Troll 2

(Photo by Trans World Entertainment /courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: 20th Century Fox / courtesy Everett Collection.)

The 50 Worst Sequels of All Time

Jaws. The Karate Kid. Speed. Paul Blart: Mall Cop. All classic movies. What’s also binding them together is the fact they’ve all had terrible sequels. These forlorn follow-ups are below 10% on the Tomatometer and we’ve rounded them up, and other movies like them, for our guide to the 50 worst sequels of all time.

Franchises with multiple entries include Atlas Shrugged, Highlander, and Big Momma’s House. If you’re questioning why Police Academy only appears only once despite multiple sequels with a 0% Tomatometer score, it’s because there’s a 10 review minimum, to ensure that each sequel that shows up here has crushed enough critics’ hopes for getting a decent follow-up. And for movies with the same Tomatomter score, we ranked the the ones with more reviews higher up. We used the same ranking method for our list of the 100 worst movies ever.

Now, get ready for some brand name disappointment with the 50 worst sequels of all time!

#50
Adjusted Score: 9719%
Critics Consensus: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers trades the simple, brutal effectiveness of the original for convoluted mysticism, with disastrously dull results.
Synopsis: This installment marks the return of the seemingly indestructible masked murderer Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur), who is targeting Tommy... [More]
Directed By: Joe Chappelle

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 11768%
Critics Consensus: This teen horror movie brings nothing new to an already exhausted genre. And it's bad. Really bad.
Synopsis: At Alpine University, one senior student will be awarded the prestigious Hitchcock Award for best thesis film, virtually guaranteeing the... [More]
Directed By: John Ottman

#48
Adjusted Score: 12468%
Critics Consensus: A witless follow-up to the surprise 1999 hit, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo is raunchy, politically incorrect, and not particularly funny.
Synopsis: Unlikely gigolo Deuce Bigalow (Rob Schneider) resumes his sex-related antics when his friend and former pimp, T.J. Hicks (Eddie Griffin),... [More]
Directed By: Mike Bigelow

#47

Little Fockers (2010)
9%

#47
Adjusted Score: 14410%
Critics Consensus: As star-studded as it is heartbreakingly lazy, Little Fockers takes the top-grossing trilogy to embarrassing new lows.
Synopsis: After 10 years of marriage and two children, it seems that Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) has finally earned a place... [More]
Directed By: Paul Weitz

#46

Teen Wolf Too (1987)
8%

#46
Adjusted Score: 8143%
Critics Consensus: Aiming for the low bar set by its predecessor and never coming close to clearing it, Teen Wolf Too is an unfunny sequel whose bark is just as awful as its bite.
Synopsis: Although awkward college student Todd Howard (Jason Bateman) is particularly adept at science, he's paying for school with an athletic... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Leitch

#45

Mimic 2 (2001)
8%

#45
Adjusted Score: 4084%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Though well-meaning scientists thought they'd destroyed them all, a single gigantic, murderous "Judas Breed" cockroach, which is capable of taking... [More]
Directed By: Jean de Segonzac

#44
#44
Adjusted Score: 7671%
Critics Consensus: Do not enter.
Synopsis: Ray Breslin manages an elite team of security specialists trained in the art of breaking people out of the world's... [More]
Directed By: Steven C. Miller

#43
Adjusted Score: 11682%
Critics Consensus: Jason terrorizes a ship and nearly sinks the franchise in a clunky sequel that feels like self-parody without the charm.
Synopsis: Mass murderer Jason Voorhees (Kane Hodder) is resurrected from the bottom of Crystal Lake. After he kills a passing boat's... [More]
Directed By: Rob Hedden

#42
#42
Adjusted Score: 7791%
Critics Consensus: Sloppy, vulgar, and manic, A Haunted House 2 might be worth a chuckle or two, but mostly it's a string of pop culture references and crude gags that fail to hit their intended targets.
Synopsis: After the ordeal he suffered with his now former girlfriend's (Essence Atkins) demonic possession, Malcolm (Marlon Wayans) has decided to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Tiddes

#41

Rings (2017)
8%

#41
Adjusted Score: 15029%
Critics Consensus: Rings may offer ardent fans of the franchise a few threadbare thrills, but for everyone else, it may feel like an endless loop of muddled mythology and rehashed plot points.
Synopsis: A young woman (Matilda Lutz) becomes worried about her boyfriend (Alex Roe) when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a... [More]
Directed By: F. Javier Gutiérrez

#40

Grown Ups 2 (2013)
8%

#40
Adjusted Score: 11149%
Critics Consensus: While it's almost certainly the movie event of the year for filmgoers passionate about deer urine humor, Grown Ups 2 will bore, annoy, and disgust audiences of nearly every other persuasion.
Synopsis: Lenny Feder (Adam Sandler) moves his family back to his hometown to be with his friends, but he finds --... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Dugan

#39

Problem Child 2 (1991)
8%

#39
Adjusted Score: 7245%
Critics Consensus: Crude, rude, puerile, and pointless, Problem Child 2 represents a cynical nadir in family-marketed entertainment.
Synopsis: Ben Healy (John Ritter) and his adopted son, the mischievous and destructive Junior (Michael Oliver), move to a new town... [More]
Directed By: Brian Levant

#38
Adjusted Score: 7345%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man (Arye Gross) and his friend (Jonathan Stark) exhume an ancestor (Royal Dano) in the house where his parents... [More]
Directed By: Ethan Wiley

#37

Race 3 (2018)
7%

#37
Adjusted Score: 6297%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members of a ruthless family become embroiled in a high-stakes heist.... [More]
Directed By: Remo D'Souza

