This month is like exhibit A for Hollywood's propensity to churn out sequels that nobody asked for. You've got Journey 2, opening today. And then next week, there's Ghost Rider 2, in which Nic Cage tries to "improve" upon the first flaming-skull motorcycle movie.
But it gets worse. There are plenty of sequels in the pipeline that would probably make Journey 2 and Ghost Rider 2 look like Henry IV Part 2. Here's our list of what's coming, and why it makes us want to stab ourselves in the faces.
Update: It's been pointed out that Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is not technically a sequel to Ghost Rider, despite both of them starring Nic Cage. Rather, this is a reimagining of the character, similar to the relationship between The Hulk and The Incredible Hulk.
Disclaimer: Of course, not all of these will get made. They're just in the pipeline, which could mean almost anything. We attempt to untangle the rumors and reports below.
Current status: It's like a ghost stalemate. Basically, everybody who made the first two films wants to reunite except for Bill Murray, who has been very vocal about saying the script for the third movie is garbage. And by all accounts, Murray has veto power. Dan Aykroyd keeps insisting the sequel really will happen soon, though.
Stab stab ow: Well, Ghostbusters 2 was kind of a bummer already. And see the part where we explain that Murray has said this new sequel has a script so horrible, he had to put it in his shredder.
Current status: Doubtful. Back in 2008, director Doug Liman kept saying that he saw the Jumper films as a trilogy, and he wanted to make a second one focusing on time jumps as well as space jumps. As recently as 2010, Hayden Christensen said he was "in talks" for the sequel, which would be "darker." But since then, Liman has signed on to a number of other projects, including All You Need is Kill.
Stab stab ow: We just weren't that jazzed about the first Jumper — especially given Christensen's charisma-free performance. A "darker" sequel reminds us too much of Anakin.
Current status: It was talked about a lot after the first Wanted did so well — including the possibility of somehow resurrecting Angelina Jolie. We interviewed Timur Bekmambetov and he seemed jazzed about it. But more recently, they've hinted the sequel might not have Angelina. In September, Universal re-hired the original film's writers to script the sequel.
Stab stab ow: We mostly thought Wanted rocked, apart from the undertones of misogny and the silly loom of fate. But it worked as a nice, self-contained origin story for James McAvoy's sociopath character — and it seems highly unlikely that a second film would be nearly as fun. Do you want to watch James McAvoy being an asswipe for two hours?
Almost Every Will Smith Movie
Current status: We're just going to wrap these together, for convenience. A Men in Black sequel is coming this summer, and it's widely reported to be a trainwreck in which they vaguely had a script, sort of. Meanwhile, even though Smith once swore he wasn't making any more sequels after Bad Boys II, he's rumored to be making sequels to all his old films. Hancock 2 is actively being talked about. Independence Day 2 was recently said to be in the works. For a while, they were seriously talking about an I Am Legend prequel/sequel. There's even talk about I, Robot 2. We probably missed a few here.
Stab stab ow: Well, there are ample reports that Men in Black III is a spaceship wreck. Considering that the final reel of Hancock was the worst part, a sequel doesn't sound too promising. Neither I, Robot nor I Am Legend really left us wanting more. Of all these, the only one we'd at least be curious to see would be Independence Day 2, just to see what "Welcome to Earf" moment they'd cook up this time. But still — if there's one thing we admire about Will Smith, it's that he keeps moving forward. Mostly. He's one of the few Hollywood stars who can still get a project made just by putting his name on it, and he uses that power to make new movies happen, like the upcoming After Earth. Independence Day 2 poster by Adam Munn-Rivard.
Green Lantern 2
Current status: As recently as January 15, Time Magazine was reporting this sequel had been greenlit, with the original movie's writers on board. There's been a lot of talk about it, although not much concrete action thus far.
Stab stab ow: The post-credits scene in the first movie sort of killed our interest in a second, since it apparently showed Sinestro putting on the yellow ring for no particular reason — and burned off the most interesting moment that a second film would have had to offer. A sequel would have to be much better than the first movie, AND it would have to pretend that post-credits scene didn't happen.
