This Friday, bumbling British "super" spy Johnny English (played by British comic Rowan Atkinson) returns to theaters for his second mission, Johnny English Reborn. Don't remember the original Johnny English outing? That's okay... it came out eight years ago -- an eternity in movie years. Still, that's not the most excessive lag time between the first and second installments in a franchise. The wait was even longer between the following Parts 1 and 2. [Note: We're omitting sequels that went the direct-to-DVD or made-for-TV route, so don't go looking for Cinderella II or The Birds II.]
Before Sunrise and Before Sunset
Gap Between Movies: 9 years
Worth Waiting For? Before Sunrise's open ending was so lovely, we were nervous about Richard Linklater's decision to revisit Jesse and Celine again, particularly as world-weary thirtysomethings. Fortunately, he went and made an even better film with an even lovelier final scene. The rumor is that Linklater might check in with them again in another decade when they're in their 40's. We're saving the date now.
Bean and Mr. Bean's Holiday
Gap Between Movies: 10 years
Worth Waiting For? Atkinson's other popular (around the rest of the world anyway) film franchise took a long break between features as well. The first Bean was a modestly charming fish-out-of-water comedy with a great supporting cast that included Peter MacNicol, Pamela Reed and Burt Reynolds. The far-less-charming second one (which was released as Mr. Bean's Vacation in the U.S.) made the mistake of saddling silent stumblebum Mr. Bean with a kid sidekick -- often a sure-fire way to kill any comic zing. Honestly, you're better off skipping both movies and watching repeats of the old Mr. Bean series instead.
Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead
Gap Between Movies: 10 years
Worth Waiting For? Amazing what a little thing like having an actual budget will do. While the importance and all-around awesomeness of George A. Romero's original zombie classic can't be overstated, the director used the ten years in between Dead pictures to hone his filmmaking skills and raise more cash for its inevitable follow-up. The result? Only one of the all-time best sequels and among the most influential horror movies ever made.
Clerks and Clerks II
Gap Between Movies: 12 years
Worth Waiting For? After enduring the critical and commercial drubbing of Jersey Girl, Kevin Smith retreated to safer territory and gave his fans what he thought they wanted -- the continuing live-action adventures of Dante and Randal. Clerks II has its moments (Randal's LoTR vs. Star Wars soliloquy still cracks us up), but it's hard to escape the feeling that the characters are past their sell-by date.
Psycho and Psycho II
Gap Between Movies: 23 years
Worth Waiting For? It's safe to say that no one was clamoring for a sequel to Alfred Hitchock's masterful Psycho, especially one that wasn't going to be directed by ol' Hitch himself. At least Hollywood waited until after the iconic director passed away before messing with one of his signature classics. Psycho II isn't bad per se (check out the TV movie Psycho IV: The Beginning if you want to see what "bad" really looks like), it's just not Psycho. Then again, what is?
Wall Street and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Gap Between Movies: 23 years.
Worth Waiting For? Few '80s films have preserved the money-hungry spirit of that decade as vividly as Oliver Stone's Wall Street. So when the stock market re-entered the public consciousness in a big way following the 2008 financial meltdown, it stood to reason that Stone thought it would be a good time to revisit the Street's biggest shark, Gordon Gekko. But a muddled storyline, Gekko's sudden discovery of a soul and the general presence of Shia LaBeouf made the present-day set Money Never Sleeps seem somehow more dated than the original.
The Hustler and The Color of Money
Gap Between Movies: 25 years
There was probably no way of topping Paul Newman's first turn as pool hustler "Fast" Eddie Felson, but the Martin Scorsese-directed sequel comes close. The veteran actor won a long overdue Oscar for reprising the role and a young kid named Tom Cruise made a big impression as his protégé, Vincent. But in both movies, it's Newman's magnetic star turn that keeps our eyes glued to the screen.
Tron and Tron: Legacy
Gap Between Movies: 28 years
Seen today, the original Tron is as cheesy as they come, but we still adore it for its insanely detailed recreation of vintage '80s arcade games and Jeff Bridges' turn as the world's coolest video game designer/hacker, Flynn. Had Disney made a sequel in 1985, we would have been all over it. But 28 years is a long time and while Tron: Legacy looks spectacular, it lacks its predecessor's sense of wonder. Frankly, Legacy's virtual world is one of the most boring video game realms we've ever visited.
The Wizard of Oz and Return to Oz
Gap Between Movies: 46 years
The idea of sequelizing a classic like 1939's The Wizard of Oz isn't completely insane; after all L. Frank Baum wrote dozens of Oz books himself (a few of which were made into silent films in the early 20th century), so there was plenty of material to work with. Still, it took Hollywood almost 50 years to work up the courage to do it. And, based on the finished product, they maybe shouldn't have bothered. We do like Tik-Tok and Jack Pumpkinhead, but that's about it.
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