#36
Adjusted Score: 7209%
Critics Consensus: It reunites most of the original cast and rounds them up for a trip to Fort Lauderdale for spring break, but Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise forgets to pack enough jokes or compelling characters to make it through its 89-minute running time.
Synopsis: After triumphing over the jocks in the Alpha Beta fraternity at Adams College, the nerds of Tri-Lamba are headed to... [More]
Directed By: Joe Roth

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 8138%
Critics Consensus: The Next Karate Kid is noteworthy for giving audiences the chance to see a pre-Oscars Hilary Swank, but other than a typically solid performance from Pat Morita, this unnecessary fourth installment in the franchise has very little to offer.
Synopsis: Karate master Mr. Miyagi (Noriyuki "Pat" Morita) goes to Boston to attend a military reunion. There, he visits with Louisa... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Cain

#34
Adjusted Score: 7144%
Critics Consensus: A low-brow comedy, minus the comedy.
Synopsis: Van Wilder protege Taj Badalandabad (Kal Penn) heads to England's prestigious Camden University to further his studies and cement his... [More]
Directed By: Mort Nathan

#33
Adjusted Score: 9686%
Critics Consensus: Boring, predictable, and bereft of thrills or chills, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is exactly the kind of rehash that gives horror sequels a bad name.
Synopsis: A year after killing vengeful hit-and-run victim Ben Wills (Muse Watson), who gutted her friends with an iron hook, college... [More]
Directed By: Danny Cannon

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 6051%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A college student faces down school bullies while competing in track and field.... [More]
Directed By: Punit Malhotra

#31
Adjusted Score: 6856%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Led by Marvin Lazar (Tony Curtis), their latest in a string of bumbling coaches, beleaguered Little Leaguers the Bad News... [More]
Directed By: John Berry

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 5721%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Resort islanders (Tricia O'Neil, Steve Marachuk, Lance Henriksen) face flying killer-fish left over from a government experiment that flopped.... [More]
Directed By: James Cameron

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 9200%
Critics Consensus: A sequel to a remake, Cheaper 2 wastes its solid cast in scenes of over-the-top, predictable humor.
Synopsis: Tom Baker (Steve Martin) and his wife, Kate (Bonnie Hunt), take their children for what they hope will be a... [More]
Directed By: Adam Shankman

#28

Son of the Mask (2005)
6%

#28
Adjusted Score: 8693%
Critics Consensus: Overly frantic, painfully unfunny, and sorely missing the presence of Jim Carrey.
Synopsis: A cartoonist and family man, Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) lives a peaceful existence with his wife, Tonya (Traylor Howard), as... [More]
Directed By: Lawrence Guterman

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 12479%
Critics Consensus: Unable to match the suspense and titilation of its predecessor, Basic Instinct 2 boasts a plot so ludicrous and predictable it borders on "so-bad-it's-good."
Synopsis: After a crash that kills her boyfriend, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) has her car searched by the police, who find... [More]
Directed By: Michael Caton-Jones

#26

RoboCop 3 (1993)
6%

#26
Adjusted Score: 8005%
Critics Consensus: This asinine sequel should be placed under arrest.
Synopsis: Greedy corporation Omni Consumer Products is determined to begin development on its dream project, Delta City, which will replace the... [More]
Directed By: Fred Dekker

#25

Leprechaun 2 (1994)
6%

#25
Adjusted Score: 6267%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A leprechaun (Warwick Davis) surfaces in Los Angeles to claim a bride, as his previous object of affection was denied... [More]
Directed By: Rodman Flender

#24

Troll 2 (1992)
5%

#24
Adjusted Score: 4826%
Critics Consensus: Oh my god.
Synopsis: When young Joshua (Michael Stephenson) learns that he will be going on vacation with his family to a small town... [More]
Directed By: Drago Floyd

#23
Adjusted Score: 5940%
Critics Consensus: Borderline unwatchable and unspeakably dull, Highlander III is a sloppy third installment that still somehow manages to mark a slight improvement over its predecessor.
Synopsis: An evil immortal swordsman (Mario Van Peebles) catches up to his sorcerer foe (Christopher Lambert) at a deserted New Jersey... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Morahan

#22

Major League II (1994)
5%

#22
Adjusted Score: 4664%
Critics Consensus: Striking out on every joke, Major League II is a lazy sequel that belongs on the bench.
Synopsis: The Cleveland Indians, an endearing assortment of oddballs who improbably won the division championship last season, have since lost their... [More]
Directed By: David S. Ward

#21
Adjusted Score: 6985%
Critics Consensus: Universal Soldier - The Return fails on almost every level, from its generic story to its second rate action and subpar performances.
Synopsis: After being brought back from the dead as a genetically enhanced warrior, Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is now fully... [More]
Directed By: Mic Rodgers

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 5779%
Critics Consensus: Bathed in flop sweat and bereft of purpose, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 strings together fat-shaming humor and Segway sight gags with uniformly unfunny results.
Synopsis: Six years after he saved the day at his beloved New Jersey shopping mall, security guard Paul Blart (Kevin James)... [More]
Directed By: Andy Fickman

#19
Adjusted Score: 5671%
Critics Consensus: Unnecessary, unfunny, and generally unwelcome, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son offers more of the same for fans of Martin Lawrence's perplexingly popular series.
Synopsis: After stepson Trent (Brandon T. Jackson) witnesses a murder, FBI agent Malcolm Turner (Martin Lawrence) brings back Big Momma, his... [More]
Directed By: John Whitesell

