The Griswolds are set to make their long awaited return to theatres with the fifth installment of National Lampoon’s Vacation series. Vacation is the latest in a growing number of sequels released decades after the series' last film. While some scoff at the idea of resurrecting long dormant franchises, most moviegoers can't resist their sequels. In this summer alone, belated sequels have crushed box office records and received critical acclaim. To celebrate Vacation (and all the other movie sequels released this summer), here’s a look at five of the most notable long- delayed sequels
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mel Gibson’s Mad Max trilogy of films were a gloriously 80’s mix of post-apocalyptic terror, cool cars and brutal savagery. After giving the world the phrase “thunderdome”, the series appeared to die as director George Miller moved on to other projects. However, just as Mad Max had a penchant for survival, so too did his movie franchise. Miller purchased the rights to Mad Max in 1995 and labored for twenty years to make a fourth instalment. The result was Mad Max: Fury Road, a cinematic and visually stunning two-hour chase sequence. The movie was an unexpected smash hit, earning over $367 million in theatres and relaunching the franchise with Tom Hardy in the lead. Miller confirmed that a new set of Mad Max movies were on their way, starting with Mad Max: The Wasteland. I think I speak for everyone when I say “Oh, what a glorious day.”
The only surprising element about the fourth Jurassic Park film was the time it took Universal to make it. Universal’s plans for Jurassic World began in 2004, three years after Jurassic Park III hit theatres. The movie lingered in development hell for a decade as producers kicked around script after script. Thankfully, the studio finally settled on a plot, script, and director in 2013 and filmed the movie the following year. Jurassic World arrived in theatres on June 12 and wrecked box offices like the movie’s Indominus rex. The movie broke numerous records and currently sits as the third highest grossing movie of all time. And the best news of all? Fans of the movie won’t have to wait 13 more years for a sequel, as Universal announced that they’ll release a new Jurassic Park movie in 2018.
The first Tron movie was years before its time, a technical masterpiece that showcased computer generated imagery for a new generation of moviemakers and animators. John Lasseter, the head of Pixar, specifically mentioned Tron as his inspiration for pursuing a career in computer animation. Disney revisited the Tron franchise in 2005 and worked on a sequel for five years, bringing back original stars Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner in the process. Tron: Legacy debuted in 2010, 28 years after its predecessor. Visually stunning and featuring an amazing soundtrack by Daft Punk, Tron: Legacy received mixed reviews but earned enough to sway Disney into developing a sequel. Unfortunately, Disney devastated fans’ hopes by scrapping those plans just months before the third Tron film was to begin filming. It’s okay though, the Grid will live on in our hearts.
We’ve waited 32 years for a new Star Wars film, ever since Return of the Jedi debuted in theatres in 1983. It’s weird to believe that George Lucas never tried to make any more Star Wars movies after Return of the Jedi, but it’s okay, because they probably would have been terrible. Thank goodness, Disney is going to rectify this with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which IS DEFINITELY THE FIRST STAR WARS MOVIE TO COME OUT IN OVER 30 YEARS.
Okay, so maybe Star Wars fans didn’t have to wait 30 years for a new movie. Though they probably wish that they did. In reality, they only waited 16 years because Lucas wanted a movie trilogy about the rise of Darth Vader and the fall of the Jedi. Unfortunately, the prequel movies weren’t well received by fans because they relied too heavily on CGI and featured silly elements like Jar Jar Binks, who single-handedly brought about the end of the Republic, and a prepubescent Anakin Skywalker hitting on the actual queen of a planet. And that’s why Star Wars fans endured a 10 year gap between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Disney’s upcoming trilogy set after the end of Return of the Jedi.
Sin City is probably the closest we’ve ever came to a moving comic book. Gritty, cinematic and filled with shots pulled straight from the page, Sin City was a faithful adaptation of three of Frank Miller’s noir crime thriller comics. The movie earned over $158 million in the box office, leading director Robert Rodriguez to immediately announce a planned sequel, titled A Dame to Kill For. Miller and Rodriguez toiled on the script for nearly eight years on the movie before officially starting production in late 2012. A Dame to Kill For debuted in August 2014, but flopped in theatres, earning only $39 million. Looks like black and white lightning doesn’t hit twice.
What are some of your favorite long-awaited sequels? Let us know in the comments!