When a movie captures a viewer's heart, there's nothing better than discovering the story and characters will continue in a sequel. For most movie aficionados, a sequel can feel like reuniting with old friends. These second or third installments in a franchise offer a chance to recapture the magic of the original film and continue the story in a new and interesting way. This explains why sequels often make so much money at the box office—fans are paying to be taken back to a moment in time or a world that holds so much nostalgia for them—and why so many studios see them as easy fodder.
However, watching a sequel that took too long to produce can feel like unearthing an artifact from a 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? Why did I love this so much the first time around?
Stacker did its own research into the history of sequels to compile the most definitive list of sequels that made fans wait the longest, using this Wikipedia list as a launching pad. The films were ranked according to waiting periods between their original (or most recent, if part of a larger series) 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.
So read on to discover the Disney film that waited over six decades to continue its story, which beloved Christmas movie went nearly three decades before its follow-up was released, and which horror franchise has been spooking audiences the longest. Who knows, you may even discover a sequel you never even knew existed.
Click here to see original movies that were better than their sequels.
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- Last 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 and served as director and co-writer in another rescue mission—this time saving a group of Christian missionaries in Burma.
- Last 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 the 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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."
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- 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.
- Original release date: Dec. 11, 1987
- Sequel release date: Sept. 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.
- 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."
- Original release date: Aug. 20, 1993
- Sequel release date: Sept. 6, 2016
- Total time lapsed: 23 years, 17 days
In the prime of his career, Jean-Claude Van Damme did a plethora of movies like "Hard Target." This one, with Van Damme in full mullet, stars the Muscles from Brussels as an out-of-work Cajun fisherman who helps a woman search for her father. Later, he gets caught up in a deadly plot where homeless men are hunted for sport. Reviews were not kind to Van Damme's acting. In "Hard Target 2," the only connection to the first movie is a common thread of humans hunting other humans for sport. For this version, it's a mixed martial arts fighter who flies to Myanmar for a fight—only to discover he's to become prey for the hunt.
- Original release date: June 29, 1984
- Sequel release date: March 11, 2008
- Total time lapsed: 23 years, 256 days
"Bachelor Party" came with a simple premise: a wild guy enjoys one last weekend of freedom when his friends throw him a crazy bachelor party. Tom Hanks starred as the bachelor in the original film, but he didn't return for the sequel, which features a very similar storyline. "Bachelor Party 2: The Last Temptation" was made via the HBO TV series "Project Greenlight" and featured TV star Josh Cooke as the bachelor of the title. However, the audience response was dismal.
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- Original release date: Sept. 25, 1961
- Sequel release date: Oct. 17, 1986
- Total time lapsed: 25 years, 22 days
Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason were both Oscar-nominated for their roles in "The Hustler"—the film garnered nine nominations overall with two victories. Newman plays a small-time pool shark who's looking to play with the big boys. He reprised his role alongside Tom Cruise in 1986 with "The Color of Money." In the sequel, Newman's character served as the mentor to Cruise's protege. The film earned Newman the Oscar. Both "The Hustler" and "The Color of Money" were based on novels written by Walter Tevis.
- Original release date: Feb. 25, 1977
- Sequel release date: March 26, 2002
- Total time lapsed: 25 years, 29 days
Hockey fans fell in love with 1977's "Slap Shot," the hilarious story of a minor league hockey team that resorts to violence with Paul Newman as the player-coach. Twenty-five years later, "Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice" attempted to rekindle the magic, but failed with Stephen Baldwin stepping into role of the new player-coach. While the popular Hanson brothers appear in both films, movie fans disappeared the second time around.
- Original release date: June 19, 1961
- Sequel release date: July 26, 1986
- Total time lapsed: 25 years, 37 days
Hayley Mills appears as separated twins Sharon and Susan in both the original "The Parent Trap" and the made-for-TV sequel "The Parent Trap II." In the original, the twins are split up shortly after birth and reunited at summer camp when they're 12 years old. The sequel has Mills playing the parts as adults 25 years later. The film was a Disney Channel hit, spawning two more made-for-TV sequels. A remake of the original film, starring Lindsay Lohan, was a success when it came out in 1998.