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 7525%
Critics Consensus: Unfunny and unoriginal. In other words, a perfect piece of evidence for opponents of pointless movie sequels.
Synopsis: After his mentor is killed, an FBI agent (Martin Lawrence) reprises his disguise as a fat old lady and takes... [More]
Directed By: John Whitesell

#17
Adjusted Score: 4806%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tiffany travels to Derrick Lake to celebrate her 18th birthday at a Halloween frat party in the middle of the... [More]
Directed By: Tyler Perry

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 3959%
Critics Consensus: Poorly written, clumsily filmed and edited, and hampered by amateurish acting, Atlas Shrugged: Part II does no favors to the ideology it so fervently champions.
Synopsis: With the world's economy on the brink of collapse, Dagny Taggart (Samantha Mathis) discovers a possible solution to the global... [More]
Directed By: John Putch

#15

Caddyshack II (1988)
4%

#15
Adjusted Score: 5148%
Critics Consensus: Handicapped by a family friendly PG rating, even the talents of Caddyshack II's all-star comic cast can't save it from its lazy, laughless script and uninspired direction.
Synopsis: Jack Hartounian (Jackie Mason), a boorish but good-hearted real estate tycoon, applies for membership at a snooty country club, but... [More]
Directed By: Allan Arkush

#14

Scary Movie V (2013)
4%

#14
Adjusted Score: 4328%
Critics Consensus: Juvenile even by Scary Movie standards, this fifth installment offers stale pop culture gags that generate few laughs.
Synopsis: Much bizarre activity follows after a husband (Simon Rex) and wife (Ashley Tisdale) bring their newborn infant home from the... [More]
Directed By: Malcolm D. Lee

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 6495%
Critics Consensus: Speed 2 falls far short of its predecessor, thanks to laughable dialogue, thin characterization, unsurprisingly familiar plot devices, and action sequences that fail to generate any excitement.
Synopsis: Annie (Sandra Bullock) is looking forward to a Caribbean cruise with her cop boyfriend, Alex (Jason Patric), who purchased the... [More]
Directed By: Jan de Bont

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 7959%
Critics Consensus: A strained, laugh-free sequel, The Whole Ten Yards recycles its predecessor's cast and plot but not its wit or reason for being.
Synopsis: After faking his death, former killer-for-hire Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce Willis) retires to Mexico with his new wife, Jill... [More]
Directed By: Howard Deutch

#11
Adjusted Score: 5813%
Critics Consensus: With its shallow characters, low budget special effects, and mindless fight scenes, Mortal Kombat - Annihilation offers minimal plot development and manages to underachieve the low bar set by its predecessor.
Synopsis: Every generation, a portal opens up between the Outerworld and Earth. Emperor Shao-Kahn (Brian Thompson), ruler of the mythical Outerworld,... [More]
Directed By: John R. Leonetti

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 2745%
Critics Consensus: Illogical, tension-free, and filled with cut-rate special effects, Jaws: The Revenge is a sorry chapter in a once-proud franchise.
Synopsis: The family of widow Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary) has long been plagued by shark attacks, and this unfortunate association continues... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Sargent

#9

Daddy Day Camp (2007)
1%

#9
Adjusted Score: 3876%
Critics Consensus: A mirthless, fairly desperate family film, Daddy Day Camp relies too heavily on bodily functions for comedic effect, resulting in plenty of cheap gags but no laughs.
Synopsis: Spurred on by their wives' insistence that their children attend summer camp, daycare entrepreneurs Charlie Hinton (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and... [More]
Directed By: Fred Savage

#8
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the ruins of a once-productive factory, Dagny Taggart (Laura Regan) finds a revolutionary motor that could be the answer... [More]
Directed By: James Manera

#7
#7
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An acting student encounters a malevolent spirit after participating in a viral challenge.... [More]
Directed By: Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing

#6

The Ring 2 (1999)
0%

#6
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While investigating the mysterious death of her boyfriend, Mai (Miki Nakatani) learns of the existence of a videotape that causes... [More]
Directed By: Hideo Nakata

#5
Adjusted Score: 790%
Critics Consensus: Zero brains.
Synopsis: A boy (Michael Kenworthy) and his friends free something evil from a canister fallen off an Army truck.... [More]
Directed By: Ken Wiederhorn

#4
Adjusted Score: 923%
Critics Consensus: Utterly, completely, thoroughly and astonishingly unfunny, Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol sends a once-innocuous franchise plummeting to agonizing new depths.
Synopsis: Feeling that his squad is not up to snuff, a police commander comes up with an unorthodox plan to hire... [More]
Directed By: Jim Drake

#3
Adjusted Score: 1150%
Critics Consensus: There should have been only one.
Synopsis: In this sci-fi/fantasy sequel, Connor MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) has become an elderly man after losing his immortality. Living in a... [More]
Directed By: Russell Mulcahy

#2
Adjusted Score: 1776%
Critics Consensus: Despite its lush tropical scenery and attractive leads, Return to the Blue Lagoon is as ridiculous as its predecessor, and lacks the prurience and unintentional laughs that might make it a guilty pleasure.
Synopsis: When widow Sarah Hargrave (Lisa Pelikan) washes ashore on a tropical island with her daughter and adopted son, she learns... [More]
Directed By: William A. Graham

#1
Adjusted Score: 902%
Critics Consensus: A startling lack of taste pervades Superbabies, a sequel offering further proof that bad jokes still aren't funny when coming from the mouths of babes.
Synopsis: Toddlers use their special abilities to stop a media mogul (Jon Voight) from altering the minds of children.... [More]
Directed By: Bob Clark

With this weekend’s Vacation, Ed Helms and Christina Applegate bring the long-suffering Griswold clan back to theaters for the first time in nearly 20 years. A lot has changed since the first time we met the family in 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, which has us feeling nostalgic for all their previous adventures, so we decided we’d go ahead and dedicate this week’s feature to the National Lampoon filmography. They can’t all be the original Vacation, of course, but chances are you’ve laughed more than a few times at the movies on this list. Jump in the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, kids — it’s time for Total Recall!


