Sequels that made fans wait the longest
When a movie captures a viewer’s heart, there’s nothing better than finding out that the story and characters will continue in a sequel; film sequels can feel like reuniting with old friends. Sequels offer a chance to recapture the magic of the original film and continue the story in a new and interesting way. However, watching a sequel that took too long to produce can feel like unearthing an artifact from lost time. Fans can handle a few years in between releases, but waiting periods of more than a decade can lead to a whole lot of confusion. Who was that guy again? How did the original end?
Stacker’s list documents the sequels that made fans wait the longest. Using data from a Wikipedia source, the films were ranked according to waiting periods between their original and sequel release. Direct-to-video sequels are included in this list. However, at least one film in each pairing had to have had a true theatrical release to qualify.
Read on to discover the Disney film that waited over six decades to continue its story and which beloved Christmas movie went nearly three decades before its follow-up was released.
Click here to see original movies that were better than their sequels.
#50. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Original release date: May 24, 1989
Sequel release date: May 22, 2008
Total time lapsed: 18 years, 364 days
The last film of the original Indiana Jones franchise had Harrison Ford teaming up with Sean Connery as his father. The film features the pair fighting the Nazis to prevent them from getting the Holy Grail. Nineteen years later, Indy returned for a new adventure with director Steven Spielberg and co-star Shia LaBeouf. This time, the plot revolves around Soviets trying to get their hands on legendary skulls made out of crystal. The Indiana Jones films have developed such a strong following that the first new movie in 19 years was a success big enough to earn a debut at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2008.
#49. Rambo – Rambo III
Original release date: May 25, 1988
Sequel release date: Jan. 25, 2008
Total time lapsed: 19 years, 245 days
With both Rocky and Rambo, Sylvester Stallone became famous for playing iconic American heroes that earned sequel after sequel. The third "Rambo" film of the 1980s had the Vietnam vet trekking to Afghanistan to rescue a military friend from Soviet invaders. In 2008, Stallone returned as Rambo, as well as serving as director and co-writer, in another rescue mission—this time saving a group of Christian missionaries in Burma.
#48. Dumb and Dumber – Dumb and Dumber To
Original release date: Dec. 16, 1994
Sequel release date: Nov. 14, 2014
Total time lapsed: 19 years, 333 days
When "Dumb and Dumber" came out, Jim Carrey was one of the biggest comedy stars in the world, having just found a surprise box office hit with “Ace Ventura.” Jeff Daniels starred with Carrey as two morons trying to find love, and the film earned almost $250 million in worldwide box office receipts from just a $17 million budget. The sequel, "Dumb and Dumber To," brought back Carrey and Daniels for more misadventures as the intellectually challenged duo hit the road to find a long-lost daughter. While profitable, the second film lags far behind the original in tickets sold.
#47. Day of the Dead – Land of the Dead
Original release date: July 19, 1985
Sequel release date: June 24, 2005
Total time lapsed: 19 years, 340 days
Horror master George A. Romero struck gory gold in 1978 with zombie apocalypse film "Dawn of the Dead." He followed that up in 1985 with "Day of the Dead," which was about military officers trying to escape the zombie hordes in an underground bunker. Fans of the undead had to wait almost 20 years for the follow-up, "Land of the Dead," which kicked off a sequel trilogy that included "Diary of the Dead" and then "Survival of the Dead." Romero wrote and directed all five films.
#46. Independence Day – Independence Day: Resurgence
Original release date: July 2, 1996
Sequel release date: June 24, 2016
Total time lapsed: 19 years, 358 days
Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum starred in this patriotic film about aliens who attempt to take over Earth in "Independence Day." The film set box office records and fans waited nearly two decades for the sequel. When "Independence Day: Resurgence" premiered in 2016, hardcore fans of the first film were thrilled to see Pullman and Goldblum in their original roles, with Liam Hemsworth taking on the new lead part. The sequel did well at the box office, earning over double its production budget.
#45. The Lost Boys – Lost Boys: The Tribe
Original release date: July 31, 1987
Sequel release date: July 29, 2008
Total time lapsed: 20 years, 364 days
Teenagers flocked to the multiplex to see this fantasy story of a group of teenage vampires recruiting a new member to their ranks. Jason Patric, Kiefer Sutherland, and both 1980s Coreys (Haim and Feldman) starred in the popular film that has remained a hit with both critics and audiences alike. The 2008 follow-up introduces a new set of siblings moving to a town with a secret group of vampires, but now there’s a vampire hunter on their tracks. Sutherland’s half-brother Angus landed a starring role in the sequel, and “Lost Boys: The Tribe” led to a sequel of its own, called "Lost Boys: The Thirst."
#44. The Freshman – The Sin of Harold Diddlebock
Original release date: Sept. 20, 1925
Sequel release date: April 4, 1947
Total time lapsed: 21 years, 196 days
The oldest film to make this list, "The Freshman" featured early film star Harold Lloyd as a college freshman trying to become popular by joining the school’s football team. Famed director Preston Sturges continued the story in 1947 as "The Sin of Harold Diddlebock" with Lloyd again playing the same part, but this time as a 45 year old experiencing a midlife crisis. The film was pulled from its release, retooled by Howard Hughes, and re-released in 1950 as “Mad Wednesday.”
#43. Carrie – The Rage: Carrie 2
Original release date: Nov. 3, 1976
Sequel release date: March 12, 1999
Total time lapsed: 22 years, 129 days
Brian De Palma made one of the most important films of his career with "Carrie." Adapted from Stephen King’s novel, the high school horror film tracks an unpopular girl who uses her telekinetic powers for evil after being humiliated at school. Both Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were nominated for Oscars for their parts in the film. Just over two decades later, "The Rage: Carrie 2" came out in theaters and performed terribly. While girls with telekinetic powers and rage issues are links between the two films, the other major connection is Amy Irving, who plays the same character in both pictures.
#42. Wall Street – Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Original release date: Dec. 11, 1987
Sequel release date: September 24, 2010
Total time lapsed: 22 years, 287 days
“Greed is good,” or so Oliver Stone’s "Wall Street" would have audiences believe. The original starred Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen as big-shot stockbrokers trying to get rich in the 1980s junk-bond business. Douglas won an Academy Award for his work as Gordon Gekko and came back in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" in the same role—this time mentoring Shia LaBeouf as his daughter’s fiancé amidst the 2008 financial crisis.
#41. Psycho – Psycho II
Original release date: June 16, 1960
Sequel release date: June 3, 1983
Total time lapsed: 22 years, 352 days
Alfred Hitchcock’s "Psycho" is a classic of the horror genre. The main character is a deranged man who traps a woman in his secluded motel. Anthony Perkins starred as the creepy motelier in the original and returned as Norman Bates in "Psycho II" after Bates is released from a mental institution and tries to resume his life at the Bates Motel. The sequel did well enough that Perkins stayed on board as Norman Bates for the next two sequels, even serving as the director of "Psycho III."2018 All rights reserved.