With a rash of unnecessary sequels on the way, including Grown Ups 2 and Transformers 4, I thought about the films that did merit a continuation of the story, like Before Midnight. So here’s a list of (a little more than) 10 films that I would love to get a sequel to, no matter how impossible. Note that I’ve excluded films currently in development that lack an official release date (i.e. a follow-up to Prometheus).
The Phantom (1996, Simon Wincer)
The Shadow (1994, Russell Mulcahy)
The Rocketeer (1991, Joe Johnston)
The movies: Based on a comic strip, a radio serial and a comic book inspired by old serials, these three movies are exactly the kind of entertaining throwbacks Hollywood doesn’t know how to make these days.
The hold-up: All three were big box office bombs, though The Rocketeer was the most successful. Again, Hollywood isn’t interested in fun adventure movies. They either need to be “gritty reboots” or an attempt to wedge a well-known character into a standard action flick.
9. Get Smart (2008, Peter Segal)
The movie: A pretty sharp adaptation of a very sharp ‘60s spy sitcom. Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway had tremendous chemistry.
The hold-up: Both stars are much bigger now than they were in 2008, even if Carell’s last few movies don’t jibe with that. A sequel was rumored as recently as 2010.
8. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988, Robert Zemeckis)
The movie: One of the most incredible things you will ever see, a noir send-up with a shockingly fantastic blend of live-action animation.
The hold-up: Everything you could think of: a lousy follow-up script, ballooning budget, busy directors, Bob Hoskins retirement. It may have been for the best we didn’t get that sequel.
7. The Italian Job (2003, F. Gary Gray)
The movie: A no-nonsense remake of a Michael Caine grand theft auto thriller with a top-notch cast.
The hold-up: Maybe there was never a sequel to begin with, despite a real title (The Brazilian Job) and an IMDb page. Also, it doesn’t help that Paramount keeps getting new CEOs and other execs. But if they can keep churning out sequel after sequel for The Fast and the Furious, surely they can get Mark Wahlberg and company back together to steal some cars. Here are some continuing adventures they could have: The Indian Job (Mumbai), The Russian Job (Moscow), The Canadian Job (Vancouver, because they’d probably film there anyway).
6. The A-Team (2010, Joe Carnahan)
The movie: A loud blast of fun that never becomes obnoxious despite many opportunities to do so. Plus, the quartet of actors (Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Rampage Jackson and Sharlto Copley) could not have played their roles better.
The hold-up: It just didn’t stir up the kind of box office revenue that makes green-lighting sequels a no-brainer. For now, it’s always playing on FX.
5. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008, Guillermo del Toro)
The movie: A follow-up to the surprisingly awesome Hellboy, which sees our titular antihero struggling with issues of identity as Guillermo del Toro’s world-building goes even deeper.
The hold-up: Guillermo del Toro is way too busy at the moment. He just finished Pacific Rim, he’s starting production on Crimson Peak and adapting his novel The Strain into a series at FX. This is in addition to his role as producer of many horror films and co-writer of The Hobbit saga. And then there’s the possibility of doing Slaughterhouse-Five with Charlie Kaufman! Still, of all the films on this list, this seems most likely to happen in the next five years, mainly because it’s really easy to get Ron Perlman on the phone.
4. Trick ’r Treat (2007, Michael Dougherty)
The movie: A creepy, clever Halloween anthology featuring Dylan Baker, Anna Paquin and Brian Cox.
The hold-up: Horror anthologies are for TV! But the film is on Netflix, so go watch it and tell your friends and maybe through Kickstarter we can finally get another few chapters of Sam. Or, hey, Netflix. Pick this up for a six-episode run. It’ll definitely be better than Hemlock Grove.
3. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002, Don Coscarelli)
The movie: Elvis and JFK fight a mummy at a nursing home. You’re telling me you wouldn’t see that?
The hold-up: Both Paul Giamatti (who would play Colonel Tom Parker) and director Don Coscarelli have brought up the idea of a prequel or sequel called Bubba Nosferatu. Unfortunately, there have been just as many positive signs as negative. Maybe when all that sweet syndication money kicks in for Burn Notice, Bruce Campbell can just fund it himself or, again, turn to Kickstarter.
2. True Lies (1994, James Cameron)
The movie: James Cameron’s best movie and the best action-comedy ever made. It could hardly be better.
The hold-up: It’s far too late to reunite this cast (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold) without looking old and sad. Plus, Cameron remains busy tinkering on Avatar 2 and 3, even though this would be a far better use of his time.
1. The Incredibles (2004)
The movie: In contention for Pixar’s greatest movie outside the Toy Story trilogy. A superhero movie with real consequences and hilarious to boot.
The hold-up: Brad Bird seems to enjoy live-action films more. His Mission: Impossible sequel was arguably the best in the franchise, and he’s got the upcoming Tomorrowland and a passion project about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in the works. Pixar has pledged one original movie per year and one sequel every two starting in 2016, so maybe before the decade is out.