 10. Transylmania (2009) 0%

Transylmania

National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze scored a perfect zero with critics during its brief theatrical run in 2003, and its piddling box-office gross meant that Dorm Daze 2 went direct to DVD — but that movie’s sequel, 2009’s Transylmania, somehow returned the franchise to theaters. Sadly, the results were pretty much the same: Transylmania grossed a reported $408,229 while earning universal scorn from critics who must not have been in the mood for a horror/comedy hybrid about college students whose semester abroad in Romania gets them mixed up with a 17th-century vampire curse. As Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times warned, “If your idea of a good time is laughing with repulsion at a humpbacked Romanian nympho with a torture-loving midget dad, or tittering every time a bong appears, a darkened theater awaits you.”

Watch Trailer


9. National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj (2006) 7%

Rise of Taj

Kal Penn got a few laughs as pandering stereotype/second banana Taj Mahal Badalandabad in the original Van Wilder, and by 2006, he’d picked up some career steam through roles in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and the Fox hit series House, so why not make him the focus of a sequel? As Steve Carell would learn with Evan Almighty the following year, elevating a supporting character to a starring role for a sequel doesn’t always work out the way it’s supposed to, and so it was with Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, which managed to do even worse with critics than its widely scorned predecessor. “Taj,” gagged Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News, “plays like a very bad combination of Revenge of the Nerds and Harry Potter.”

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8. Vegas Vacation (1997) 13%

Vegas Vacation

Nearly a decade lapsed between the third and fourth installments of the Vacation franchise, but judging from the on-screen results, not enough of that time was spent coming up with fresh ideas: Both critically and commercially, this limp dud is a mere shadow of its predecessors, stringing together a series of mild jokes whose lack of daring was reflected in the film’s PG rating — and whose overall lack of imagination is summed up with a sad callback to the first Vacation’s “girl in the Ferrari” subplot. This outing’s dismal box office receipts chased the series out of theaters for nearly 20 years, and it wasn’t missed by critics like Sin Magazine’s Austin Kennedy, who pointed out, “Despite Chevy Chase’s decent effort trying to revive the Griswold franchise, Vegas Vacation is just a big disappointment. This one could have just premiered on TV, as it resembles that sort of mediocrity.”

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7. National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993) 21%

Loaded Weapon

By the early ‘90s, the buddy cop action thriller genre had more or less devolved into a parody of itself, but that didn’t stop National Lampoon from throwing a bunch of rapid-fire gags and celebrity cameos into a cinematic blender to produce Loaded Weapon 1, starring Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson as a pair of mismatched cops trying to take down the bad guy (William Shatner) whose pursuit of a secret recipe for turning cocaine into cookies has already resulted in the death of Jackson’s former partner (Whoopi Goldberg). Less aggressively offensive than some of the company’s other efforts — yet just as scattershot — Loaded prompted disinterested shrugs from critics as well as audiences; as Roger Ebert wrote, “It’s hard to satirize a satire. That’s what National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 wants to do, but the target proves elusive. This is a would-be comedy that’s not as funny (nor as satirical) as the movies that inspired it.”

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6. National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002) 18%

Van Wilder

On the surface, it might seem that 2002’s Van Wilder is an attempt to recapture the wildly subversive anti-establishment humor that fed into early National Lampoon triumphs like Animal House. But even if they share a college setting, these two films are separated by a crucial difference: Instead of being a schlubby, disadvantaged outsider with an axe to grind against the Man, Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) is simply lazy, a seven-year “student” whose only real problem is losing access to his dad’s largesse (a problem from which he’s amply distracted by the charms of a campus reporter played by Tara Reid). It did well enough to generate a sequel, but by mistaking T&A for heart, Van Wilder highlighted one of the big disconnects between the company’s classic films and its misguided latter-day efforts. “Once upon a time, anything associated with the name ‘National Lampoon’ generated as many chuckles as a can of nitrous oxide,” lamented the Kansas City Star’s Dan Lybarger. “Now the effect is more like a laxative.”

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5. National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) 34%

European Vacation

In theory, National Lampoon’s European Vacation should have been great, but the reality proved puzzlingly lame — starting with the way our bumbling protagonists’ proud surname is inexplicably (and temporarily) changed from Griswold to Griswald, this sequel seems to have many of the ingredients of a fun Vacation movie, but can never quite seem to figure out what to do with them. Of course, with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo back together, things can only be so bad, and the setup — which sends the clueless Griswalds off to Europe, where they live down to every ugly American stereotype — is good for a handful of giggles. On the whole, however, it proved a disappointment for most. “Personally, it’s my favorite out of the four Vacation films,” insisted Larry Carroll for Counting Down. “Many people don’t agree with me, however.”

