The Comedy Sequel and Reboot Tolerability Scale
It seems like there’s an announcement about a new sequel or remake every day, with pretty much every successful movie you can think of at one point being developed as a potential franchise. In just the past two weeks alone, news about sequels to Mrs. Doubtfire and Goonies and reboots of Police Academy and Gremlins has hit the internet. With comedy, sequels and reboots are especially tricky, and you can count the number of good ones on one hand, but that doesn’t stop studios from buying them in bulk.
Since updates about sequels and reboots to beloved (and non-beloved) comedies trickling in nonstop, it can be hard to keep track of all of them. We gathered them all up for our Comedy Sequel and Reboot Tolerability Scale, ranking everything in the categorizes Good Ideas, Sure Why Not?, If You Must, Don’t Do That, and Nightmares:
While there haven’t been very many good comedy sequels in the past, there are a surprising number of promising ones in development or, in the cases of 22 Jump Street and Pitch Perfect 2, ones that have already been filmed/are filming now. Most of the below sequels are retaining the creative teams from their original movie, an essential move for a strong sequel. Follow-ups to MacGruber, 21 Jump Street, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, and Wet Hot American Summer are in the trusted hands of the people that made the originals good in the first place, which is always nice to see.
22 Jump Street
Another Alan Partridge movie
The Lego Movie 2
Pitch Perfect 2
A Wet Hot American Summer sequel or prequel
Sure, Why Not?
The stakes are low for the below sequels, as most of them don’t come from beloved properties that are sure to incite internet outrage if they’re mistreated, unlike, say, Ghostbusters or Star Wars. In the case of the Key & Peele-produced Police Academy reboot, and Tom Lennon and Ben Garant’s comedic big-screen take on cheesy ’90s lifeguard soap Baywatch, the remakes could actually end up being more popular than the original. Gremlins and Weird Science are good films to remake as they don’t quite have the devoted fanbase that a lot of other movies from that era have and don’t contain any iconic performances that would be hard to replicate.
If You Must
Either sequels to well-liked comedies that could go either way (Dumb and Dumber To, a Jason Sudeikis-led Fletch reboot) or obligatory, uninspired sequels to anything recent that makes over $100 million at the box office (Ride Along 2, We’re the Millers 2), the movies in this category are in the middle of the sequel spectrum. Sure, Bad Teacher, Horrible Bosses, and We’re the Millers were hits, proving to be surprisingly popular, but is anyone clamoring for another one?
Don’t Do That
If it’s been over a decade since the last movie in a franchise, a sequel probably isn’t a good idea, especially if it’s a movie or series that’s well-liked. These are sequels to popular ’80s/’90s comedies should probably just be left alone, especially in the case of the Vacation and Naked Gun reboots, which will both be replacing the original star with a new actor —usually a dodgy prospect. Sequels to most of these older movies have been in development for years (on and off since the mid ’90s in Beverly Hills Cop IV‘s case), meaning that they’ve likely hit various snags and problems already, which doesn’t exactly bode well.
Long-gestating Ghostbusters III is the only movie in this section that’s not a big-screen reboot of a cheesy outdated TV show or movie that the public has lost interest in. Bill Murray-less Ghostbusters III‘s prospects became extra shaky this year as the studio announced plans to push ahead with the project in the wake of original star/co-writer Harold Ramis’s death, original director Ivan Reitman stepped down, and reboot/adaptation wunderkinds Phil Lord and Chris Miller turned down the job. Ghostbusters should be left in the past out of respect for the original, and ALF, Gilligan’s Island, Twins, and Ernest should be left in the past because it doesn’t make much sense to bring them back.