In contemporary Hollywood, being able to capitalize on a franchise is vital. It’s one of the reasons that so many sequels have been released in the past few decades. While it can be argued that sequels hold no standing over the original film, it hasn’t stopped studios from trying and, in some cases, succeeding in making a hit sequel.
On some occasions, a popular original film, such as The Mummy or Shrek, will get out-performed at the box office. And most of the time, moviegoers never see it coming. Here are some of the sequels that surpassed the original film at the box office.
Toy Story 2
Toy Story became an instant Pixar classic. It showcased what could happen with computer animation technology while tugging at the audience’s heartstrings with some timeless characters. If the studio were to make a sequel, no one thought it could top the original in the box office. We were very wrong.
In 1999, Toy Story 2 was released, making almost $500 million worldwide! That’s nearly a solid $100 million more than the original film. It’s safe to say that Woody and Buzz made quite the impression the first time around to out-perform the classic!
John Wick: Chapter 2
Fans of the John Wick franchise became enamored with the story after watching the first film where Keanu Reeves goes on a search for the people who killed his beloved dog. Knowing that the film is based on a comic of the same name, it was inevitable that the studio would make a sequel. But considering the original made $86 million worldwide, no one thought a sequel would top it at the box office.
With an impressive $171 million worldwide, John Wick: Chapter 2 exceeded the original at the box office by almost 100 percent! When it comes to sequel films, you can’t ask for better performance.
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Captain America: The First Avenger was the fifth movie to be released in the MCU. Little did non-comic book readers know, Cap was about to become a huge part of their lives, starting with this movie. The film brought us through the stages of Captain America’s life: a skinny kid from Brooklyn, an experiment, war propaganda, and, finally, a super-soldier.
No one really thought a sequel movie was going to do better than the original that made quirky references to things like Star Wars, but everyone was wrong. Captain America: The Winter Soldier made $714 million worldwide, more than double what the original film made at the box office.
Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
After watching the first installment of the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, most fans thought there was no way another film could out-perform it. All they hoped for is that the second installment be nearly as good as the original. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers did not disappoint, with the Battle of Helms Deep exceeding expectations and hitting its box office revenue out of the park.
The second movie of the trilogy went on to earn $927 million worldwide at the box office, while the Fellowship of the Ring made $872 million. Fans were pumped and couldn’t wait for 2003 and The Return of the King.
Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen
How can a sequel surpass an original film about an ancient war between Autobots and the evil Decepticons with Shia LeBeouf in the middle of it all? Easy: make the battle even more intense with cryptic symbols, and have the same cast running around the world trying to stop the ancient fight! No one thought a sequel about the same robot war could possibly outperform the original.
While Transformers made over $700 million at the box office worldwide, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen exceeded it by over $100 million, for a total of $836 million. People couldn’t get enough of Sam Witwicky and Bumblebee!
22 Jump Street
After then hysterical movie 21 Jump Street, no one thought a sequel would even be under consideration. There was also the issue of how they were going to write the film without reusing the same material. Well, ironically, that’s just what they did! Writers for 22 Jump Street made the entire film a spoof on sequels.
They even have Ice Cube’s character telling officers Schmidt and Jenko to do “the exact same thing as last time.” 22 Jump Street went on to out-perform the original comedy, making over $330 million worldwide at the box office.
The Dark Knight
Saying The Dark Knight out-performed Batman Begins at the box office would be putting it mildly. Not to say the original movie of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy wasn’t an excellent start to the epic adventures portrayed in the next two films, it’s just that the sequel out-performed in the box office by more than $500 million worldwide!
The Dark Knight made over $1 billion in the box office worldwide during its theatre release. Fans of Batman couldn’t get enough of the relationship between him and Heath Ledger’s Joker. The movie not only made more money than the original but was also secured as one of the best movies of 2008.
The Karate Kid Part II
“Wax on, wax off” from The Karate Kid was an ’80s phrase that most people knew, as the film was hugely popular with children and adults alike. Aside from the famous phrase spoken by Mr. Miyagi, the subject matter behind the film was something a lot of people could relate to: trying to fit in and taking a stand against bullying.
No one thought another Karate Kid would happen, but when the sequel was released in 1986, fans of the original were pleasantly surprised. The Karate Kid Part II went on to out-perform the original film in the box office by more than $24 million worldwide!
The Mummy Returns
Fans of The Mummy know there is nothing better than watching Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz battle the evil mummy, Imhotep. Honestly, no one thought a sequel was going to be made, considering the duo locked away the evil undead mummy in the original. So we were all thankful when the trailer came out for The Mummy Returns.
The sequel went on to out-performed the original in the box office. The Mummy earned $415 million, and The Mummy Returns beat it, earning $443 million worldwide. We think the film’s popularity had something to do with a CGI head of The Rock on a massive scorpion body.
Die Hard 2
Die Hard 2 takes fans back into the life of detective John McClane as he deals with yet another terrorist plot on U.S. soil. This time, the threat is at Washington Dulles International Airport and is being made by a South American profiteer and a treasonous ex-colonel.
Surprisingly, this sequel was able to top the original ’80s flick, out-performing it at the box office. While the original Christmas-themed action thriller made $141 million worldwide, the sequel made $240 million. If you haven’t seen these movies, we highly recommend it!
