Total Recall

Total Recall: Sequels to Remakes

With Wrath of the Titans hitting theaters, we take a look at movies whose do-overs were popular enough to warrant a follow-up.

by | March 30, 2012 | Comments



As many movie lovers are frequently wont to complain, Hollywood’s been on a recycling binge for quite awhile now, with studios raiding the vaults for films and franchises that they can dust off for a new generation. Whether you call them remakes, reboots, or re-imaginings, they’re ever more common — but what’s slightly less common is to see one of them getting a sequel, so when Wrath of the Titans popped up on the schedule for this weekend, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at some other examples of movies whose do-overs were popular enough to warrant a follow-up. Get ready to see a lot of Steve Martin, because it’s time to Total Recall — requel style!

Cheaper by the Dozen 2


The first Cheaper by the Dozen, released in 1950, starred Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy in a relatively faithful adaptation of the bittersweet family memoir by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, who wrote about their large family in the years leading up to Frank Senior’s death. The 2003 remake, on the other hand, was your average wacky Steve Martin comedy, starring Martin alongside Bonnie Hunt and a passel of cute kids (including Hilary Duff) in $190 million worth of goofy slapstick. The sequel, released in 2005, added Eugene Levy and Carmen Electra, and was…well, slapstickier. Or as Desson Thomson of the Washington Post put it, “This is definitely a family trip to stay home and skip.”

The Dark Knight


Batman & Robin earned more than $238 million during its theatrical run, but it endured an avalanche of critical brickbats along the way — which was enough to send the franchise into hibernation for eight years, ultimately triggering a reboot with 2005’s Batman Begins. After reinvigorating the series with Begins, director Christopher Nolan took it to the next level with The Dark Knight — earning more than $1 billion and eight Oscar nominations along the way. Spearheaded by an Academy Award-winning performance from Heath Ledger, it won almost universal praise from critics like Manohla Dargis of the New York Times, who wrote, “Pitched at the divide between art and industry, poetry and entertainment, The Dark Knight goes darker and deeper than any Hollywood movie of its comic-book kind.”

Dr. Dolittle 2


With Eddie Murphy in the title role, a perfectly 1990s R&B soundtrack, and very little resemblance to the Hugh Lofting stories that inspired the movie — or the original film adaptation, released in 1967 — the Dr. Dolittle remake spoke to audiences as well as animals, earning an impressive $294 million and launching a franchise that stands at five films and counting. But only the first sequel, 2001’s Dr. Dolittle 2, made it to theaters — and despite a voice cast that included Steve Zahn, Lisa Kudrow, and Norm Macdonald, as well as a cameo from Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin, it brought in over $100 million less than its predecessor, along with dismissive reviews from the likes of Sean Axmaker of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who said it “lurches from one scene to another with the grace of a pratfall and the script reads more like a skit comedy than a story.”

Father of the Bride Part II


When Steve Martin scored a huge hit with his 1991 remake of the Spencer Tracy classic Father of the Bride, it was only natural to want a sequel — and the filmmakers didn’t have far to look for a script, because the original got its own follow-up, 1952’s Father’s Little Dividend. Sadly, the Dividend-inspired Father of the Bride Part II was less enthusiastically received by critics, including Film Threat’s impressively sarcastic Pete Vonder Haar, who quipped, “A sequel to a lousy remake? How droll.”

The Fly II


The original The Fly kicked off a trilogy in 1958, and when director David Cronenberg resurrected the franchise with a 1986 reboot that used modern special effects technology to heighten the drama around the story of a scientist whose teleportation experiments cause him to unwittingly splice his own DNA with a housefly’s, its rave reviews and solid grosses seemed like the foundation for another couple of films. Alas, this iteration of the series reached a dead end with 1989’s The Fly II, which starred Eric Stoltz as the original Fly’s son and added a corporate villain to the plot. Most critics weren’t having any of it, including Ken Hanke of the Asheville Mountain Xpress, who called it a “Worthless sequel to a very good film.”

