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The 20 Biggest Box-Office Drop-Offs Between an Original Movie and Its Sequel

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | August 5, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Box Office Round-Ups | August 5, 2012 |

For the third week in a row, The Dark Knight Rises took the top spot at the box office, adding $36 million to bring its total since release to $354 million. That’s a good number, but the final Nolan Batman film is clearly showing signs of stalling at the box office, and the prospects of it approaching the $533 million of its predecessor are looking dim. In fact, I expect it’ll fall around $100 million short, and while it’s hard to call any movie that makes over $400 million a disappointment, The Dark Knight Rises won’t be the record breaking we were all expecting. The Avengers’ $616 million must have sucked all the air out of the box office.

The Total Recall remake, meanwhile, arrived with a thud. Despite opening twenty-two years after the original, and despite opening on 1500 more screens, the opening weekend of Len Wiseman’s Total Recall looked very similar to Paul Verhoeven’s: $26 million to $25.5 million. Of course, $25.5 million in 1990 was a huge deal. In 2012, it’s disappointing. Schwarzenegger’s film went on to make $119 million, but Wiseman’s will likely have a difficult time breaking $60 million.

The other wide opener was the preteen flick, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, the third in the series. It opened with $14 million, which is about two-thirds of what the previous two installments opened with. The profitable franchise is clearly running out of steam.

It does bring me to this week’s box-office list, however. With Diary running out of steam, and Ice Age: Continental Drift arriving with a dismal thud earlier this year, it got me thinking about sequels that bombed. I wanted to know what was the biggest negative differential between the original movie, and the sequel? Initially, I’d included all sequels, but the $100 million drop-offs between second and third Matrix and Shrek movies didn’t feel like they could actually be classified as bombs, since they made enough money to make those films profitable (likewise, The Dark Knight Rises). The number two film on this list also sticks out like a sore thumb as the only first sequel to make $100 million less than original and still be considered one of the biggest box-office hits in history (and if I separated the two trilogies, Attack of the Clones would also qualify). I might note that the number one film on this list is a bit of an odd duck, too, since the $202 million includes several releases over the course of the film’s lifetime.

Again, for the sake of ease,, I’ve included only first sequels, and while I spent a couple of hours researching this, there’s certainly a possibility that I forgot one. I’m sure you’ll all let me know in the comments if that’s the case.

The 20 Biggest Box-Office Drop-Offs Between an Original Movie and Its Sequel (The number in parenthesis is how much less the sequel made than the original).

1. Exorcist II: The Heretic — ($202 million)

2. The Empire Strikes Back — ($170 million)

3. The Sting II — ($150 million)

4. Evan Almighty — ($142 million)

5. Happy Feet Too — ($134 million)

6. Grease 2 — ($128 million)

7. The Lost World: Jurassic Park — ($128 million)

8. U.S. Marshals — ($126 million)

9. xXx: State of the Union — ($116 million)

10. Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 — ($114 million)

11. Basic Instinct 2 — ($111 million)

12. Son of the Mask — ($102 million)

13. Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd — ($101 million)

14. More American Graffiti — ($100 million)

15. The Godfather: Part II ($84 million)

16. Analyze That — ($74 million)

17. Speed 2: Cruise Control — ($73 million)

18. Honey I Blew Up the Kids — ($72 million)

19. Graffiti Bridge — ($64 million)

20. The Ring 2 — ($56 million)