In an age of franchise film making, it’s rare to see a movie without a sequel – especially if that movie is a high-profile picture. And yet, there are quite a number of big films that have never been given the sequel treatment.
But what are these mysterious pictures – these famous movies that didn’t receive a sequel? And will they ever get sequels?
Read on for details of ten big movies without a sequel.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Let’s start off with one of the biggest movies of the ‘90s – the Tom Hanks starring Forrest Gump. The critically acclaimed film, which focused on the captivating life of a young American man, was a huge hit with critics and audiences, and raked in $677 million at the worldwide box office, along with a whole host of awards.
So, where’s the sequel?
Erm… it simply never happened.
For a while, there was some talk of a Gump sequel, with the studio even going so far as to develop a screenplay based on the novel, Gump and Co., but the project never came to fruition. As such, Forrest Gump remains a solitary tale.
Sticking with Tom Hanks for another classic movie – the 1988 romantic comedy, Big. And who doesn’t love Big?
The movie – about a boy who wishes himself into adulthood – was a firm favourite upon release and remains a popular film amongst cinemagoers today. So, once again, where the heck is the sequel?
Yep, never happened.
OK, so Big was a self-contained tale which really didn’t need a sequel but when did that ever stop Hollywood from pumping out a follow-up? Did Weekend at Bernie’s need a sequel? Did Basic Instinct need a part 2? Was anyone calling out for Speed II?
Actually, just thinking about those movies makes me very thankful that Big never got a sequel. Count your blessings, people. Count your blessings.
E.T – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Name some of the biggest hits of Steven Spielberg’s career and amongst the Indiana Jones films, Jurassic Park, and Jaws, you’ll find E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial. In fact, E.T. is arguably one of the best-loved, most iconic movies on this list – yet no sequel.
But there almost was a sequel. Yep, a sequel was written, with both Spielberg and E.T. scribe Melissa Mathison involved, but it didn’t progress beyond the printed page.
Why? Because Spielberg decided against it – and we salute him every day for that decision.
If you want a sequel, you can always check out the book E.T. – The Book of the Green Planet, but as far as films go, E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial is a case of ‘one and done’.
Onto yet another very famous movie, and easily the most quotable on this list – yep, it’s the Humphrey Bogart-starring Casablanca. And if you’ve never watched Casablanca, I urge you to rent/borrow a copy of this movie – it really is worth a couple of hours of your time.
The picture – directed by Michael Curtiz – features some of the most memorable dialogue committed to film and is still fondly remembered today, even though it was released in 1942.
So, why no sequel?
Because everyone in their right mind felt this was a one-picture deal and there was no need for a follow-up.
True Lies (1994)
Directed by James Cameron, True Lies is an Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring action film which spoofs the Bond series. It is also one of the best Arnie movies of the ‘90s – so why doesn’t it have endless sequels like the Terminator franchise?
Well, for a number of years a True Lies sequel was in discussion, but it just never came to pass. The September 11th terror attacks, plus Arnie’s move into politics put a hold on anything happening with a sequel, and nowadays James Cameron is far too tied up with Avatar sequels to return to this picture. Sorry.
Goonies never die – and they don’t need a sequel either.
Directed by Richard Donner, The Goonies was an action-adventure film about a bunch of kids and their attempts to uncover hidden treasure in their town. The movie starred Sean Astin, Corey Feldman and Josh Brolin and was a big hit upon release.
So, where’s the sequel?
IT DOESN’T NEED ONE!
And this isn’t just me saying this – I think I speak on behalf of every fan. Plus, no one involved with The Goonies has ever been able to find the right script for Goonies II, which is why the film remains a standalone tale.
Oh, they’ve tried, but it just never happened.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Based on the 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is one of the best fantasy movies of the 1980s. The film – which starred, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd and Charles Fleischer – combined live-action with animation to present a world in which cartoon characters lived in co-existence with real people.
As with all of the films on this list (and many classic movies in general), Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a self-contained story; however, it could have been turned into a series of sequels. Heck, the movie’s box office receipts ($330 million off a budget of $70 million) was reason alone for a follow-up… and it almost happened.
Ever since Who Framed Roger Rabbit hit cinema screens, various sequel/prequel ideas have been considered, in order to bring Roger back to theatres, yet none of them have ever took flight. The most discussed of these projects was the World War II-set, The Toon Platoon, but this project just didn’t come together.
And let’s be honest, if it ain’t broke, don’t try and fix it – or make an unnecessary sequel – and that should always be the motto with Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Why mess with greatness?
Citizen Kane (1941)
Often referred to as ‘the greatest movie of all time’, Citizen Kane is a highly influential film about the life of a newspaper tycoon. The movie – directed by and starring Orson Wells – is an award-winning picture, which has never had a sequel.
Will there ever be one?
To be honest, people aren’t chomping at the bit for Citizen Kane II: Electric Boogaloo, so it’s safe to say this film will remain a single entity.
The Princess Bride (1987)
A sequel to the 1987 fantasy film, The Princess Bride?
And yet, Bride writer William Goldman was keen to create a follow-up to this much-loved tale.
So why didn’t it happen?
The Princess Bride was not a big hit on release, and it wasn’t until the film reached VHS and then DVD that it really started to gain traction. Prior to Goldman’s death in 2018, there was some talk about a sequel, and he made it clear he really wanted it to happen, but alas it did not.
And finally, Labyrinth – an imaginative fairy tale directed by legendary puppeteer Jim Henson. The film – which mixed real-life actors with puppets – starred David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly.
This is a well-loved movie, so why no sequel?
Well, while Labyrinth is highly regarded today, back in 1986 it flopped, putting a complete stop on any discussions of a sequel. In recent years there has been rumblings of a follow-up, but without Bowie would it really be worth watching?
I think we all know the answer to that one.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post about high-profile movies without sequels. Should you want to dive into more movie-related posts, then check out one of the recommended reads below.