- Movie sequels often struggle with choosing a title that matches the popularity and legacy of the original, resulting in some preposterous choices.
- The title of a movie is crucial to shaping audience perception and should be carefully chosen, especially for sequels.
- Many sequels have been given dumb and confusing subtitles, which do not fit the tone of the films or add any meaningful value.
Several movie sequels have been plagued by ridiculous title choices, but a dozen of these names rank as the worst of all time. As a rule, movie sequels tend to struggle in their attempt to recapture the popularity of the original or match its legacy. However, some follow-ups and franchise entries set themselves up for failure by choosing a preposterous title.
A large part of a movie’s success depends on the title, as the name directly shapes the audience’s perception and is at the forefront of viewers’ minds. Choosing the correct title is therefore essential, especially when attempting to produce a successful sequel. Many movies simply add a number to the original title, but others opt for wildly different titles, some of which confound reason. Several are bestowed a dumb subtitle, and in plenty of cases, the choice is so laughably awful that the production should have gone simpler for greater success.
Movie franchise sequels are often subjects of controversy, and many of the most hyped sequels of all time couldn’t live up to fan expectations.
12 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Original Movie: The Fast And The Furious (2001)
The second installment of the high-octane Fast & Furious film franchise continues the story of Paul Walker’s protagonist, Brian O’Conner, and the fallout from the events of the first movie. The franchise has since become infamous for increasingly ridiculous titles and similarly absurd action sequences and car chases. 2 Fast 2 Furious retained the original movie’s more grounded tone but opted for one of the worst titles in the franchise. 2 Fast 2 Furious appears to function as a pun, suggesting the movie’s events and characters are “too” fast and “too” furious, but by applying it to both words, this just seems excessive and confusing.
Fast & Furious is one of the biggest franchises, with over 11 movies plus spin-offs, but its titles weren’t always the most creative or structured.
11 Now You See Me 2 (2016)
Original Movie: Now You See Me (2013)
- Release Date
- June 10, 2016
- Jon M. Chu
Now You See Me 2 continues the criminal exploits of the first movie’s bank-robbing magicians and is known for its elaborate heist sequences that incorporate sleight of hand and misdirection. The original title for the sequel was Now You See Me: Now You Don’t, which is far more fitting and was preferred by the filmmakers (via Collider). Instead, the title Now You See Me 2 was chosen, suggesting a pun, but this undermines the movie’s magical misdirection premise, hinting that multiple characters have been spotted.
10 Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Original Movie: Speed (1994)
This sequel suffered several setbacks during its conception, most notably the replacement of Speed lead actor Keanu Reeves. Speed 2: Cruise Control depicts Sandra Bullock’s Annie Porter being held captive by another maniacal killer, this time aboard a cruise liner. The movie won a Golden Razzie for Worst Sequel, despite an especially idiosyncratic performance from Willem Dafoe. The title was also a major hindrance, cheapening the original movie and presenting the sequel as a trashy action flick. The incredibly conspicuous subtitle is a pun on both the sequel and the original, which completely fails to capture the effective simplicity of the original movie’s title.
9 Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (2006)
Original Movie: Basic Instinct (1992)
Released 14 years after the iconic original movie, Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction sees Sharon Stone reprise her role as Catherine Tramell, the murderous crime novelist implicated in a string of brutal deaths. The sequel attempted to draw in fans of the first movie with promotional imagery recalling Basic Instinct‘s controversial interrogation scene. Yet, the title chosen was extremely confusing. It is unclear whether it suggests there is a risk of becoming addicted, or that there is an addiction to risks. The latter is more appropriate considering the narrative, but either way, it is an underwhelming title that does not fit the tone of the sequel or the original.
8 Dumb And Dumber To (2014)
Original Movie: Dumb And Dumber (2014)
The disappointing sequel to Dumb and Dumber reunited Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as the lovable buffoons Harry and Lloyd. On another road trip across America, the iconic duo are in search of Harry’s estranged daughter. The movie’s title was a confounding choice for several reasons, primarily because it doesn’t make any sense. In place of the numeral “2,” the filmmakers chose the word “To,” but this seemed to be suggesting the word “too” instead. The title is as dumb as the protagonists, though this could have been intentional. Ultimately, it was just confusing and, as a result, ineffective.
