moments.
The Land Before Time
What is it about dinosaurs and sequels? The original Land Before Time was a cute but forgettable kids’ movie about baby dinosaurs trying to find a hidden valley so they could go extinct somewhere charmingly bucolic (we think?) and since it all ended with a neat little bow, a sequel seemed unlikely. You know what seemed even more unlikely? 12 sequels. What makes this especially impressive is that, since they’re dinosaurs, not one of these sequels involves them going to space, which is traditionally the only destination left for a movie’s fourth installment. Or, y’know, the tenth.
Hey, we liked American Pie when we first saw it: It was the late '90s, we were high as balls, and Maxim cover girl Shannon Elizabeth made us feel things that were, frankly, complicated for a young man sitting in a crowded movie theater. And you know what? We were still into it for the majority of the sequel. But then…then came the slew of straight-to-the-discount-rack-at-CVS sequels. Band Camp. Naked Mile. Beta House. The Book Of Love. It all left a bad taste in the mouth that even last year’s, “Look you guys, we got the original cast back together and it’s going to get a theatrical release and everything!” American Reunion couldn’t quite wash away. It seems like a total of eight slices of pie was too much for anyone to stomach.
There have been many crappy, crappy action movies to get multiple sequels, but Universal Soldier has definitely taken the most tortuous route. The original was a kinda fun flick about reanimated Vietnam soldiers beating the tar out of each other in the mid-'90s, but even its first sequel completely ditched the original cast and crew, spinning off into something about diamond smuggling. This film spawned its own TV-movie sequel, but by the fourth installment, original star Jean-Claude Van Damme was back in the title role for a film that flopped so badly at the box office, the fifth movie ignored all three previous films and presented itself as a straight-up sequel to the first movie. Confused yet? Good! Because the sixth film – described as a “semi-sequel” to the fifth one – changed its tone and presented its visceral, bloody action with the style of a rather fetchingly shot art film. Will there be a seventh? We can only assume “Yes…ish.”
The Pink Panther
The first Pink Panther movie – the one that spun off into its own cartoon show, based on the memorable opening credits – was a charmingly silly crime caper, whose popularity really hung on the performance of supporting player Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau. Realizing who the real star was, the studio made a hugely popular sequel focusing entirely on Clouseau, but then, things started to go downhill. And shortly after that, things found the bottom of said hill, picked up a shovel, and started tunneling their way to China. The third installment saw Sellers replaced as Clouseau, but the fourth, fifth, and sixth had Sellers back in place, albeit to diminishing returns. Sellers died after the sixth entry, but that didn’t stop the studio from cobbling together a bunch of outtakes from earlier movies and releasing it as Trail Of The Pink Panther in 1982, a move that saw audiences and critics disgusted and the makers in court, after being sued by Sellers’ widow. A further two utterly unmemorable sequels followed before the ultimate indignity: A remake starring Steve Martin that itself received a terrible, terrible sequel. The grand total? 11 Pink Panther movies. Honestly, besides the first two, you’re really better off sticking with the cartoon.
Look, we’re not gonna lie, if we suddenly hit upon the title Air Bud: Golden Receiver, we’d green light a sequel, too. But did the world really need 12 movies about a sports-playing dog? Make that 14, if you count the spin-off series, Santa Paws. Ah well – at least this series had the decency to do the right thing and send its protagonists to space by movie number eight. There are some traditions you just have to uphold, people.