In 1999 a tiny little independent film called
The Blair Witch Project was released. Zachary: And it went on to be this smash hit.
It made $250 million dollars worldwide. It also got rave reviews.
Zachary: Even from Roger Ebert. He called it “an extraordinarily effective horror
film” It was actually one of the most successful
independent films ever made. Riding on this success its sequel, Book of
Shadows: Blair Witch II was released just a year later.
Z: It was universally hated by every single critic. Someone called it “a club footed vomit
launch of teen horror cliches” It was bad. Really bad. And it got us wondering
what are the best and worst sequels of the past 20 years?
Anytime you google search a film you’ll immediately be presented with it’s metacritic
rating. Z: Basically you have all these movie critics
all around the united states and they use different systems to review movies.
Metacritic normalizes these rankings on a 1-100 scale, putting more weight on critics
with more clout. Zachary, my colleague here. Metacritic normalizes these rankings on a
1-100 scale, putting more weight on critics with more clout. Zachary, my colleague here. Was given a data set of 13,000 films from
Metacritic and found every movie with a sequel since 1996. 532 films total.
Z: What we wanted to know was what were the films that were really good the first time
around and really crappy the second time around. In other words, the biggest disappointments.
That’s where films like Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 comes in.
Z: So the original got a score of 81 points. The sequel got a score of 15 points.
CLIP FROM MOVIE: You know if you don’t believe in the Blair Witch then why did you bother
to come? I thought the movie was cool
Zachary: The sequel got a score of 15 points. The 66 points less.
Or take Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, the first Mandarin language film nominated for
Best Picture. It went on to win Best Foreign Language film. 16 years later Netflix released
a sequel, in English. The orginal got a score of 93. The sequel? Z: So unfortunately it fared much worse. CLIP FROM MOVIE: Too much blazing flame! It got 47. Z: So on the flip side you have films that
did really poorly the first time around and somehow miraculously did better when they
were made into a sequel. Z: This is a really small contingent of all
the sequels we looked at. Less than 25 of the 532 films were improvements. Outside of movies like The Dark Knight and
Kill Bill vol 2 most of these movies were tremendously bad to begin with. CLIP: Awe good boy! See I knew you could do
it if you put your mind to it. Z: Like for instance Garfield got a score
of 27. It’s not that hard to improve on that. Like Garfield Part 2 got 37 which is
still pretty bad. Z: The worst ones fall into 1 of 3 categories.
It’s either a horror, comedy, or action film. So I wanted to see if that’s a bigger
indication of how critics rate those movies. Z: So I looked at a randomized selection of
200 films from every single genre. And then averaged out the score for each genre. This chart reveals that the genres with the
worst sequels also fair pretty badly amongst critics in general. Despite all of this, Hollywood loves making
them. So much so that this year alone an unprecedented
37 sequels will be released. The reason? Money. Z: The average sequel makes 8x the average
original release. That’s $160,000,000 dollars over the $20,000,000
original. Grown Ups, the Adam Sandler movie which was
rated an abysmal 30% on metacritic received 270 million dollars worldwide. Its sequel,
which somehow dropped 11 points still managed 247 million dollars worldwide. It was a box
office hit. Audiences had no reason to give Grown Ups
2 a chance. And yet they did. Roger Ebert famously said “No movie executive
was fired because he greenlit a sequel…. But movie critics despair of sequels as betraying
a lack of imagination and originality.” If you have any doubts about how true that
is give Grown Ups 2 a whirl.