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4. Blackball (2003) 41%

blackball

Definitely one of the more esoteric entries in the National Lampoon filmography, 2005’s Blackball rounds up an impressively eclectic cast (including James Cromwell and Vince Vaughn) to wring some chuckles out of a story about a young, brash professional lawn bowler (Paul Kaye) who sets about dethroning the reigning champion (Cromwell) with the aid of a sleazy agent (Vaughn). If Blackball shamelessly mines the same class dynamic humor that drove Animal House, it still manages to get a few good laughs out of the joke — and it isn’t like that setup hadn’t already been reused countless times anyway. “Is it an accurate representation of English lawn bowls? Who knows,” shrugged Film4. “But satire, gags and the unexpectedly exciting business of bowling itself are blended into an enjoyable whole.”

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3. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) 67%

Christmas Vacation

The Vacation franchise veered a little off course with 1985’s European sequel, but it enjoyed a happy rebound with Christmas Vacation — a sweet-hearted chapter in the Griswold family saga that jettisoned the slightly anarchic spirit of the original for 90 minutes of goofy fun that puts family patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase) in the middle of the painful (and universally identifiable) gap between idealistic expectations of holidays with the family and the messy chaos of real life. The end result, argued Ryan Cracknell for Movie Views, is “The ultimate family holiday film, playing on both the heart strings and the horror to capture a genuine Christmas spirit.”

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2. National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) 90%

bluto

The company’s name eventually became synonymous with T&A-obsessed direct-to-video efforts, but National Lampoon’s cinematic efforts started off strong: 1978’s Animal House united some of the era’s brightest comedic talents (including breakout star John Belushi, producer Ivan Reitman, and co-writer Harold Ramis) in a proudly ribald look at the alcohol-soaked underbelly of collegiate life that laid the foundation for dozens of subsequent “snobs vs. slobs” comedies while forging a new frontier for subversive humor. “The Lampoon people,” observed TIME’s Frank Rich, “understand the darkest secret of an American college education: one of the noblest reasons to go is to spend four years studying sex.”

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1. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) 93%

vacation

After Animal House, National Lampoon fumbled around in search of a suitable follow-up for a bit, releasing the underwhelming National Lampoon’s Class Reunion and National Lampoon’s Movie Madness before finally wising up and adapting the John Hughes short story “Vacation ’58” for 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation. Starring Chevy Chase as the perpetually clueless Clark Griswold, Beverly D’Angelo as his faithful wife Ellen, and an ace supporting cast that included old pros like Imogen Coca, more established talents like John Candy and Randy Quaid, and future stars like Jane Krakowski and Anthony Michael Hall — not to mention an eye-catching cameo from Christie Brinkley — Vacation took the early ‘80s vision of suburban America’s ideal summer sojourn and twisted it into a nightmarish (and oh so funny) hellscape of shoddy goods, wrong turns, rotten relatives, and broken promises that’s still making us laugh more than 30 years later. “The Griswolds,” decreed Fred Topel for Crave, “are a national treasure.”

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Finally, here’s the trailer for National Lampoon’s second cinematic effort, National Lampoon’s Movie Madness, which barely managed to sneak into theaters in 1983 after spending a couple of years in limbo. See if you can figure out why the studio sat on it:

Only one new film ventures into wide release. Studios typically avoid opening worthwhile pics during the weekend after the Thanksgiving frame since moviegoing subsides and holiday shopping becomes a bigger national priority. Overall ticket sales tumble by 40-50% from the previous frame and holdovers usually lead the way. That means Disney’s princess tale Enchanted should continue to reign supreme at the North American box office, but those looking for a scare will have the new thriller Awake to see. After a robust turkey frame, look for the marketplace to settle down as movie fans nibble on leftovers.

What happens when Darth Vader marries the Invisible Woman? You get a horror film set in a hospital, of course. Awake stars Hayden Christensen as a man who undergoes surgery while remaining conscious and Jessica Alba plays the troubled wife. The R-rated psychological thriller from MGM and The Weinstein Co. will target young adults with a semi-intriguing premise and a dash of starpower.

Outside of the Star Wars prequels, young Anakin has no pull with ticket buyers but Alba has shown box office strength over the years and can often be a draw even when not suited up in Fantastic Four gear. As with so many of her previous films, trailers feature quick shots of her semi-nude body which should titillate male moviegoers. But overall excitement is not too high and the audience could be limited here with the eventual DVD release reaching the bulk of the film’s fans. Opening in about 2,000 theaters, Awake may gross around $6M this weekend.


Hayden Christensen, Terence Howard and Jessica Alba in Awake

A pair of film festival favorites with Oscar hopes will open in platform release this weekend. Fox Searchlight offers the estranged sibling comedy The Savages starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The R-rated film played earlier this year at Sundance, Telluride, and Toronto. Debuting in the same two Manhattan theaters is Miramax’s French drama The Diving Bell and the Butterfly about a magazine editor who after suffering a stroke, can only communicate with one eyelid. The PG-13 film scored the Best Director trophy at Cannes.


Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney in The Savages

With only one new offering in wide play, look for the box office chart to look awfully familiar. Nine of the top ten titles will probably be the same as last week’s. Disney’s family hit Enchanted is set to retain its crown and stay the leader. A 50% drop could result, especially since Friday is not a day off this time around. That would give the fairy tale flick about $17M for the weekend and a solid 12-day cume of $70M.

Following its surprisingly strong premiere, the family reunion film This Christmas should fall sharply on the sophomore session. A 55% decline would leave Sony with $8M and an impressive total of $36M after a dozen days.

Young males targeted by Beowulf and Hitman will be distracted somewhat by another one-word-titled film making its debut. With Alba in that cast, it could lead to steep drops of 55% each. That would put Paramount’s 3D adventure toon at around $7.5M for the weekend for a sum of $68M. Hitman would slide down to $6M for Fox and a total of $30M.