Despicable Me 2
Despicable Me 2 brings fans back into the world of Gru, Margo, Agnes, Edith, and, of course, all the yellow minions. Unlike the original film where we see Gru using the three orphan girls as pawns in his evil schemes, fans witness a character change. The villain decides to leave behind his evil ways to raise the kids, going as far as joining the Anti-Villain League.
No evil Gru or minion plots? How was this ever going to do better than the original film? Well, it did! Despicable Me 2 made $970 million worldwide, over $200 million more than the original movie!
Rush Hour 2
Considering that the original Rush Hour didn’t garner the best reviews or box office earnings, moviegoers were surprised to hear there was going to be a sequel. The thing is, no one thought a second movie revolving around inspector Lee and officer Carter was necessary, let alone that it would do any better than the first.
The sequel, Rush Hour 2, went on to earn $347 million worldwide at the box office — about $103 million more than Rush Hour. It seems like fans enjoyed the quirky dynamic between Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker! it just goes to show we need comedic thrillers in our lives!
Insert ogre Fiona, an evil fairy godmother whose diet is ruined, Puss in Boots with the puppy eyes, and a mama’s boy Prince Charming, and you have Shrek 2. After the hilarity of the first movie, fans were very excited to hear that there was going to be a sequel revolving around Shrek and Fiona’s new life as a married couple.
The satirical take on the fairy tale world of Far Far Away was everything that fans of the films hoped for, along with an outstanding performance of “I need a Hero” by the Fairy Godmother. Shrek 2 ended up out-performing the original movie, earning $919 million worldwide at the box office.
Pitch Perfect 2
Pitch Perfect was the comedy no one asked for but couldn’t help but adore. With talented singing, lots of sass, and dry humor throughout the entire movie (including Fat Amy’s one-liners), there was no way a sequel was going to surpass the original. This was going to be the perfect example of “don’t fix what ain’t broke.” In this case, the first movie wasn’t broken, so don’t bother with a sequel.
Well, the Bellas were back and better than ever in the second installment of Pitch Perfect. The movie went on to out-perform the original, earning $287 million worldwide at the box office.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon
After sitting through the cringe-worthy performances of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson in Twilight, there was no way a second film was going to be approved. Wrong. The Twilight Saga: New Moon was released in 2009 and brought with it a whole new level of CGI fails, namely the werewolves, and awkward supernatural teenage romances.
Even so, people went to go see it in all of its sparkly vampire glory. When it was reported that the sequel had out-performed the original in the box office, earning $709 million worldwide, it was both surprising and not. They couldn’t have made it any worse than the original, after all!
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
The original Pirates of the Caribbean was the pirate movie people had been waiting for. It was full of adventure, humor, and of course, a young Orlando Bloom. The film wasn’t the typical corny pirate motion picture, but rather a live-action film based on the Disney ride of the same name.
After the smashing success of the first film, the thought of a sequel surpassing it in the box office was laughable. Well, the studio had the last laugh because Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest earned $1 billion in the box office! It seems like people liked the concept of Davy Jones’ curse a bit more than anticipated.
Iron Man 2
Iron Man brought us into the world of billionaire genius Tony Stark, watching as he built his first suit and became Iron Man. After the origin story took off, it was inevitable that a sequel was going to be made eventually, especially with the studio talk of creating a whole Marvel Cinematic Universe (spoiler alert: that happened).
Even so, people questioned how they were going to make a second movie surrounding the superhero, Iron Man. Answer: insert Black Widow, War Machine, and a more in-depth discussion about SHIELD. In 2010, Iron Man 2 went on to earn $623 million in the box office.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
We don’t know about you, but when it was reported that a sequel to the classic Robin Williams film Jumanji was in the works, we were a bit skeptical. The sequel film, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, was bringing the viewer into the action via video game, nothing like the classic board game. Throw in the cast of The Rock, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillian, and Jack Black and more than one eyebrow was raised.
Even more, people were surprised when they found out the movie was good! Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle earned almost $1 billion worldwide at the box office, surpassing the original by around $702 million.
Considering that fans of the first Incredibles movie were waiting for a sequel film for over ten years, it’s no surprise that Incredibles 2 out-performed the original in the box office. In the sequel, fans are reunited with the Parr family and watch as Elastigirl fights crime while Mr. Incredible is a stay-at-home dad.
With all of the tiny animation details, fans understand why it took Pixar so long to release the film. Even the fibers of their clothing can be seen, after all! The Incredibles 2 earned $1.2 billion worldwide at the box office, a huge leap from the original’s earnings of $633 million.
Spider-Man: Far From Home
Fans of the MCU couldn’t help but fall in love with Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider-Man, so when he finally got a stand-alone film, people were ecstatic! After the huge success of the original film, the talk of a sequel quickly followed. After the events in Endgame, the sequel had a lot to prove in terms of plot and performance.
How was Peter Parker going to act after everything he’s been through? Tom Holland didn’t disappoint, and Mysterio was the perfect villain for him to fight following the aftermath of the snap, Tony’s death, and Thanos. Spider-Man: Far From Home earned $1.1 billion worldwide at the box office.