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Definitive proof that sequels are rarely better than their predecessors

01.05.2011

(click to enlarge)

Are sequels better than the original? Not usually, according to this chart from BoxOfficeQuant. It stacks up the Rotten Tomatoes ratings of the first films with that of their sequels, and the results are pretty damn conclusive. Most of the time, the sequel is worse, often way worse, and only on a few occasions is the next film as good as or better than the original.

Sure, Rotten Tomatoes ratings aren't gospel, but they are a pretty decent representation of film quality when all critics' opinions are averaged, and there's little to disagree with here. Obvious films that jump to mind as quality sequels you'll see on the far right are THE GODFATHER PART II, EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and THE DARK KNIGHT, while SON OF THE MASK, DUMB AND DUMBERER and SPEED II: CRUISE CONTROL bring up the rear.

It's kind of hard to read the chart at first, and it took me a minute to get it, but just use the axes which will show you the relationship between the score of the original and the sequel.

Click on the picture above to blow it up huge, and see for yourself.

Extra Tidbit: Congrats to THE BAD NEWS BEARS GO TO JAPAN for f*cking up a good thing the most.
Source: BoxOfficeQuant

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11:51PM on 01/06/2011

Right.

Notice how everyone ELSE is always the idiot? Come on. You've rated stuff on RT and you know you have. We're all part of this. Revel in your time, Roy Batty.
Notice how everyone ELSE is always the idiot? Come on. You've rated stuff on RT and you know you have. We're all part of this. Revel in your time, Roy Batty.
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11:49PM on 01/06/2011

Er

More like definitive proof that my eyesight is now ruined.
More like definitive proof that my eyesight is now ruined.
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8:33AM on 01/06/2011

Yeah

because anyone outside of Rotten Tomatoes actually gives a fuck what those idiots think.
because anyone outside of Rotten Tomatoes actually gives a fuck what those idiots think.
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2:30AM on 01/06/2011
i stopped reading when "D2: the Mighty Ducks 2" was listed as better than the original. All this graph proves is that most Rotten Tomatoes voters are idiots.
i stopped reading when "D2: the Mighty Ducks 2" was listed as better than the original. All this graph proves is that most Rotten Tomatoes voters are idiots.
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1:02AM on 01/06/2011

This isn't right

First of all, most movies aren't that good to begin with but those that are usually get sequels. So we're comparing the better films made to their sequels which is not a fair comparison. What we should do is compare movies to their sequels only if those movies themselves got sequels. So we'd have things like T1/T2, X1/X2, Spiderman/Spiderman II, Alien/Aliens, Godfather/Godfather II, Blade/Blade 2, etc. Now the pattern isn't so clear.
First of all, most movies aren't that good to begin with but those that are usually get sequels. So we're comparing the better films made to their sequels which is not a fair comparison. What we should do is compare movies to their sequels only if those movies themselves got sequels. So we'd have things like T1/T2, X1/X2, Spiderman/Spiderman II, Alien/Aliens, Godfather/Godfather II, Blade/Blade 2, etc. Now the pattern isn't so clear.
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1:00AM on 01/06/2011

This isn't right

First of all, most movies aren't that good to begin with but those that are usually get sequels. So we're comparing the better films made to their sequels which is not a fair comparison. What we should do is compare movies to their sequels only if those movies themselves got sequels. So we'd have things like T1/T2, X1/X2, Spiderman/Spiderman II, Alien/Aliens, Godfather/Godfather II, Blade/Blade 2, etc. Now the pattern isn't so clear.
First of all, most movies aren't that good to begin with but those that are usually get sequels. So we're comparing the better films made to their sequels which is not a fair comparison. What we should do is compare movies to their sequels only if those movies themselves got sequels. So we'd have things like T1/T2, X1/X2, Spiderman/Spiderman II, Alien/Aliens, Godfather/Godfather II, Blade/Blade 2, etc. Now the pattern isn't so clear.
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1:02AM on 01/06/2011
Star Trek/Star Trek 2, Dr. No/From Russia With Love, Toy Story/Toy Story 2, etc.
Star Trek/Star Trek 2, Dr. No/From Russia With Love, Toy Story/Toy Story 2, etc.
11:09PM on 01/05/2011

It's a cool chart, but I noticed that

Toy Story 3 is missing. Did anybody actually hate that film, other than attention-starved trolls?
Toy Story 3 is missing. Did anybody actually hate that film, other than attention-starved trolls?
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8:32PM on 01/05/2011
interesting chart. i laughed and did a double take at "Superman 2: The Color of Money"
interesting chart. i laughed and did a double take at "Superman 2: The Color of Money"
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+0
8:05PM on 01/05/2011
Aliens, Terminator 2, Blade 2, Spy who Shagged me, and Mummy 2 are some of my favorites that I liked more than the original. This rotten tomatoes thing is being treated like the bible of movie reviews, it's just a bunch of opinions.
Aliens, Terminator 2, Blade 2, Spy who Shagged me, and Mummy 2 are some of my favorites that I liked more than the original. This rotten tomatoes thing is being treated like the bible of movie reviews, it's just a bunch of opinions.
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2:01PM on 01/06/2011
Mummy 2?!
Mummy 2?!
+2
7:47PM on 01/05/2011