- Original release date: June 3, 1983
- Sequel release date: July 29, 2008
- Total time lapsed: 25 years, 56 days
The idea of a computer hacker causing international conflicts and nuclear war was pure fantasy in 1983 when "WarGames" came out. Matthew Broderick starred as the teenage hacker in the first film just before he assumed the role of Ferris Bueller. "WarGames: The Dead Code" treads familiar territory, but is updated for the modern internet age. The sequel sees a teenage hacker play an online game that triggers the Department of Homeland Security to hunt him down. The sequel went directly to DVD release and didn't win many fans.
- Original release date: July 4, 1963
- Sequel release date: Nov. 06, 1988
- Total time lapsed: 25 years, 125 days
One of the most revered war films of all time, "The Great Escape" told the story of a group of allied prisoners-of-war who formulate a plan to break out of their Nazi prison camp. Steve McQueen, Richard Attenborough, and James Garner are just a few of the big stars who appear in the original. Twenty-five years later, "The Great Escape II: The Untold Story" hit television sets in 1988 as a non-traditional sequel. Instead of telling a new tale, the 1980s version retold the original with actual facts from the story that were fictionalized the first time around. The star power remained with Christopher Reeve, Judd Hirsch, and Ian McShane playing parts.
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- Original release date: Dec. 21, 1990
- Sequel release date: May 17, 2016
- Total time lapsed: 25 years, 148 days
Arnold Schwarzenegger had movie fans saying "It's not a tumor!" after his role as an undercover FBI agent turned kindergarten teacher in "Kindergarten Cop." The film became a smash hit and grossed more than $200 million worldwide. "Kindergarten Cop 2" wasn't nearly as lucky. The sequel starred Dolph Lundgren as an undercover FBI agent who finds his school's political correctness more than he can handle. The sequel went straight to DVD.
- Original release date: July 10, 1981
- Sequel release date: Dec. 12, 2006
- Total time lapsed: 25 years, 155 days
By 1981, Disney had long established itself as one of the premiere animated film studios in the world, and "The Fox and the Hound" fulfilled that legacy with a story about two childhood friends confronting their biological natures. Kurt Russell and Mickey Rooney provided voices for the main characters. Its sequel, "The Fox and the Hound 2," went straight to video. The sequel also featured celebrity voice talents Reba McEntire and Patrick Swayze doing the honors as two new characters.
- Original release date: Dec. 28, 1935
- Sequel release date: July 27, 1962
- Total time lapsed: 26 years, 211 days
"Captain Blood" is a swashbuckling epic based on the 1922 novel of the same name. Errol Flynn starred as an Irish doctor enslaved in the West Indies who escapes and becomes a pirate. The 1962 sequel took Flynn's real-life son and popped him into the role of Robert Blood, the son of the original film's main character. In the sequel, Blood gets captured on the high seas but ends up taking control of the pirate ship via mutiny. "The Son of Captain Blood" was released in the U.S. on a double bill with "The Patsy," but was critiqued harshly in a New York Times review, which referred to the younger Flynn as "callow as a gosling."
- Original release date: June 14, 1973
- Sequel release date: June 16, 2000
- Total time lapsed: 27 years, 2 days
Richard Roundtree was a bad mother—(shut yo' mouth) in the original "Shaft" trilogy. The third film in the cycle, "Shaft in Africa," takes the titular private detective to Africa to break up a human trafficking ring. In 2000, "Shaft" rebooted the franchise with Samuel L. Jackson playing Shaft's nephew, a detective in New York who is out for justice. Nineteen years later, another sequel starring Jessie Usher is set to be released, making it almost 50 years between the first and last "Shaft" films.
- Original release date: Dec. 20, 1967
- Sequel release date: April 27, 1995
- Total time lapsed: 27 years, 102 days
This original spy thriller starred Michael Caine and Karl Malden. "Billion Dollar Brain" is a story about a plot to topple communism with the help of a powerful computer. The 1995 TV movie sequel, "Bullet to Beijing," brought Caine back to his role as a former British spy. In the sequel, he's charged with stopping North Korea from getting its hands on a deadly super-virus. The made-for-TV movie proved successful enough to spawn its own sequel, "Midnight in Saint Petersburg."