LAST YEAR: For the third straight weekend, the penguin-Bond connection ruled the box office with ease. The animated blockbuster Happy Feet remained the number one film once again with $17.5M for Warner Bros. while Sony’s 007 pic Casino Royale took the silver with $15.1M. In the first 17 days of play, moviegoers spent an astounding $237M on the dynamic duo. Denzel Washington‘s action thriller Deja Vu stayed put in third place with $10.9M in its sophomore frame. Debuting in fourth was the religious drama The Nativity Story with $7.8M on its way to a $37.6M final for New Line. Rounding out the top five was Fox’s Christmas comedy Deck the Halls with $6.7M. Also debuting but to modest numbers were Fox’s horror pic Turistas with $3.6M and MGM’s Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj with $2.3M. Final grosses reached $7M and $4.3M, respectively.

This week at the movies, we’ve got declining civilizations ("Apocalypto," directed by Mel Gibson), conflict diamonds ("Blood Diamond," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly), airport horseplay ("Unaccompanied Minors," starring Wilmer Valderrama), and seasonal love ("The Holiday," starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black). What do the critics have to say?

Give Mel Gibson credit: he’s one of the few filmmakers who has enough clout and technical skill to realize his grand visions. But he’s also been criticized for the fact that said visions are often bloody to the extreme. Critics say "Apocalypto" contains the best and worst of Mel’s impulses. The film tells the story of the last days of Mayan civilization through the eyes of a man (played by Rudy Youngblood) attempting to save his family.The pundits say "Apocalypto" is visually remarkable and viscerally compelling, but also note that the copious amounts of gore and shaky historical details mar the film’s overall impact. It currently stands at 70 percent on the Tomatometer.


Time for a refreshing swim.

Is a Hollywood action picture the best vehicle to enact social change? It’s a question that dogs "Blood Diamond," a thriller that takes on the illicit trade of precious stones in destabilized African nations. Set in the midst of civil war in Sierra Leone, "Blood Diamond" is the story of a fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) who discovers a particularly valuable gem, and teams up with a mercenary (Leonardo DiCaprio) to get the rock out of the war torn area. Critics say the film is well crafted and features strong performances, but it ultimately shortchanges its politics by emphasizing the action. At 56 percent on the Tomatometer, "Blood Diamond" doesn’t quite dazzle.


"Though it’s thousands of miles away/Sierra Leone connect to what we go through today."

Sort of a cross between "Home Alone" and "The Terminal," "Unaccompanied Minors" tells the story of a group of kids snowed in at the airport during the holidays; suffice to say that mischief and merriment ensue. Unfortunately, the film arrives in theaters unaccompanied by widespread critical praise, as the pundits feel the film makes the least of its talented cast, and lacks the originality needed to really make the jokes work. At 25 percent on the Tomatometer, this one’s "Minor," indeed.


This is definitely against NSA regulations.

Just in time for the yuletide season, "The Holiday" provides a sugary treat for fans of chick flicks. Perhaps, say critics, a little too sugary. "The Holiday" tells the tale of two women who live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean; unlucky in love, they decide to swap houses in order to jump-start their lives. Love ensues. The pundits say the film has undeniable charm and a great cast, but is as predictable and fluffy as the day is long. It currently stands at 50 percent on the Tomatometer.


"’Rainbow in the Dark’ by Dio is my favorite song too!"

Also opening this week in limited release: the Argentine "Family Law," about the trials and tribulations of a father-son relationship, is at 91 percent; "Bergman Island," a feature-length interview with Ingmar Bergman, arguably the world’s greatest living director, is at 83 percent; "Days of Glory," an Algerian World War II film, is at 67 percent; "Off the Black," starring Nick Nolte as an alcoholic baseball umpire, is at 55 percent; and "Inland Empire," David Lynch‘s latest assault on cinematic convention starring Laura Dern, is at 52 percent.


"Inland Empire": When a David Lynch movie becomes a Pat Benatar video.

And finally, props to LimpytheTurtle, who correctly guessed "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj"’s Tomatometer would be seven percent. Limpy wins a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax. (Ha! I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.)

Mel Gibson-Directed Films:
———————————————–
51% — The Passion of the Christ (2004)
79% — Braveheart (1995)
56% — The Man Without a Face (1993)

Recent Leonardo DiCaprio Films:
—————————————-
92% — The Departed (2006)
89% — The Aviator (2004)
96% — Catch Me If You Can (2002)
77% — Gangs of New York (2002)
18% — The Beach (2000)

Three new releases failed to make much of an impression on North American moviegoers this weekend as the top films at the box office remained the same.

The dynamic duo of the penguin toon "Happy Feet" and the James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" ranked one and two for the third straight time while Denzel Washington‘s action thriller "Deja Vu" found itself in the familiar third spot once again. Overall, the post-turkey blues set in with total ticket sales dropping significantly from last weekend.

The animated blockbuster "Happy Feet" became only the second film of 2006 to spend three consecutive weekends at number one. Warner Bros. held steady at the top with an estimated $17M over the weekend dropping an understandable 54% from the Thanksgiving holiday frame. After 17 days of release, the penguin hit has grossed a stellar $121M and seems on course to reach the $180-190M domestic range depending on how it holds up over the holidays. The year’s only other film to stay in first place for three weekends was Johnny Depp‘s "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" which also happens to be the top-grossing blockbuster of 2006.