H2: Halloween II


After eight movies and nearly 30 years, the Halloween franchise went looking for someone to give it a reboot — and found an enthusiastic partner in director Rob Zombie, whose 2007 Halloween took the story of serial killer Michael Myers back to the beginning. Critics were unkind, but the movie made tons of money, so two years later, Zombie returned with Halloween II — and carte blanche from producer Malek Akkad to ignore the long-standing rules of the franchise’s mythology. The result? A lower Tomatometer, a lower gross, and brutal reviews from critics like Empire’s Kim Newman, who dismissed it as “In a word, ugly.”


The Hills Have Eyes II


According to legend, Sawney Bean was a serial killer who ate the bodies of more than a thousand victims with the help of his family. It’s a grisly tale, and obviously great fodder for a horror franchise: The Hills Have Eyes series stands at five films and counting since 1977, although after a non-canonical second sequel was released in 1995, a reboot was clearly in order. Alexandre Aja and Grégory Levasseur came to the rescue in 2006, consulting with series creator Wes Craven to produce a $70 million hit; the following year, they scored another moneymaker with the sensibly titled The Hills Have Eyes 2. Despite a script written by Craven and his son Jonathan, most critics felt it wasn’t worth the effort — as Elizabeth Weitzman put it, the sequel “feels like the work of a guy who’s spent a few too many days lost in the desert.”

Nutty Professor II – The Klumps


Before Eddie Murphy disappeared into a fat suit for Norbit, he piled on the prosthetics — to far greater effect — in 1996’s The Nutty Professor, a remake of the 1963 Jerry Lewis comedy about a socially backward scientist whose efforts to develop a serum that will cure his awkwardness unwittingly trigger a (hilarious) split personality. Four years and over $270 million later, he returned in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, which found Murphy once again playing multiple roles while buried under mounds of latex. Sadly, the results weren’t twice as nice for critics like the Boston Globe’s Jay Carr, who accused it of being “neither funny nor endearing enough to conceal the fact that, like its star, it fills the screen with a lot of padding.”

Ocean’s Twelve/Thirteen


The original Ocean’s Eleven was a star-studded but mostly inconsequential trifle — an excuse for the Rat Pack to hang out and have a good time on camera. So when Steven Soderbergh convened a glitzy lineup of famous faces for the 2001 remake starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts, a sequel hardly seemed necessary — at least until the $450 million worldwide gross rolled in. Although 2004’s Ocean’s Twelve turned out to be a critical and commercial step back, the series rebounded with 2007’s Ocean’s Thirteen, which overcame all odds and went out on a high note with critics like Michael Booth of the Denver Post, who admitted, “In Hollywood’s version of Vegas, I’ll have the surf, and the turf, and the vegetarian, and anything else Soderbergh wants to serve me.”

102 Dalmatians


Disney’s decision to film a live-action remake of 1961’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians might have seemed a little curious if not for the involvement of Glenn Close, who was pretty much born to give the world her marvelously campy take on the villainous Cruella de Vil. But did that mean we needed the sequel, 2000’s 102 Dalmatians? It did not, according to critics like James Plath at Movie Metropolis, who cringed, “We can only hope that no one at Disney can count to 103.”

Pink Panther 2


Stretching all the way back to 1963, the Pink Panther series encompasses 11 films — and six of them feature footage of the incomparable Peter Sellers, whose work as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau should have prevented any sane individual from attempting to carry the franchise forward after his death. Alas, it lumbered on, first with a posthumous hodgepodge of old Sellers clips (1982’s Trail of the Pink Panther), then with a pair of weak stabs at reboots (1983’s Curse of the Pink Panther, starring Ted Wass, and 1993’s Son of the Pink Panther, starring Roberto Benigni). No stranger to reboots, Steve Martin took the keys to the franchise with 2006’s The Pink Panther, which did well enough to spawn The Pink Panther 2 three years later — but that was one Panther too many for critics like USA Today’s Claudia Puig, who sighed, “Remember when Martin was funny?”