Current status: Supposedly still in the works, even though it was delayed due to Arnold Schwarzenegger's scandals and stuff. Megan Ellison, who's mostly banked cool indie movies, is producing it, and she seems pretty determined to make a couple new films happen before the rights revert to James Cameron. Everybody's waiting for Fast and Furious director Justin Lin to have time to do it.
Stab stab ow: Well... Megan Ellison's involvement does make us cautiously more optimistic. But we still doubt there's an interesting way to continue the series — and given how much talk there was in Terminator 3 about Arnie being an obsolete model, how are they going to explain his much greater decrepitude now?
The Human Centipede III: Final Sequence
Current status: We don't know much. It's listed on IMDB as forthcoming, but that means very little. Everybody expects director Tom Six to complete the trilogy. And apparently the DVD extras on Human Centipede 2 include Six talking about what to expect from Human Centipede 3.
Stab stab ow: Seriously? For the tiny number of you who need this explained... let's see. The original Human Centipede was actually sort of a bracingly weird film, thanks to Dieter Laser's insane performance as a mad scientist who wants to sew people together. But the second movie was a way-too-meta disaster, in which a fan of the first movie attempts to recreate it, while masturbating with sandpaper and stuff. We really don't think anybody who saw the second film will be willing to see even a few minutes of the third.
Austin Powers 4
Current status: Reportedly, Mike Myers has signed up to make a fourth Austin movie... because you all didn't appreciate The Love Guru enough.
Stab stab ow: This "cryogenically frozen spy" franchise was already pretty much run into the ground after the second movie. Everything that was fresh and original about the first movie has become a cliche at this point, and watching Myers try to do Austin Powers and Dr. Evil 15 years after he first played them would just be sad.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters
Current status: Apparently it's actually happening. Gina Carano has a small role, on the heels of her starring role in Haywire. It could be hitting theaters in 2013.
Stab stab ow: The first Percy Jackson movie was good forgettable camp... it had Uma Thurman as a medusa and Pierce Brosnan as a centaur, plus Greek gods played by Kevin McKidd and Steve Coogan. But when you came right down to it, it was still a totally silly, kinda dull Harry Potter ripoff that apparently didn't make fans of the books terribly happy. And given how much it underperformed, you have to assume a sequel would have a lower budget and less awesome supporting actors. So yeah... not dying to see more of Percy.
The Last Exorcism 2
Current status: In production. It was just announced that Ed Glass-Donnelly is directing the sequel, and Ashley Bell will be back as the apparently possessed girl Nell. We could be seeing this film as soon as late 2012.
Stab stab ow: We really loved The Last Exorcism — but a lot of what was great about it was its newness and its ambiguity, and the central character of the exorcist who's now determined to prove that it's all fakery. A sequel, especially done in the found footage style, threatens to cheapen the original. Just like Paranormal Activity 2 did, although PA3 redeemed the series somewhat. Let Last Exorcism stand on its own as a great self-contained movie. Please.
Current status: We haven't heard much about the possible sequel in ages — so maybe it's dead after all. The ending of this film obviously sets up a sequel, though, and when we interviewed the Brothers Strause, they seemed gung-ho to make one. And this universally reviled film did make money.
Stab stab ow: Maybe a sequel would pick up the weird twist ending from the first movie and take it in an interesting direction. But... probably not. Instead, it would probably be more of the same.
Indiana Jones 5
Current status: When he's not rebuffing grumpy Star Wars fans, George Lucas is promising that this film is coming soon. He said in a few interviews that he's looking for the "McGuffin" for this outing, and apparently Spielberg and Harrison Ford are both interested. And of course, Shia LaBoeuf will probably be back, too.
Stab stab ow: Given how much everybody hated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the abject horror that accompanies the prospect of yet another Indy is pretty much self-explanatory. No? Among other things, you have to assume a sequel would develop LaBoeuf's character of Mutt a lot further, and probably set up Mutt more obviously as the new hero of the Indy series. Which sounds... guh. But also, you can just tell that everybody's run out of enthusiasm for these films. Except maybe Lucas.