In its usual runnerup spot was Agent 007 in "Casino Royale" which took in an estimated $15.1M in its third mission to boost the total to $115.9M. Off 51%, the Sony hit averaged $4,460 per theater which was virtually the same as Feet’s $4,481 average. "Casino" has been holding up better than the last James Bond flick "Die Another Day" which grossed less in its third weekend. The new Daniel Craig actioner opened with $40.8M and dropped 25% to $30.8M on Thanksgiving weekend. During the same weeks in 2002, "Die" bowed to a stronger $47.1M, but fell a larger 34% to $31M over the turkey frame, and then another 59% to $12.8M on the third session. "Casino" was running 7.2% behind "Die" after the first ten days but has now cut the margin down to only 3.6%. The new smash looks likely to edge out the previous installment’s $160.9M domestic tally. Worldwide, "Casino Royale" surged past the $300M mark in global ticket sales and continues to dominate the international box office.

The "Happy"-"Casino" combo has now grossed a stunning $236.9M putting it slightly ahead of the $229.3M that moviegoers spent a year ago on "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" over the same time period. Factor in the usual 3% for annual ticket price increases and the dollar amount is almost identical. So far, the two hits have tag-teamed to help keep this year’s holiday box office relatively even with last year’s. However, December may struggle to keep up with its 2005 counterpart when movie fans spent a towering $400M on "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "King Kong." This month’s upcoming releases will all have to pitch in solid numbers for the marketplace in the final month of the year to keep up with last year.

Also not shifting its chart position this weekend was the Denzel Washington actioner "Deja Vu" which remained in third place with an estimated $11M. Dropping only 46%, the Buena Vista release watched its cume climb to $44.1M after 12 days. The time-shifting thriller may go on to capture $75-80M.

New Line’s Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" debuted in fourth place with an estimated $8M from a wide release in 3,183 theaters. Averaging only $2,521 per venue, the PG-rated film was expected to reach double digit millions given its 3,000-plus theater launch just weeks before Christmas. The flashier family blockbuster "Happy Feet" may have proven to be too strong of a competitor despite doing $104M in business before "Nativity" even opened.

The Christmas comedy "Deck the Halls" followed with an estimated $6.7M dropping 45% in its second weekend. Fox has stuffed $25M into its stocking after 12 days and could be headed for a mediocre $40-45M final. Another holiday comedy, "The Santa Clause 3," was right behind with an estimated $5M, off 50%, pushing the total for Disney to $73.2M. In seventh was the raunchy pic "Borat" which fell 53% to an estimated $4.8M giving Fox a stellar cume of $116.3M.

The horror pic "Turistas" bowed in eighth place with an estimated $3.5M from 1,570 locations for an average of just $2,255 per site. Fox’s R-rated thriller about American tourists attacked while on vacation in Brazil played to the expected audience of older teens and young adults.

Sony’s comedy "Stranger Than Fiction" followed with an estimated $3.4M, down 41%, for a cume to date of $36.9M. The Will Ferrell pic’s weekend take included grosses from the studio’s Saturday evening sneak previews of its upcoming Cameron DiazKate Winslet pic "The Holiday" which ran at 75% capacity nationwide. The romantic comedy officially opens on Friday against three other new wide openers.

Rounding out the top ten was the new college comedy "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" which opened with an estimated $2.3M from 1,979 theaters for an average of only $1,160. The MGM sequel performed much like a pair of recent R-rated comedies aimed at young males — "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny" and "Let’s Go to Prison" — which debuted with just $3.2M and $2.2M respectively.

Three films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. The DreamWorks animated film "Flushed Away" released by Paramount tumbled 61% to an estimated $2.3M in its fifth weekend and raised its total to $60.1M. Look for a $65M final.

MGM’s political drama "Bobby" fell a steep 59% in its second weekend of national play. The Emilio Estevez pic grossed an estimated $2M lifting the sum to only $9.2M and should end with a weak $12-14M. The Warner Bros. sci-fi romance "The Fountain" dropped 57% in its sophomore frame to an estimated $1.6M giving the studio a puny $8.1M in 12 days. A $11-12M final seems likely.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $76.9M which was up 5% from last year when "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" remained at number one with $19.9M; and up 2% from 2004 when "National Treasure" stayed in the top spot with $17M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we’ve got a new take on the first Noel ("The Nativity Story," starring Keisha Castle-Hughes), endangered Americans in Brazil ("Turistas," starring Melissa George), and a hard partying expat ("Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj," starring Kal Penn). What do the critics have to say?

It may be based on The Greatest Story Ever Told, but critics say "The Nativity Story" is hardly the greatest movie ever made — or even a particularly good one. In case you need a refresher on the origins of the upcoming holiday that may be the occasion for you to receive a Playstation 3, "The Nativity Story" tells the tale of a teenager named Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) who is to give birth to the savior of mankind — all the while dealing with political persecution and lousy hotel service. Critics say the film is too safe (strange, given director Catherine Hardwicke‘s previous films about remarkable young people, "Thirteen" and "Lords of Dogtown"), adding little spark to the most inspirational (and familiar) of sagas. "The Nativity Story" currently stands at 26 percent on the Tomatometer.


Mary, don’t you weep.

"Turistas" continues a mini-trend in slasher films that began with "Hostel": arrogant Americans getting their comeuppance in foreign locales. In this case, a group of youngsters are terrorized in Brazil after they fall into the clutches of a mad organ harvester. While some critics have praised the film’s political undertones and better-than-average tension, most say "Turistas" adds little to a stale genre. At 38 percent on the Tomatometer, this tourist trap may be worth avoiding.