Starring Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey at the height of his career, Dumb and Dumber became a hit screwball comedy franchise. Which movie is the best?
7 Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)
Original Movie: Breakin’ (1984)
The breakdancing musical Breakin’ achieved enough success to promptly produce a sequel later in the same year. This follow-up, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, has since overshadowed the original because of its infamously silly subtitle. “Electric Boogaloo” entered popular culture as a title for an archetypal sequel. Numerous blogs, albums, and news stories have adopted the “Electric Boogaloo” subtitle to indicate a generic sequel. Even It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia referenced the movie in season 11, episode 1, “Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo.” If anything, the title of Breakin” 2: Electric Boogaloo is more famous than either movie.
6 Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous (2005)
Original Movie: Miss Congeniality (2000)
Following the triumphant success of Miss Congeniality, a sequel was quickly produced with Sandra Bullock reprising her role as FBI agent Gracie Hart, who struggles to maintain her undercover investigations with her newfound public notoriety. The sequel, which functions more as a buddy cop movie, was given the title Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, with the subtitle being completely unnecessary. “Armed and Fabulous” entirely undermines the original’s gritty crime plot that was central to the narrative. It cheapens the movie and the feminist message celebrated in the original.
5 Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)
Original Movie: Man Of Steel (2013)
Zack Synder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice pits the iconic superheroes of its title against each other in what promised to be an almighty, action-packed battle. The title is preposterous for two reasons. First, using “v” over “vs.” bucks the cinematic precedent set by a slew of previous movies, which Snyder claimed was an attempt to distance the narrative from “a straight ‘versus’ movie“ (via USA Today) — despite that being the central premise of the movie. Moreover, the addition of “Dawn of Justice“ completely spoils the ending, as the eponymous heroes would inevitably become comrades and establish the Justice League in future movies.
Seven years after its release, Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is still chock-full of subtle easter eggs, references, and metaphors.
4 Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2007)
Original Movie: Alvin & The Chipmunks (2005)
Alvin & the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel depicts the continued adventures of the eponymous singing chipmunks. This time, the trio attends an American high school, where they encounter a rival troupe of female singing chipmunks. The sequel established a precedent of chipmunk-based puns for each movie in the franchise, but “The Squeakquel” is the worst. The subtitle is a cringe-worthy addition that offers nothing except a rudimentary pun that is neither funny nor entertaining. It exemplifies each Alvin & the Chipmunk sequel, which were half-baked cash grabs with little substance.
3 Excessive Force 2: Force On Force (1995)
Original Movie: Excessive Force (1993)
Excessive Force was an overly violent thriller that truly lived up to its title. The sequel had no relation to the original movie, depicting a woman’s revenge against a former lover. Its title, Excessive Force 2: Force on Force, is one of the most baffling in cinematic history. “Force on Force” is a perplexingly absurd subtitle that makes little sense. Furthermore, it created a redundancy with the main title “Excessive Force,” and consequently added no new information for audiences. Excessive Force: Force on Force was an excessive title, which might be appropriate for the over-the-top action depicted but was particularly dumb.
2 Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
Original Movie: First Blood (1982)
Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo franchise did not receive the moniker until the second movie, Rambo: First Blood Part II. The movie depicted Stallone’s John Rambo on a mission to rescue prisoners of war in Vietnam. It marked a notable change in the franchise, becoming more violent and establishing several famed aspects. The sequel used an incredibly perplexing title, however, which committed to neither “First Blood” nor “Rambo,” and instead jammed both together. The colon implies that the second half is a subtitle, which makes “Part II” even more out of place. Consequently, the sequel looks like it has two names.
With the recent release of Rambo: Last Blood let’s take a look back at the entire saga and see which of Stallone’s missions was the best.
1 The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts Of Georgia (2013)
Original Movie: The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)
The Haunting in Connecticut adapted a true story originating with the infamous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorrain Warren. The sequel also depicts a purportedly true ghost story, this one set in another state. The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia proved to be a ridiculous title for two main reasons. Firstly, Georgia is nowhere near Connecticut, so the title is immediately nonsensical. Secondly, the movie is a standalone sequel that follows a wholly self-contained story with unique characters. This means the inclusion of “Connecticut” and the association with the original movie was completely unnecessary, clearly used just to exploit the original movie’s modest success.