PROBLEM: In terms of box office business, sequels are bigger than ever. However, in the rush to get their latest money-making franchise film out the door and on the screen, some filmmakers have apparently not bothered to notice (or care) that the titles of their sequels don’t actually make sense.
At its most basic, making a sequel and slapping a number after a film’s title indicates that the film carries over elements of the original film to tell a new story that is either: influenced by the events of the original film, follows characters from the original film and/or depicts events very similar to those in the original film. Seems straight-forward, enough, right? Well here are some examples that show how sometime a few little tweaks to movie title can cause a whole mess of problems for its sequel.
The Hangover Part II and Part III
Now, when a film has “Part__” after the title, logic would indicate that it is a direct continuation of the story started in the previous film. For example, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is the second half of the story that was begun in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So, that brings us to The Hangover. With the title of the film depicting a single event, the only way for The Hangover Part II and The Hangover Part III to make sense as titles is if all three films dealt with the events of the same titular hangover.
If they had kept it simple and gone with just adding a “2” and “3” all would be well…but this was probably done from a marketing standpoint in hopes that adding “Part” to the titles would help distract from the fact that they were really nothing more than your basic, unnecessary carbon-copy sequels.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
In trying to add a bit of creativity to sequel titling, this one ended up becoming one of the best nonsensical sequel titles out there. Since the events of this film take place the summer AFTER those of the first film, then this should really be called I Still Know What You Did The Summer Before Last. If the producers didn’t want to go the traditional numbered sequel route, they could have just called it I Know What You Did THAT Summer – or even better, take the idea they chose but cut it off: I Still Know What You Did.
The Last Exorcism 2
Ugh. Just…no. If the first film was about a “Last Exorcism”, then that means by all indications there should be no more exorcisms! You gotta be a little more creative in the title department if you are going to make a sequel to something with a title that indicates a certain finality. I mean, even the people behind the Friday the 13th films knew to do this, when they followed up the fourth film in the series Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter by slapping A New Beginning after the title of the fifth one.
The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
I can’t even with this one…it’s a mess and makes my head hurt just reading it. SO many things wrong, I have to make a list:
1) This is not a sequel to The Haunting in Connecticut
2) This does not involve ghosts from Georgia moving to Connecticut
3) It is not about ANY haunting in Connecticut
4) It doesn’t involve anyone leaving Connecticut and moving to Georgia
5) It IS about a haunting in Georgia
6) Fun fact: During production it was called The Haunting in Georgia
Obviously, the makers of this film were not sure if audiences would make the connection that a film called The Haunting in Georgia would be similar to the similarly-titled The Haunting in Connecticut. But instead of say, adding a tag-line like “from the makers of The Haunting in Connecticut”, they probably had a conversation along the lines of this:
“Screw it, just slap a number after Connecticut. Problem solved, connection made.”
“Well, technically it’s not really a sequel”
“Then…tack Ghosts of Georgia on it. Boom. Done.”
“But…that doesn’t even make sen–“
“I said DONE!”
So there you have it – some fine examples of an enduring pop culture problem – the complete disregard for sensible sequel titles. There are of course many more out there, and surely more to come, so a sequel to this post might just be in order someday.