"Turistas": Return I won’t to old Brazil.

"Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" was not screened for critics, which may indicate that it has the potential to sink like a stone with the scribes. (The original "Van Wilder" garnered a robust 17 percent.) Guess that Tomatometer.


They may not be toasting when the reviews come out….

Opening this week in limited release: "10 Items or Less," a laid-back romance starring Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega, is at 53 percent; "3 Needles," a globe-spanning drama about the toll of the AIDS virus, is at 33 percent; and "The Architect," a tale of two families in conflict over a public housing structure, is at 33 percent.

Notable Biblical Epics:
——————————
51% — The Passion of the Christ (2004)
80% — The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
88% — The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1965)
96% — Ben Hur (1959)
91% — The Ten Commandments (1956)

Recent Slasher Movies:
—————————-
29% — Saw III (2006)
18% — Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)
57% — Feast (2006)
35% — Calvaire (2006)
20% — Mad Cowgirl (2006)

The post-turkey blues will kick in as the North American box office should slump this weekend following a busy Thanksgiving holiday frame.

Three new releases venture into the multiplexes. The Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" will open in the most theaters and try to court a faith-based audience as Christmas nears. Teens and young adults looking to push the envelope with R-rated fare have the college comedy "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" and the horror thriller "Turistas." Meanwhile, the penguin toon "Happy Feet" and the James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" will both be past the $100M mark by Friday and will try to stay atop the charts for a third straight time.

The story of Baby Jesus comes to the big screen with New Line’s "The Nativity Story" which stars Keisha Castle-Hughes ("Whale Rider") as Mary. The PG-rated film should appeal to Christian parents wanting to share the religious saga with their children in an environment that the whole family can enjoy. Certainly "The Passion of the Christ" showed how big a Biblical film could be at the box office. However, "Nativity" is completely different and does not have that film’s high-profile director, controversy, or national media frenzy.


Keisha Castle-Hughes and friends in "The Nativity Story."

Instead, it may tap into the same audience as October’s Babylon epic "One Night With the King" which opened to $4.1M from just 909 theaters for a $4,518 average. "The Nativity Story" will launch in more than twice the number of theaters and has a more timely release with December 25 right around the corner, but could generate a similar per-theater average. Critics have not been kind to the pic which might prompt some to wait for the DVD. Opening in around 2,800 theaters, "The Nativity Story" could collect about $13M over the weekend.

Four and a half years after the release of National Lampoon’s first raunchy college comedy "Van Wilder" comes a new installment with "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj." This R-rated tale finds Taj (Kal Penn) from the first film moving to England to teach a group of misfits how to party down. It’s been a tough road in recent weeks for R-rated films aimed at young males. "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," "Let’s Go to Prison," and "Harsh Times" all opened with about $2M or $3M a piece. "Taj" has some brand recognition since the first "Van Wilder" went on to become popular on video and on cable. In theaters, it opened to $7.3M and a $3,612 average in April 2002 leading to a $21M final. However, a crowded marketplace will make it tough for the sequel to stand out. And "Borat" becoming a runaway smash with four straight $10M+ weekends won’t help either. Opening in 2,000 around theaters, "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" might debut with about $5M.


Kal Penn returns in "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj."

Fox’s new division Fox Atomic, which will cater to teen and young adult audiences, sets sail with its first film with the horror pic "Turistas." The R-rated thriller is directed by John Stockwell ("Blue Crush," "Crazy/Beautiful") and follows a group of American tourists on vacation in Brazil who cross paths with creepy organ harvesters. No starpower here. Instead, Fox is hoping to appeal to college kids looking for a good scare. Outside of older teens and twentysomethings, appeal should be minimal. Even with its core audience, "Turistas" will have to share shelf space with "Taj" so potential will be limited. Opening in less than 2,000 theaters, "Turistas" could find its way to a weekend gross of roughly $4M.


A trio of scared turistas in "Turistas."

Among holdovers, films usually suffer steep declines on the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday frame. Overall box office spending contracts and studios usually avoid programming any of their heavy hitters into the slot. In fact in the last 15 years, only one new release has opened at number one during this particular weekend – 2003’s "The Last Samurai."

This weekend, it could end up being "Happy Feet" and "Casino Royale" duking it out for box office supremacy for the third straight time. Family pics do extremely well over the turkey frame, but then come down hard a week later. Plus "The Nativity Story" could provide some competition for families. Warner Bros. might suffer a 55% fall for its penguin film which would leave it with $17M for the weekend and $120M after 17 days.

The new blonde Bond is pleasing audiences worldwide and in the United States, "Casino Royale" is set to give "Die Another Day" a run for its money thanks to good word-of-mouth. With kids back in school, the Sony adventure film has taken over the number one spot during the mid-week period. "Casino" could drop by 50% this weekend to around $15M which would push the domestic cume to $116M. Look for the global tally to surpass the $400M mark with ease by the end of the holiday season.

Last weekend, Denzel Washington‘s action thriller "Deja Vu" got off to a good start with a $28.6M five-day bow. Buena Vista may witness a 50% drop and collect roughly $10M over three days and raise its 12-day total to $43M.

LAST YEAR: For the third straight weekend, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" rose to the head of the class and grossed $19.9M to lead the box office. Paramount opened its Charlize Theron actioner "Aeon Flux" to $12.7M on its way to a lukewarm $25.9M. It was the only new wide release of the weekend. "Walk the Line" dropped to third with $9.5M, "Yours, Mine, and Ours" placed fourth with $8.3M, and "Just Friends" rounded out the top five with $5.6M.

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