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- Original release date: July 22, 1988
- Sequel release date: March 18, 2016
- Total time lapsed: 27 years, 240 days
Paul Reubens made a name for himself as the perpetual child Pee-wee Herman in his 1980s film "Big Top Pee-wee." The film features a man-child dealing with an extramarital crush when the circus comes to town. Almost 28 years later, Reubens returns as the character on film for the first time since his big scandal in a story about Pee-Wee taking his first vacation ever. The Netflix movie did well with both critics and audiences alike.
- Original release date: June 15, 1966
- Sequel release date: June 3, 1994
- Total time lapsed: 27 years, 353 days
Surfers have revered "The Endless Summer" since its release in 1966. The movie is a documentary depicting a crew of young wave chasers traveling the globe in search of the perfect wave. It's been called the most influential surf movie ever and in 2002, it made its way to the National Film Registry. Director Bruce Brown returns to the ocean in "The Endless Summer II," which features a new group of surfers retracing the steps of the initial journey and cameos from many of the same people from the first documentary.
- Original release date: April 23, 1982
- Sequel release date: July 31, 2010
- Total time lapsed: 28 years, 99 days
This early 1980s fantasy film tracks a mercenary swordsman who teams up with a princess to fight an evil ruler and his sorcerer partner. The updated sequel, "Tales of an Ancient Empire" comes from director Albert Pyun, who also led the original. The sequel takes viewers back to the original fantasy world, and features a princess trying to unite the top five warriors in her quest to defeat a vampire sorceress. Kevin Sorbo of "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" fame stars as one of the warriors.
- Original release date: Oct. 29, 1967
- Sequel release date: April 7, 1996
- Total time lapsed: 28 years, 161 days
Sidney Poitier played an inner-city teacher in "To Sir, with Love," in contrast to his 1955 role in "Blackboard Jungle" where he plays a troubled student. When the sequel came out 28 years later, Poitier reprised his role as Mark Thackeray, a retiree who goes back to work on Chicago's South Side. The made-for-TV story was helmed by noted director Peter Bogdanovich.
- Original release date: July 9, 1982
- Sequel release date: Dec. 17, 2010
- Total time lapsed: 28 years, 162 days
"TRON" was ahead of its time in 1982 with a fascinating science fiction story about a hacker who gets trapped inside a computer. Jeff Bridges starred as the hacker and came back for the big-budget "TRON: Legacy," where his son goes looking for him inside the program that abducted him. The sequel was a much bigger box office success, making over five times the amount of the original.
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- Original release date: Nov. 18, 1983
- Sequel release date: Oct. 30, 2012
- Total time lapsed: 28 years, 347 days
Nostalgia ruled the day in 1983's "A Christmas Story," where a child endures all kinds of tribulations during a 1950s Christmas holiday. "A Christmas Story 2" came out 28 years later but sets the story only five years in the future as Ralphie is now fixated on getting a car. While the straight-to-DVD release didn't find many fans, a non-traditional 1994 sequel with the Parker family spending the summer together called, "It Runs in the Family," starring Charles Grodin, Mary Steenburgen, and Kieran Culkin, did nominally better.
- Last release date: July 19, 1991
- Sequel release date: August 28, 2020
- Total time lapsed: 29 years, 40 days
After the first two installments of the Bill & Ted franchise ("Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" and "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey") proved unexpectedly popular, Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves pushed for a third film to round out their characters' stories. While a script was completed shortly thereafter, there were issues finding a distributor, and the whole project was shelved. Eventually, United Artists Releasing signed on, and "Bill & Ted Face the Music," about two middle-aged dads who release a hit song that saves the world, debuted to generally positive reviews from critics and audiences.
- Original release date: June 25, 1982
- Sequel release date: Oct. 14, 2011
- Total time lapsed: 29 years, 111 days
"Halloween" director John Carpenter was already a horror legend by the time he directed Kurt Russell in "The Thing" as part of an Antarctic crew dealing with a mysterious murdering entity. Carpenter wasn't involved in the 2011 prequel, which shows the events before the 1982 film featuring a crew of scientists who discover an alien life-form buried beneath the South Pole. The latest "The Thing" film was a box office failure, never recouping its $38 million budget.