I'm no expert

The problem I find with a lot of sequels is that for many of them, the team behind the subsequent movie isn't the same as before. What I like to see when a story is continued isn't just the story playing out. I like seeing the style of how the characters evolve. I like seeing how the director and the cinematographer picture each scene and how it's shot; some movies are just a wonder to sit back and look at. Anyway, without rambling, when a true sequel happens, and the entire team is behind it,
The problem I find with a lot of sequels is that for many of them, the team behind the subsequent movie isn't the same as before. What I like to see when a story is continued isn't just the story playing out. I like seeing the style of how the characters evolve. I like seeing how the director and the cinematographer picture each scene and how it's shot; some movies are just a wonder to sit back and look at. Anyway, without rambling, when a true sequel happens, and the entire team is behind it, it can usually work well.
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6:35PM on 01/05/2011
I actually thought that Batman Begins was better than The Dark Knight, Bad Boys 2 was better than Bad Boys, and Mission Impossible 2 or 3 was better than Mission Impossible.
I actually thought that Batman Begins was better than The Dark Knight, Bad Boys 2 was better than Bad Boys, and Mission Impossible 2 or 3 was better than Mission Impossible.
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6:11PM on 01/05/2011

eh

rotten tomatoes gave die hard 2 a 64, die hard 3 a 49, and die hard 4 a fucking 86. i'm not a sequel monger, but these opinions just became moot.
rotten tomatoes gave die hard 2 a 64, die hard 3 a 49, and die hard 4 a fucking 86. i'm not a sequel monger, but these opinions just became moot.
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5:26PM on 01/05/2011
Mostly true, but there are a few exceptions. Angels & Demons was not better than The Da Vinci Code. Home Alone 2 was better than the original. As was Superman 2, Scary Movie 2, and Austin Powers.
Mostly true, but there are a few exceptions. Angels & Demons was not better than The Da Vinci Code. Home Alone 2 was better than the original. As was Superman 2, Scary Movie 2, and Austin Powers.
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+0
4:42PM on 01/05/2011

HIRE THE SAME WRITER FOR BOTH, AND YOU HAVE A HIT

The similarities with the "Hit" sequels are that they are all written by the same writers, who wrote the original movie; For instance, William Wisher should have been hire to craft T3, etc, but instead the studio hired Writers that did not understood the original concept of the T series! A well craft story will have made the new T series awesome!
The similarities with the "Hit" sequels are that they are all written by the same writers, who wrote the original movie; For instance, William Wisher should have been hire to craft T3, etc, but instead the studio hired Writers that did not understood the original concept of the T series! A well craft story will have made the new T series awesome!
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+1
3:48PM on 01/05/2011

Wallace and Gromit

Curse of the Were-Rabbit?

What the hell is that doing on there?
Curse of the Were-Rabbit?

What the hell is that doing on there?
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3:44PM on 01/05/2011
how the fuck is Boondock Saints II better than the original?!? Or am I reading that wrong?
how the fuck is Boondock Saints II better than the original?!? Or am I reading that wrong?
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9:12PM on 01/05/2011
You are reading it wrong, it just means it made more money than the original.
You are reading it wrong, it just means it made more money than the original.
2:55PM on 01/06/2011
No, because it says: "above the line is better than the original" not grossed more mula.
No, because it says: "above the line is better than the original" not grossed more mula.
3:00PM on 01/05/2011

Agree for the most part

I agree with this analysis for the most part with some exceptions, which are as follows; Terminator II was clearly better than 1 but it seems to be straddling the line with most of the circle under the line. Final Destination was much better than Final Destination II. That's pretty much it really. Someone should make a similar chart but with accompanying box office numbers - sadly I think that chart would be far more top heavy.
I agree with this analysis for the most part with some exceptions, which are as follows; Terminator II was clearly better than 1 but it seems to be straddling the line with most of the circle under the line. Final Destination was much better than Final Destination II. That's pretty much it really. Someone should make a similar chart but with accompanying box office numbers - sadly I think that chart would be far more top heavy.
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2:39PM on 01/05/2011
Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day are up there as those rare ones that are better.
Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day are up there as those rare ones that are better.
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3:43PM on 01/05/2011
Arguably better. Actually, I think those sequels are different enough from their predecessors that they stand on their own, while still fitting in with what the original established.

Alien = Horror
Aliens = Action

Terminator = Action/Horror (it really does play like a horror movie 2/3rds of the way)

Terminator 2 = Action
Arguably better. Actually, I think those sequels are different enough from their predecessors that they stand on their own, while still fitting in with what the original established.