The Ring Two


By the time it reached these shores, the Ring franchise was a certified phenomenon, shattering Japanese box office records and spawning two sequels, a prequel, and a Korean remake. Gore Verbinski brought the scary with 2002’s The Ring, which retained the basic core of the original’s plot (cursed videotape brings insanity and death to all who watch it) while adding plenty of uniquely terrifying visuals. Nearly $250 million later, a sequel was unavoidable — and sure enough, 2005 brought The Ring Two, which brought original Ring director Hideo Nakata on board to extend the first installment’s story. Critics were unimpressed — Richard Roeper called it “an unnecessary second chapter that dumbs down all the main characters and is curiously lacking in quality scares” — but it scared up more than $160 million at the box office, and rumor has it we’ll be seeing The Ring 3D someday soon.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning


With six grisly films over nearly 40 years — and another one slated for release (in 3D!) next year — the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise has done for chainsaws what Jaws did for sharks and Star Wars did for lightsabers. Yet the series started falling off track as quickly as the first sequel, which found director Tobe Hooper using the cannibalistic Leatherface and his horrific family for darkly comedic effect, and by the time 1994’s The Next Generation rolled around, it was time for a reboot. Director Marcus Nispel took the series back to its roots in 2003, and three years later, Jonathan Liebesman followed with a prequel, The Beginning. Unfortunately, most critics felt an origin story wasn’t what Leatherface needed; the Arizona Republic’s Randy Cordova spoke for the vast majority when he shrugged it off as “Gross and sadistic but never scary.”

Take a look through the rest of our Total Recall archives. And don’t forget to check out the reviews for Wrath of the Titans.


