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Sequels and Prequels and ... an Interquel? Oh my!

February 20th, 2003

With production costs and marketing budgets climbing, the average movie needs to make more than $100 million at the box office to show a profit. It's no wonder that movie executives are always looking for ways to minimize risks. One of the ways to do this, along with making remakes and adapting previous sources like comic books, is to make sequels.

Now, it seems every year around this time some entertainment source declares this year to be, 'The year of sequel!" I won't be doing that, cause that would ignore the sheer number of sequels released last year, and what will surely be a similar number of sequels released next year. But I will give a brief list of some of this year's sequels and some of the more anticipated sequels that will be released later on.

Gods and Generals
Prequel to: Gettysburg
Release Date: February 21, 2003

The first was well liked by Civil War Enthusiasts, but made very little at the box office. This one has twice the budget, but probably the same small audience.

Ripley's Game
Sequel to: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Release Date: April 4, 2003

Set 20 years after The Talented Mr. Ripley, this time with John Malkovich playing the title character. Ripley's Game is without any of the big box office names of the first film, and has a slightly lower budget. This film will be less of a box office success, but could be a favorite come awards seasons.

X-Men 2
Sequel to: X-Men
Release Date: May 2, 2003

One of the more eagerly anticipated sequels, this movie reunites most of the previous ensemble cast with a few notable additions. Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler being one. The first movie had a very tight production schedule, which shouldn't be a problem this time around.

The Matrix Reloaded
Sequel to: The Matrix
Release Date: May 15, 2003

Originally reported to be a prequel, this is potentially the biggest hit of the year, and records should fall. At least until The Matrix Revolutions is released on November 7, 2003. The biggest question is whether movie goers will be burned out by The Matrix by then.

2 Fast 2 Furious
Sequel to: The Fast and The Furious
Release Date: June 6, 2003

Without Vin Diesel or Michelle Rodriguez or Jordana Brewster there's serious questions about the box office viability of this movie.

Freddy vs. Jason
Sequel to: Way to many to name here.
Release Date: June 13, 2003
Website: Not Available

This often delayed crossover looks finally set to hit theatres. Maybe. The only reason that it won't move is the lack of another Friday the 13th in 2003. The next one after June isn't until February 2004.

Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle
Sequel to: Charlie's Angels
Release Date: June 27, 2003

Massive increases in the salary of all three leading ladies could scuttle any chance this movie has of seeing profitability.

Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde
Sequel to: Legally Blonde
Release Date: July 2, 2003

The original showed Reese Witherspoon to be a bankable star and Sweet Home Alabama solidified that. This summer, if Legally Blonde 2 does the business the MGM is hoping for, it could propel her to the upper echelon of the pay scale.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Sequel to: Terminator and Terminator 2
Release Date: July 2, 2003

Despite Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent attack on sequels, he is set to star in two of them in. Terminator 3 being the first and True Lies 2 being the next. Reportedly took a pay cut to keep production in California, however, recent box office performances might have has something to do with that decision.

Bad Boys 2
Sequel to: Bad Boys
Release Date: July 18, 2003

The first movie had a relatively low budget, two mostly unknown stars (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence), a unproven director (Michael Bay) and very low expectations. But it became one of the most surprising hits of 1995. The sequel reunites all three with a budget more than triple the first. This time there's much more pressure to succeed.

Exorcist: The Beginning
Prequel to: The Exorcist
Release Date: July 18, 2003
Website: Not Available

A prequel 30 years in the making, this movie will tell the story of Father Lankester Merrin's first encounter with the devil. With the original making nearly $40 million during its recent re-release, this could be a sleeper hit.

Spy Kids 3: Game Over
Sequel to: Spy Kids and Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams
Release Date: July 23, 2003
Webs Site: Not Available, but the first two sites are here:

This movie was green-lit before Spy Kids 2 hit the theatres. Since Spy Kids 2 under-performed compared to the first, it remains to be seen whether Spy Kids 3 can live up to the first two. The fact that Sylvester Stallone has signed on to play the villain isn't a good sign. Stallone hasn't had a live-action hit since 1993's Cliffhanger. Part of the action will be in 3-D.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Sequel to: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Release Date: July 25, 2003
Website: Not Available

Horrible critical reviews, low CinemaScores, poor legs and a final box office that was barely more than the production and advertising costs. So why are they making a sequel? Cause the first made almost $50 million on its opening weekend. Look for this one to have a bigger opening, worse reviews, lower CinemaScores, no legs and another sequel after that. All this while movies that deserve to be seen, like Chance, are still without a distribution deal.

Like Hell: Jeepers Creepers 2
Sequel to: Jeepers Creepers
Release Date: August 29, 2003
Website: Not Available

Jeepers Creepers had a $10 million dollar budget when it was released back in 2001, but it surprised everyone when it made nearly $16 million during its opening weekend, so a sequel should be no surprise. However, it barely made $20 million for the rest of it's run. So expect this one to have a bigger opening that the first, but absolutely no staying power.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Sequel to: El Mariachi and Desperado
Release Date: September 12, 2003
Website: Not Available

Last in the Mariachi trilogy with a budget four times the combined total of the first two. With an all star cast and a bankable director, this one looks like a sure thing. Not a massive hit, but it should make Columbia Pictures happy.

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Sequel To: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers
Release Date: December 17, 2003

Return of the King is a low budget film that will struggle to find an audience. ... Ok, I'm just kidding. But if you are just learning about the third installment of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy you probably don't care.

Meet the Fokkers
Sequel to: Meet the Parents
Release Date: Sometime in 2003, maybe
Website: Not Available

Originally planned for a spring 2003 release, production was delayed due to Director Jay Roach's schedule. It may be released the same time of the year Meet the Parents was, but at this point a 2004 release date is more likely.

Clerks: Sellout
Sequel to: Clerks and Clerks: The Animated Series
Release Date: Possibly late 2003, but don't bet on it.
Website: Not Available

Based on the short lived, make that very short lived cartoon version of Clerks. When it will be made is still a bit of a mystery as Kevin Smith is still busy with Jersey Girl and has Fletch Won to work on.

Fletch Won
Prequel to: Fletch and Fletch Lives
Release Date: Unknown, possibly 2004. Possibly later than that.
Website: Not Available

Written and directed by Kevin Smith and staring his favorite actor, Jason Lee. The pair has been involved in 7 films together and if this film does well, look for many Fletch films to be added to that list.

The Lion King 1 1/2: Hakuna Matata
Interquel to: The Lion King
Release Date: February 2004
Website: Not Available

Disney is describing this movie as an interquel. That is to say, it retells the story of The Lion King from Timon and Pumbaa's point of view. It could be an interesting exercise in storytelling. Or it could be a cheap grab at some quick cash.

The Amazing Spider-Man
Sequel to: Spider-Man
Release Date: May 7, 2004
Website: Not Available

Alfred Molina has officially signed on to play Dr. Octopus. Last year's biggest movie at the domestic box office, this sequel has a lot of pressure on it to perform.

Star Wars: Episode III
Sequel to: Star Wars: Episode I and II
Prequel to: Star Wars: Episode IV, V and VI
Release Date: May 25, 2005

The final chapter in the Star Wars Saga. It's to be seen whether it can bounce back from the second's disappointing run at the box office. You know a movie has high expectations when $300 million domestically and nearly $650 million worldwide is seen as a disappointment.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Sequel to: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets
Release Date: June 2004

Just started filming in England. Could be the final Harry Potter with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. If this one doesn't make more than $750 worldwide it would be a shock.

NOTE: As usualy, all release dates are subject to change repeatedly and without warning.

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Filed under: X2, Gods and Generals