20 Unnecessary Movie Prequels That Missed the Mark

Bethany Quinn | Apr 24, 2019 Movies
20 Unnecessary Movie Prequels That Missed the Mark

Hugh Jackman and Levi Miller in Pan (2015)
Laurie Sparham/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Sometimes after watching a beloved film, we're left wanting more. More backstory. More interaction between our favorite characters. More drama. Just ... more. This is pretty much why binge-watching is such a thing now, right? We can't get enough. So when we learn that a movie we love is getting a prequel or a sequel, we rejoice. But sometimes, said prequel or follow-up is a complete and utter flop that leaves us feeling as if maybe less actually is more. After all, we have to admit, there's no replicating the magic of many of the classic films we know and love.

Sometimes it's just better to let those movies live on in their glory.

But Hollywood is a money-making machine, and film executives often hope to profit from new versions of films that were a hit. (That's where the prequels and sequels come in.) To put it mildly, these films aren't critically acclaimed movies. To put it a little less mildly, they're so bad, many people haven't even heard of them -- and several of them even went straight to DVD.

(Yikes.)

Considering that many of the original films are considered timeless classics, this is a pretty sad situation. Although not all follow-up films are bad (hello, The Godfather II), they generally have the reputation of leaving much to be desired. From horror movies to timeless classics, even a '90s teen smash, these 20 films are the prequels that never should have been made.

  • 'Prometheus'

    1

    Rated: R

    Although this film is technically a prequel to the classic Alien movie, it also aimed to set itself apart as a standalone film. But it didn't really work on both fronts, leaving audiences with more questions than before watching the film. But Michael Fassbender and Idris Elba did star in Prometheus, so we can at least give it that.

  • 'Dumb & Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd'

    2

    Rated: PG-13

    When Harry Met Lloyd is no When Harry Met Sally -- it's not even close. The film follows the Dumb and Dumber characters when they meet for the first time back in high school. Even fans of the comedy style from the original film will find this movie simply not funny. Despite its stellar cast -- including Shia LaBeouf, Rachel Nichols, Bob Saget, Mimi Rogers, and Eugene Levy -- the main characters just don't have the charisma of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, so the film falls flat.

  • 'Van Wilder: Freshman Year'

    3

    Rated: R

    This film went straight to DVD, which is a major sign that it's not great. Van Wilder: Freshman Year takes place during Van Wilder's freshman year and the same unfunny antics as the original. It stars Jonathan Bennett from Mean Girls, though we much prefer him in that role!

  • 'The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas'

    4

    Rated: PG

    The live-action Flinstones film from 1994 starred John Goodman and Rick Moranis and was an instant classic. This film, however, was not. Mark Addy and Stephen Baldwin gave it their best shot as Fred and Barney. The jokes were corny, and the plot was just so-so.

  • 'Exorcist: The Beginning'

    5

    Rated: R

    If something is considered iconic and changed the face of the horror movie genre forever, it's probably best to leave it alone. Yet, Hollywood thought that making an Exorcist prequel was something audiences needed.

    We didn't.

    Thirty years after the original, this sequel (starring Stellan Skarsgard) was made, and it doesn't reach the level of the classic at all.

  • 'The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior'

    6

    Rated: PG-13

    The second straight-to-DVD film on this list is a prequel to a prequel. The first Scorpion King was actually the prequel to The Mummy, with the titular character played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. In this film, we see his character as his younger self, but the the whole thing is just too played out to enjoy.

  • 'Butch and Sundance: The Early Days'

    7

    Rated: PG

    Again, another classic that should have been left alone. This prequel was made seven years after the original and stars Tom Berenger and William Katt as Butch and Sundance. The film doesn't have nearly as much charm as the original. Plus, there are so many holes in the plot.

  • 'Pan'

    8

    Rated: PG

    Although we hate to knock any film starring Hugh Jackman, this prequel to the classic tale is too over the top to be enjoyed. The performances are all right, but the special effects and story lose the enchantment of the original.

  • 'Cruel Intentions 2'

    9

    Rated: R

    Amy Adams takes on the role of Kathryn, previously played by Sarah Michelle Gellar. This film never made it to the big screen as it was originally intended for television, but it actually never made there, either. Cruel Intentions 2 can be found on DVD, but we think it will be a hard pass from us.

  • 'Psycho IV: The Beginning'

    10

    Rated: R

    This made-for-TV film stars some of the cast of the original Alfred Hitchcock film, including Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. It answers some questions about why Norman Bates turned out the way he did, but we think we'll just stick with the original.

  • 'From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman's Daughter'

    11

    Rated: R

    Perhaps producers were hoping to recreate the magic of the first film that eventually became a beloved cult classic. Unfortunately, From Dusk Till Dawn 3 flopped and never took off as an underground hit. We so wanted to love the prequel, but the writing just wasn't good, and the performances were subpar.

    Too bad!

  • 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning'

    12

    Rated: R

    This is a perfect example of a horror movie franchise not knowing when to call it quits. Although the original 1974 flick was a hit, the 2003 remake was pretty good. This 2006 prequel, however, was just too much. Too much information we didn't need, too much over-the-top gore, and an origin story that was just totally unnecessary.

  • 'Carlito's Way: Rise to Power'

    13

    Rated: R

    Straight to DVD might as well be straight to the garbage can. (Sorry, Diddy!) The original Carlito's Way was so, so good, but this one is just a joke. Sadly, Jay Hernandez's version of Carlito just looks like a poor imitation. Even Sean Combs and Mario Van Peebles couldn't stop this movie from tanking.

  • 'The Huntsman: Winter's War'

    14

    Rated: PG-13

    A Snow White prequel without Snow White is bound to fail. Even with powerhouse actors such as Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, and Jessica Chastain, The Huntsman: Winter's War is sadly disappointing. We wanted to love it, but there just wasn't enough for us to love! It even received a dismal 18 percent on Rotten Tomatoes's Tomatometer.

  • 'Oz the Great and Powerful'

    15

    Rated: PG

    Again, another stellar cast in a movie that bombed. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, James Franco, Michelle Williams, and Zach Braff star in this Wizard of Oz prequel that tells the story of the wizard and his rise to fame. The effects are quite nice, but it goes too far and totally removes the viewer from any realm of believability.

    We'd like to have Judy Garland back now, thanks!

  • 'Missing in Action 2: The Beginning'

    16

    Rated: R

    This prequel was filmed at the same time as the original and released just a year later in 1985. Even though Chuck Norris has his moments, the story is unbelievable and quite campy in parts. But hey, it was the '80s!

  • 'Hannibal Rising'

    17

    Rated: R

    As one of the greatest fictional villains of all time, playing Hannibal Lecter is certainly big shoes to fill. This film was actually the fifth installment of this series and provided viewers with a look into Lecter's twisted past. Unfortunately, the backstory was all shock for shock's sake and really did the famous character a huge disservice.

  • 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine'

    18

    Rated: PG-13

    Ugh, Hugh Jackman's second appearance on this list. We love Hugh, but this story was just too predictable. We get a look into Wolverine's dark and sad past, but even Jackman couldn't save this poorly written story from ending up on this list.

  • 'AVP: Alien vs. Predator'

    19

    Rated: PG-13

    This film seemed like a good idea in retrospect. It was a cool crossover between two very successful franchises. But even though it made a ton of money at the box office, it didn't really do much for either story. It was just a lot of gore and action with no substance.

  • 'Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace'

    20

    Rated: PG

    We have to admit, seeing a young Darth Vader was totally cool. But sadly, the performances left much to be desired, as did the story.

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