Tag Cloud

VOD Walt Disney Pictures comics Musicals First Look Spike Epix SXSW classics Mary Poppins Returns WarnerMedia Tarantino olympics VH1 black movies Prime Video Freeform BBC Instagram Live deadpool Dark Horse Comics MSNBC rt labs Fox Searchlight scorecard directors The Witch NYCC natural history action-comedy dark book adaptation award winner Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt stand-up comedy tv talk fresh Apple TV Plus Apple TV+ MCU quibi CNN Tags: Comedy hist Hallmark comic book movie Pride Month prank foreign BET video blaxploitation sag awards Toys AMC Disney+ Disney Plus ABC Signature OWN Heroines Nickelodeon Netflix kaiju Countdown Winter TV Super Bowl international indiana jones Ellie Kemper New York Comic Con twilight stoner Disney renewed TV shows SundanceTV green book Quiz Disney streaming service know your critic game of thrones 71st Emmy Awards teaser Spectrum Originals screenings Mary poppins TV renewals Awards Tour Amazon Prime Turner razzies trailers Britbox zero dark thirty CW Seed Winners LGBT TCA 2017 Classic Film Mary Tyler Moore independent Drama adventure Oscars Star Trek Mystery TV Land NBA child's play APB Chilling Adventures of Sabrina cancelled TV shows telelvision sitcom ratings 24 frames Reality Competition The Academy Rocky king kong joker Hollywood Foreign Press Association game show Grammys Year in Review social media Acorn TV Brie Larson Biopics TV Pirates spider-verse spy thriller docudrama ABC USA Network richard e. Grant Comedy The CW die hard Cosplay slasher Kids & Family Masterpiece hispanic heritage month chucky Shudder TCA Awards canceled 79th Golden Globes Awards news Calendar Endgame rt labs critics edition discovery Apple vampires Netflix Christmas movies godzilla Paramount Plus genre documentaries Funimation comic book movies harry potter Legendary The Purge HBO Character Guide Stephen King Reality Showtime TNT superman video on demand versus 1990s San Diego Comic-Con laika E! war A24 YouTube Premium emmy awards Crackle Columbia Pictures spanish language cancelled TV series 21st Century Fox crossover science fiction SDCC Discovery Channel animated lord of the rings Lifetime Christmas movies spanish zombies comic Pop a nightmare on elm street heist movie singing competition legend ghosts FX on Hulu dceu crime Fargo Lifetime miniseries TLC Ghostbusters Elton John wonder woman cats women Marvel breaking bad TV movies GoT parents zombie TCA Winter 2020 Cartoon Network Black History Month italian kong dexter live action Black Mirror Christmas Amazon Television Academy golden globe awards FOX venice Peacock 2021 Neflix monster movies Bravo japan kids Disney Channel HFPA Academy Awards Country BAFTA political drama Nominations Film reviews slashers Chernobyl royal family politics festivals target Anna Paquin psychological thriller rom-coms psycho El Rey IFC Films PaleyFest Emmys jamie lee curtis Pacific Islander HBO Go mutant facebook YA superhero docuseries saw comiccon Best and Worst stop motion art house DC streaming service scene in color latino anime hidden camera boxing Trailer marvel comics comedies critics BBC One Box Office leaderboard Cannes 2018 Holidays serial killer 2016 cops 2017 CMT Food Network medical drama Watching Series Horror dc The Walking Dead Sundance Now mockumentary FX cults archives finale Sundance TV YouTube Television Critics Association 90s popular Family 93rd Oscars Warner Bros. fast and furious Rom-Com worst Wes Anderson mob adaptation TruTV Thanksgiving Lucasfilm American Society of Cinematographers MTV National Geographic christmas movies sequel police drama jurassic park The Arrangement based on movie reboot scary movies DirecTV PlayStation suspense Writers Guild of America 99% anthology halloween Comic Book Fox News mcc Shondaland werewolf Opinion 45 best debate ITV DGA technology Paramount TCA french supernatural toy story AMC Plus Amazon Studios BBC America spain australia new zealand Disney Plus CBS All Access Martial Arts Election Tubi Logo Tumblr Syfy Certified Fresh marvel cinematic universe Emmy Nominations ViacomCBS aliens Hallmark Christmas movies festival 20th Century Fox halloween tv Superheroes Tomatazos Comic-Con@Home 2021 Hear Us Out Interview binge Star Wars Pixar Pop TV The Walt Disney Company Set visit 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Photos dramedy high school dragons cartoon robots Fall TV disaster Binge Guide 2019 trophy Ovation nfl what to watch football concert romance RT21 sports travel Baby Yoda Spring TV 4/20 rt archives 73rd Emmy Awards TIFF Video Games 2015 GIFs GLAAD History gangster children's TV television Infographic franchise Comedy Central YouTube Red streaming Starz Sneak Peek scary TV One new york Adult Swim criterion dogs asian-american TCM name the review rotten Travel Channel Rocketman WGN elevated horror japanese black comedy NBC south america witnail Avengers Marathons cancelled Nat Geo dreamworks cancelled television Western Trophy Talk Crunchyroll casting Universal TBS Marvel Studios thriller LGBTQ VICE spider-man FXX basketball romantic comedy ID james bond Amazon Prime Video hollywood hispanic See It Skip It satire doctor who Comics on TV all-time IMDb TV Pet Sematary Awards talk show Paramount Network cinemax President revenge Song of Ice and Fire Film Festival Fantasy Turner Classic Movies Exclusive Video biography Captain marvel remakes X-Men cars Holiday Extras golden globes young adult CBS E3 transformers Mindy Kaling Premiere Dates nature diversity streaming movies live event vs. posters First Reviews critic resources Sci-Fi Animation feel good DC Universe biopic Vudu Music universal monsters sequels mission: impossible crime thriller screen actors guild sopranos space Trivia batman strong female leads period drama Image Comics crime drama DC Comics obituary book blockbusters Lionsgate spinoff Marvel Television Tokyo Olympics PBS Red Carpet Universal Pictures Rock adenture new star wars movies A&E Sony Pictures RT History Superheroe Summer 72 Emmy Awards Mudbound HBO Max pirates of the caribbean Podcast aapi 007 unscripted ESPN movie BET Awards rotten movies we love OneApp Schedule 2020 Creative Arts Emmys Arrowverse Valentine's Day true crime nbcuniversal series Polls and Games worst movies USA Broadway Alien IFC Hulu Women's History Month historical drama Sundance indie canceled TV shows Esquire justice league Musical king arthur comic books cooking theme song ABC Family free movies boxoffice composers Action blockbuster films toronto documentary Teen