Alien = Horror
Aliens = Action

Terminator = Action/Horror (it really does play like a horror movie 2/3rds of the way)

Terminator 2 = Action
2:37PM on 01/05/2011

Very cool

One might argue whether the right data to use is the Rotten Tomatoes ratings, but nonetheless the chart methodology chosen tells a very clear story. Kudos!
One might argue whether the right data to use is the Rotten Tomatoes ratings, but nonetheless the chart methodology chosen tells a very clear story. Kudos!
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2:26PM on 01/05/2011
It makes complete sense, but would be a lot bigger if it also included sraight to video sequels.
It makes complete sense, but would be a lot bigger if it also included sraight to video sequels.
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+2
1:24PM on 01/05/2011
I just don't get how Boondock Saints II, Final Destination 2, and Rise Of The Silver Surfer are all supposedly better than their originals...
I just don't get how Boondock Saints II, Final Destination 2, and Rise Of The Silver Surfer are all supposedly better than their originals...
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1:39PM on 01/05/2011
Well Fantastic Four wasn't really that good to begin with...
Well Fantastic Four wasn't really that good to begin with...
1:56PM on 01/05/2011
I'd agree with Boondocks 2 but i haven't actually seen it yet so i can't say
I'd agree with Boondocks 2 but i haven't actually seen it yet so i can't say
4:54AM on 01/08/2011
"Well Fantastic Four wasn't really that good to begin with..." Exactly my point my friend. lol And trust me "vesaker"... I'm a HUGE BDS fan and believe me when I tell you it wasn't better than the original. But if you're a fan as well then know that it's not bad either...
"Well Fantastic Four wasn't really that good to begin with..." Exactly my point my friend. lol And trust me "vesaker"... I'm a HUGE BDS fan and believe me when I tell you it wasn't better than the original. But if you're a fan as well then know that it's not bad either...
1:19PM on 01/05/2011
Gotta love how The Wrath of Khan clearly stands out , being probably the biggest improvement from its original in the group.

Also, they made a Caddyshack 2?!? REALLY?!?
Gotta love how The Wrath of Khan clearly stands out , being probably the biggest improvement from its original in the group.

Also, they made a Caddyshack 2?!? REALLY?!?
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12:29PM on 01/05/2011

I like the tiny little dot for A Shot In The Dark.

You damn right it was better than the original Pink Panther.
You damn right it was better than the original Pink Panther.
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12:23PM on 01/05/2011
wow.. I forgot about Major League Back to the Minors
wow.. I forgot about Major League Back to the Minors
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-3
12:18PM on 01/05/2011

makes sense

Notice how the worst rated sequles are too family crap and bad horror movies, do we see a pattern with those? BC we know most will suck before they are released and bam they are terrible. So stop making these genre films less and make more of the ones that succeed. More Batman, Iron Man, Pirates and R rated comedies.
Notice how the worst rated sequles are too family crap and bad horror movies, do we see a pattern with those? BC we know most will suck before they are released and bam they are terrible. So stop making these genre films less and make more of the ones that succeed. More Batman, Iron Man, Pirates and R rated comedies.
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+0
12:05PM on 01/05/2011

That doesn't seem right...

There's some stuff on there that is dead on accurate, but H&K: Guantanomo Bay was not a bad sequal, just as Batman Returns was in no way better than Batman. And fuck anyone who thinks the second Back to the Future sucked... Okay. I don't mean that. I over reacted. But dammit!
There's some stuff on there that is dead on accurate, but H&K: Guantanomo Bay was not a bad sequal, just as Batman Returns was in no way better than Batman. And fuck anyone who thinks the second Back to the Future sucked... Okay. I don't mean that. I over reacted. But dammit!
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11:55AM on 01/05/2011
Money simply doesn't speak for quality; this is only proof of FINANCIAL success (or lack thereof), and not the quality of sequels.
Money simply doesn't speak for quality; this is only proof of FINANCIAL success (or lack thereof), and not the quality of sequels.
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12:00PM on 01/05/2011
I know the graphs are difficult to understand, but look at them too, not just the blue circles.
I know the graphs are difficult to understand, but look at them too, not just the blue circles.
12:30PM on 01/05/2011
How is a Rotten Tomatoes score proof of financial success?
How is a Rotten Tomatoes score proof of financial success?
1:54PM on 01/05/2011
Where a movie places on this chart has nothing to do with how much money it made. It's #'s from Rotten Tomato's culled reviews from around the world.

The blue sphere's which represent how much a movie grossed are just there for a bit more info and are not what is determining placement.

But you know, thanks for coming out and all.
Where a movie places on this chart has nothing to do with how much money it made. It's #'s from Rotten Tomato's culled reviews from around the world.

The blue sphere's which represent how much a movie grossed are just there for a bit more info and are not what is determining placement.

But you know, thanks for coming out and all.
+1
11:53AM on 01/05/2011

LMAO

Badnews Bears Goto Japan!!!!! Are you effin kidding me? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Badnews Bears Goto Japan!!!!! Are you effin kidding me? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
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11:52AM on 01/05/2011

THANK YOU

to whomever put this thing together!
to whomever put this thing together!
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