As you’ve surely noticed from the lines of ecstatic moviegoers camped out on the sidewalks of your local cineplex (/sarcasm), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is out tomorrow. Try to contain your excitement. Yes, in their infinite wisdom, Hollywood has spent $75 million to grind out a sequel to Ghost Rider, a film that nobody liked and nobody wanted to see more of. So why on earth does Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance exist? Ah, here we go: because beloved or no, the first film grossed $115 million, and while that may be a meager profit on a reported $110 million budget (seriously? SERIOUSLY?), it pretty much doubled that gross overseas. As they say, it’s show business, kids, and if there are that many ticket buyers who’ll pony up once to see Nicolas Cage flambé motorcycling around for justice, maybe they’ll do so twice. (Not to worry, though: the sequel is directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who did Crank and, um, Crank 2. And, oh dear, Jonah Hex. Enjoy, moviegoers!)
GR:SOV (as the kids are calling it) is just the latest in Hollywood’s long, long, long history of churning out utterly inexplicable sequels. Look, let’s be clear, we’re not cinema snobs, railing against sequels on general principle: movies from Godfather II to Aliens to The Dark Knight to Harry Potter 3-7.5 have proven that you can follow up a film with equal (or even advancing) returns. But there has to be a compelling reason for it to exist: a story worth returning to, say, or even a general positive opinion of the initial outing. After the jump, we’ll take a look at a few occasions where we got a sequel, whether we wanted one or not.
Alien Vs. Predator- Requiem
Confession: Your editor had forgotten that Alien Vs. Predator even existed, much less its ill-conceived sequel. But yes, the simultaneous desecration of two beloved sci-fi/horror franchises from director Paul W.S. Anderson (the auteur behind the Resident Evil movies and that 3D Three Musketeers thing) pulled in $172 million worldwide, so more AVP shenanigans were ordered up — though Anderson bowed out of the second chapter. (Memo to producers: when the guy who made Death Race doesn’t wanna make your movie, maybe it’s time to really think about if it should be made.) The Brothers Strause — whose background in commercials and visual effects made them a perfect fit for pure product like this — took over as directors, and though the final product replicated the original’s scathing reviews, it couldn’t match the box office of the original. (Still, total worldwide gross was $128 million, so shame on you, Earth.)