- Original release date: Dec. 10, 1962
- Sequel release date: May 8, 1992
- Total time lapsed: 29 years, 150 days
Nearly 30 years after the original, "A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia" gave Ralph Fiennes his first film role in this made-for-TV movie as T.E. Lawrence. Peter O'Toole had starred in the original "Lawrence of Arabia" as an English officer who united disparate Arab tribes during World War I. The progenitor won seven Oscars in 1963, including Best Picture and Best Director. The follow-up TV film also had award success as it took home the International Emmy for Best Drama in 1992.
- Last release date: July 10, 1985
- Sequel release date: May 15, 2015
- Total time lapsed: 29 years, 309 days
Mel Gibson became an international movie star after starring in the original "Mad Max" trilogy where he played a cop in a futuristic desert world. Tom Hardy replaces Gibson in the sequel "Mad Max: Fury Road," which returns viewers to the desolate future and shows Max as a captive blood donor. George Miller, the creator of the series, returned as director for the newest sequel, which became the highest-grossing film of the entire franchise.
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- Original release date: May 2, 1968
- Sequel release date: April 10, 1998
- Total time lapsed: 29 years, 343 days
Playwright legend Neil Simon adapted his hit play to the screen for 1968's "The Odd Couple," where Felix and Oscar, two friends on opposite sides of the cleanliness spectrum, share an apartment. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau starred in the original and reprised their roles in 1998's "The Odd Couple II." The sequel takes Felix and Oscar on the road to the wedding of their respective son and daughter. Lemmon and Matthau had also teamed up in a similar fashion for the two films of the hit '90s movie series "Grumpy Old Men."
- Original release date: March 1, 1973
- Sequel release date: March 18, 2003
- Total time lapsed: 30 years, 17 days
The film version of "Charlotte's Web" brought E.B. White's heartwarming story of the friendship between a pig and a spider to life in the animated 1973 classic. Thirty years later, "Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure" came out as the low-budget sequel where Wilbur takes care of Charlotte's daughters and protects a young lamb. TV Guide panned the direct-to-DVD sequel with a one-star review.
- Original release date: May 23, 1980
- Sequel release date: Nov. 8, 2019
- Total time lapsed: 30 years, 169 days
Author Stephen King was the main reason fans had to wait almost 40 years for a sequel to the horror classic "The Shining." It took King until 2011 to begin working on a follow-up to his 1977 novel, then an additional two years to complete it, then six years (after the success of "It: Chapter One") for studios to believe it could be a box office success. The movie, a hit with fans, follows an adult Danny Torrance as he makes it a personal mission to protect a young girl with similar powers from being exploited by a cult.
- Original release date: March 28, 1963
- Sequel release date: March 14, 1994
- Total time lapsed: 30 years, 351 days
Alfred Hitchcock terrified audiences with his 1963 masterpiece "The Birds," the story of angry birds who start attacking people in a small Northern California town. The film impressed Academy Awards voters who rewarded it with an Oscar nomination for Best Special Effects. However, the sequel "The Birds II: Land's End" wasn't as adored. In fact, the director was so ashamed of his work that he pulled his name off the film and had it released under the infamous pseudonym "Alan Smithee."
- Last release date: May 25, 1983
- Sequel release date: Dec. 18, 2015
- Total time lapsed: 32 years, 207 days
The "Star Wars" franchise is difficult to keep track of in terms of sequels because a series of prequels released in 1999 made the 1970s Star Wars films the first literal sequels. That notwithstanding, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is the narrative sequel to "Return of the Jedi," with new characters searching for Luke Skywalker as original characters like Princess Leia and Han Solo try to aid the rebel forces against the Empire. Both the original films and the new sequel trilogy have been immensely successful, taking in billions of dollars collectively at the box office.
