Sequels, prequels, reboots, and re-imaginings are par for the course in movie-making. In fact, there were a whopping 53 movie and television sequels or reboots released in 2018.
Sequels, especially in the 21st century, appeal to nostalgia and introduce younger generations to stories and characters that have become part of the pop culture lexicon over the decades. But not every sequel gets the big blockbuster treatment, and many go unnoticed in the grand scheme of movie-making history.
Here are five movies you didn’t know had sequels.
“A Christmas Story”
1983’s “A Christmas Story” is a movie that joined the ranks of Christmas classics — “A Christmas Carol,” “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — almost immediately after release. It’s a beloved story that’s shown on television each year as the holidays roll around, and people never seem to tire of little Ralphie and his dreams of a Red Ryder BB Gun.
Those same people would probably be surprised to learn that “A Christmas Story” finally got a direct sequel, appropriately titled “A Christmas Story 2,” in 2012. What’s even more surprising is that “A Christmas Story” also paved the way for a quasi-sequel 1988 TV movie called “Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss,” which follows the same Parker family and a few friends — Ralphie, Randy, Mom, the Old Man, Flick, and Schwartz — in summertime family getaway fashion.
Want more “Sandlot”? The original movie focused on a group of boys playing baseball in an idyllic Anywhere, USA town, and it serves as a snapshot of simpler summer times. It had everything — swimming pool escapades, July 4th fireworks, scary neighbors and their scary dogs, and of course baseball.
“The Sandlot” got not one but two sequels. The 2005 sequel “The Sandlot 2” sees a new group of kids trying to retrieve a stranded model rocket that launches over a fence and into a scary neighbor’s yard (sound familiar?). Strangely, “The Sandlot: Heading Home” from 2007 is as much a baseball-focused follow-up as it is a time travel movie. Need even more “Sandlot”? A television series from Disney+ is in the works.
Ron Howard and Tom Hanks made a “Splash” with their 1984 movie collaboration about a man who meets and falls in love with a mermaid. Hanks was at the top of his game, and co-star Daryl Hannah practically dripped charisma as a fish out of water.
The TV movie sequel “Splash, Too” involved none of the original talent trio (Howard, Hannah, or Hanks), which is probably why it went relatively unnoticed. “Splash, Too” follows the same main characters, Allen and Madison Bauer, as they return to New York for further misadventures.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
This list is full of iconic films with under-watched or unseen sequels, but “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” occupies a special place on the cult movie spectrum. The movie is irreverent, extravagant and unapologetic in its musical revelry, and Tim Curry’s performance as Dr. Frank-N-Furter continues to inspire Halloween costumes each year.
The movie’s sequel didn’t don the “2” after its originator’s title, which may be why you’d be hard-pressed to find film fans who have seen it. Director Jim Sharman returned after “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” six years later and released “Shock Treatment” as a follow-up musical featuring a handful of characters, played by different actors from the original movie.
While not a direct sequel, 2015’s “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” tried to recapture the magic of the 1975 cult classic.
“This is Spinal Tap”
The mockumentary style of the Rob Reiner’s 1984 movie “This Is Spinal Tap” has been emulated and perfected over the years, and for good reason. There’s something intrinsically silly and entertaining about the idea of following a fictional band through their highs and lows, and “This Is Spinal Tap” did so in hilarious fashion. The now-infamous movie was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2002 for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
So, it would seem only natural that a sequel would make the same impact. 1992’s “A Spinal Tap Reunion: The 25th Anniversary London Sell-Out” didn’t have quite the same flavor to it, even if the original trio (played by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer) returned.
More movie sequels than you can count
The sequel train shows no signs of stopping, and there are plenty of movie sequels in 2019 to enjoy or lament depending on your preferences. Will some of your favorites get sequels this year or next? There’s a good chance a sequel to your favorite films is either in the works or has already been made, released, and brushed under the rug. Did any of the above-mentioned movie sequels surprise you?