It is almost an article of faith that a movie sequel will never be as popularly regarded as the first film in the series.

Based on IMDB polls, most films get progressively worse - none more so in this survey than Jaws which had the greatest fall from grace. The best exception to this would be The Toxic Avenger series, because it was so bad to start with it could only become a classic. For the Police Academy series, each of the seven movies was rated less highly than the last. Below are the ratings out of ten given by IMDB reviewers to the following film series, in order of the DIFFerence in score between the first film and the most recent sequel.

                      |    |             Sequel Number  
     Series           |DIFF| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
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Jaws                  |-5.6|8.2|5.3|3.1|2.6|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Home Alone            |-4.2|6.3|4.9|3.6|2.1|...|...|...|...|...|...
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The Omen              |-3.9|7.2|5.7|5.1|3.3|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Robocop               |-3.9|7.1|4.6|3.2|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Rocky                 |-3.8|7.7|6.2|5.6|5.1|3.9|...|...|...|...|...
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Batman                |-3.7|7.3|6.5|5.4|3.6|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Superman              |-3.5|7.1|6.4|4.5|3.3|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Police Academy        |-3.5|5.7|4.3|3.7|3.4|2.8|2.7|2.2|...|...|...
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Revenge of the Nerds  |-3.5|6.0|3.9|2.8|2.5|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Pink Panther          |-3.3|7.2|6.7|6.9|6.3|4.3|3.9|...|...|...|...
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Halloween             |-3.2|7.6|5.5|3.6|4.9|4.2|4.2|5.2|4.4|...|...
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The Addams Family     |-2.9|6.4|6.0|3.5|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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First Blood/Rambo     |-2.9|6.8|5.0|3.9|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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The Karate Kid        |-2.6|6.5|5.0|3.8|3.9|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Beverley Hills Cop    |-2.4|7.1|5.7|4.7|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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The Exorcist          |-2.4|7.9|3.4|5.5|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Alien                 |-2.3|8.3|8.2|6.0|6.0|...|...|...|...|...|...
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The Matrix            |-2.2|8.5|7.2|6.3|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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The Godfather         |-1.7|9.0|8.9|7.3|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Crocodile Dundee      |-1.7|6.4|4.9|4.7|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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The Three Ninjas      |-1.7|4.0|3.6|3.0|2.3|...|...|...|...|...|...
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The Naked Gun         |-1.7|7.4|6.3|5.7|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Spy Kids              |-1.6|6.3|5.9|4.7|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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The Mighty Ducks      |-1.4|6.5|4.7|4.3|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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TMNT                  |-1.4|5.5|4.5|4.1|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Friday 13th           |-1.1|5.8|4.7|4.2|4.4|3.4|4.4|3.9|3.5|3.8|4.7
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Airport               |-1.1|4.9|5.0|3.8|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Mad Max               |-1.1|6.9|7.4|5.8|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Die Hard              |-1.0|8.0|6.7|7.0|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Terminator            |-0.9|7.9|8.1|7.0|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Nightmare on Elm St   |-0.9|7.0|4.4|5.8|4.8|4.2|4.3|6.1|...|...|...
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Star Wars             |-0.8|8.8|8.7|8.1|6.5|7.1|8.0|...|...|...|...
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Indiana Jones         |-0.7|8.7|7.2|8.0|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Austen Powers         |-0.7|7.0|6.5|6.3|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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American Pie          |-0.4|6.8|6.3|6.4|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Bloodfist             |-0.3|2.7|3.1|2.8|3.3|2.8|2.2|2.5|2.4|...|...
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Scary Movie           |-0.2|5.5|4.2|5.3|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Lord of the Rings     |+0.2|8.8|8.9|9.0|...|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Harry Potter          |+0.6|7.2|7.8|7.3|7.8|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Star Trek             |+0.8|5.7|7.5|6.2|7.1|4.7|6.9|6.1|7.3|6.3|6.5
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Toxic Avenger         |+1.1|5.2|4.0|3.1|6.3|...|...|...|...|...|...
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Why do sequels do worse ? Possibly it is due to the high expectations viewers have based on the high quality or interest generated from the first film.

Or people get tired of the original cast but they might like the genre - consider the ups and downs of Star Trek when Picard took charge of the helm over Kirk, or that the fourth movie in The Karate Kid series involves a new protaganist (a girl), and it is considered an improvement.

Or people might just get tired of a once highly original genre being reapplied - especially when it involves a diverse bunch of freaks having their comeuppance as police officers or hockey players.

Or film producers forget that success of the first film was predicated upon the director, the lead actor or somebody else special (like Stephen Spielberg or James Cameron) who they dumped in order to save money.

Or the plot seems to have run out of steam, after in the first episode the bad guy is slain or the looser gets laid. At least for Star Trek their adventures seem to be ongoing (even if the titles of the each sequel sound like it is going to be the penultimate film).

Or they release sequels without enough time between each one, which might explain how the audience remained interested in The Lord of the Rings.

ref: www.imdb.com. Only recent for The Lord of the Rings, The Addams Family, Batman and Superman, and the older series of The Pink Panther flicks are measured. Star Wars is sequenced in the order of production

Se"quel (?), n. [L. sequela, fr. sequit to follow: cf. F. s'equelle a following. See Sue to follow.]

1.

That which follows; a succeeding part; continuation; as, the sequel of a man's advantures or history.

O, let me say no more! Gather the sequel by that went before. Shak.

2.

Consequence; event; effect; result; as, let the sun cease, fail, or swerve, and the sequel would be ruin.

3.

Conclusion; inference.

[R.]

Whitgift.

 

© Webster 1913.

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