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- Original release date: Dec. 14, 1944
- Sequel release date: July 19, 1978
- Total time lapsed: 33 years, 217 days
Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney starred in 1944's "National Velvet," about a young girl named Velvet who enters one of England's biggest horse competitions. The film went on to win two Oscars in 1946. Its sequel, "International Velvet," took the equestrian themes of the original and updated them with a story about Velvet's niece (Tatum O'Neal), who dreams of becoming an Olympic champion. The second film failed to place at any of the major awards shows.
- Original release date: Oct. 3, 1941
- Sequel release date: Dec. 25, 1975
- Total time lapsed: 34 years, 83 days
"The Maltese Falcon" featured Humphrey Bogart as a private detective trying to sort out the truth surrounding a jewel-encrusted falcon. Roger Ebert named it as part of his "Great Movies" series. "The Black Bird" took a totally different tact as a comedic sequel that starred George Segal as the son of Bogart's character; The New York Times review for the sequel was not kind.
- Original release date: Oct.18, 1967
- Sequel release date: Feb. 14, 2003
- Total time lapsed: 35 years, 119 days
Disney's animated adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" introduced fans to Mowgli, a feral boy who is prodded to join human civilization. In the 2003 sequel, "The Jungle Book 2," Mowgli returns to the jungle to join his old friends. The sequel includes movie stars like John Goodman, Haley Joel Osment, and Tony Jay.
- Original release date: Dec. 1, 1973
- Sequel release date: July 19, 2011
- Total time lapsed: 37 years, 222 days
1973's "The Wicker Man" is a British horror film from director Robin Hardy. The movie follows a Christian police detective sent to investigate a missing young girl on a remote island. He soon discovers the island inhabitants have converted to a form of Celtic paganism. The original movie was critically acclaimed and a full remake was made in 2004 starring Nicolas Cage as the detective. However, the sequel to the original was released in 2011 and featured a pair of unsuspecting evangelical Americans who are lured to Scotland.
- Original release date: July 6, 1963
- Sequel release date: March 31, 2002
- Total time lapsed: 38 years, 268 days
The poster billed it as, "Nothing so appalling in the annals of horror!" and "Blood Feast" lives up to the quote as an Egyptian caterer murders women in Miami in hopes of bringing an ancient goddess back to life. The film was a huge financial success with $4 million dollars in revenue for just a $24,000 budget. The sequel, "Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat," hit DVD stores 38 years later and featured a similar storyline with a more tongue-in-cheek tone than the original.
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- Original release date: Jan. 25, 1961
- Sequel release date: Jan. 21, 2003
- Total time lapsed: 41 years, 361 days
There can never be too many puppies, as evidenced by 1961's "One Hundred and One Dalmatians," which is close to the billion-dollar mark in total box office sales when adjusted for inflation. While a live-action reboot in 1996 led to 2000's "102 Dalmatians," the true sequel to the animated original is "101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London," the story of one self-pitying Dalmatian who winds up on a "Home Alone"-esque journey when he's left behind on moving day. The direct-to-video film also features Barry Bostwick and "Seinfeld" star Jason Alexander.
- Original release date: July 14, 1969
- Sequel release date: Feb. 25, 2012
- Total time lapsed: 43 years, 140 days
Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper made the motorcycle life look cool in their 1969 counterculture classic "Easy Rider." In 2012, "Easy Rider: The Ride Back" was released with no professional support and no interaction with the actors or crew of the original film. The story focuses on the family history of Fonda's character from the first film. Apparently, the sequel's rights had been purchased by a filmmaking amateur who devoted his life to the franchise and the results were less-than-stellar.
- Original release date: June 22, 1955
- Sequel release date: Feb. 27, 2001
- Total time lapsed: 45 years, 250 days
The famous spaghetti-sharing scene is just one reason why "Lady and the Tramp," a romantic story of two star-crossed canine lovers, has soared to a half-billion dollars in box office receipts. Disney's direct-to-video sequel focused on Scamp, the son of Lady and the Tramp, who wants to find freedom and joins a group of junkyard dogs. Scott Wolf and Alyssa Milano provide the lead voices for the film while the voice of "The Little Mermaid," Jodi Benson, takes over vocal duties as Lady.
- Original release date: Aug. 25, 1939
- Sequel release date: June 21, 1985
- Total time lapsed: 45 years, 300 days
"The Wizard of Oz" hit movie theaters in the summer of 1939, and instantly became a massive hit. The film, featuring a girl whisked away to a magical land during a twister, earned a best picture nomination at the Academy Awards. While the story had been adapted to a more urban audience with "The Wiz" in 1978, a true sequel didn't emerge until 45 years after the original. "Return to Oz" picks up the story six months after the events of the first film, with Dorothy returning to Oz to fight a malevolent king.
- Original release date: Feb. 5, 1953
- Sequel release date: Feb. 15, 2002
- Total time lapsed: 49 years, 10 days
"Peter Pan" flew off to Never Land in 1953 and didn't look back until 2002 when he returned to the island in "Peter Pan II: Return to Never Land." In the sequel the boy who refused to grow up has to return to Never Land during World War II when Wendy's daughter is kidnapped. The original Disney film was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival and has made over $417 million, adjusted for inflation, in box office receipts, but the sequel hasn't fared quite as well. Released into movie theaters and then on home video, "Return to Never Land" has taken in close to $110 million in box office sales.
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- Original release date: March 4, 1950
- Sequel release date: Feb. 23, 2002
- Total time lapsed: 51 years, 356 days
In 1950, "Cinderella" captured the hearts of millions of little girls who dreamed of turning into princesses. The story of a girl who wins the heart of a prince with the help of her fairy godmother became the sixth highest-grossing film of 1950. More than five decades later, Disney released the direct-to-DVD sequel, "Cinderella II: Dreams Come True," which featured characters from the original film in three new stories. Critical reception was tepid, but the sequel made $120 million in sales.
- Original release date: August 27, 1964
- Sequel release date: Dec. 19, 2018
- Total time lapsed: 54 years, 113 days
Julie Andrews' 1964 version of "Mary Poppins" was the crown jewel of Disney's live-action catalog–earning five Academy Awards and grossing (an adjusted) $250 million at the domestic box office– but it's no secret that P.L. Travers, the story's author, hated the movie. It wasn't until after she died, and Disney could work with her estate rather than the woman herself, that a sequel finally got the green light. Unfortunately for the studio, while the movie performed well at the box office, it didn't hold quite the same magic for fans, and there's been no rush to release a third installment.
- Original release date: June 25, 1959
- Sequel release date: Oct. 22, 2013
- Total time lapsed: 54 years, 119 days
The original "Killer Shrews" existed as a black-and-white sci-fi film about a remote island overrun by giant shrews—mice-like rodents—in the middle of a hurricane. The B-movie developed a cult following and wound up getting lampooned on "Mystery Science Theater 3000" in 1992. Over 50 years later, actor James Best ("Dukes of Hazzard") returned to the island as his original character for "Return of the Killer Shrews," a story about a reality TV crew going back to the island for a retrospective on the initial attack.
- Original release date: Nov. 13, 1940
- Sequel release date: Dec. 31, 1999
- Total time lapsed: 59 years, 48 days
"Fantasia" enthralled audiences in 1940 with its technicolor wonders and beautiful orchestral music during eight animated sequences. The film enjoyed popularity through multiple generations thanks to a number of theatrical and home video re-releases over the years. In 1999, Disney released "Fantasia 2000," a new collection of animated scenes set to classical music with celebrities like Steve Martin and Angela Lansbury doing live-action introductions. The film has earned over $90 million worldwide at the box office since its release.
- Original release date: Aug. 13, 1942
- Sequel release date: Feb. 7, 2006
- Total time lapsed: 63 years, 178 days
The original "Bambi" is a Disney animation classic. It tells the story of a young orphaned deer as he grows up and learns the ways of the forest and the language of love. While it wasn't a box office success in its initial release, its popularity has endured and the film now sits at #3 on AFI's list of the best animated films. "Bambi II" actually takes place within the storyline of the original, with Bambi being cared for by his now-single father, the Great Prince of the Forest. The film was released in theaters in Argentina, but direct-to-DVD in the United States with a positive reception.
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