The Most Successful Sequels That Made More Money Than the First Movie
Sat, April 10, 2021

The Most Successful Sequels That Made More Money Than the First Movie

There is a saying in the world of film that sometimes, a sequel to a very successful movie will probably not be as successful as the first one. / Photo by: Pixabay via Pexels

 

There is a saying in the world of film that sometimes, a sequel to a very successful movie will probably not be as successful as the first one. In certain cases, that’s true; there’s just something about the high of a breakout film that often the second one cannot match. Just the idea of topping the sales the first movie made via marketing a second one, to some, feels a lot like a lost cause. 

But not for these sequels. Here are some of the more successful sequels to probably the most iconic films of all time. 

“The Dark Knight”

Earnings: $533 million
First Movie Earnings: $205 million

First on the list is “The Dark Knight” by Christopher Nolan. According to the finance website Go Banking Rates, the second movie to Nolan’s trilogy even got on the good side of critics when it came out, scoring 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Rolling Stone even went on to describe the groundbreaking movie by declaring that it had soared “on the wings of untamed imagination.” 

There is the fact that part of The Dark Knight’s success was in large part due to Heath Ledger’s sterling performance as the film’s Joker. Moviegoers were also probably more sold on the movie after Ledger’s death, considering it had been his last on-screen project before he passed. The Dark Knight was released six months after Ledger’s passing and was the last film, among many, that showed the artistry and talent of the one and only Heath Ledger.

“Finding Dory” 

Earnings: $486 million
First Movie Earnings: $339 million

Almost every adult living today will remember that bright spot of blue in the big blue ocean and her “just keep swimming” theme song. This catchphrase was, of course, first heard in Disney Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” the story of a father crossing the entire ocean looking for his son Nemo. Indeed, the first movie focused on Nemo, but the second movie had no qualms using that as another central theme for their storyline -- and it worked wonderfully 

So wonderfully, in fact, that Finding Dory garnered a Rotten Tomatoes score of 99 percent from all critics. Dory has always been a very relatable little blue fish, and this movie about her just proved that adding a sequel can even make you strike gold. 

“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” 

Earnings: $389 million 
First Movie Earnings: $333 million 

Technically, it only made just a little bit of money from its first film, but what sets the volume 2 apart is the fact that it was strategically placed where it was to gain as much money as it can. According to Go Banking Rates, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” was very “highly anticipated as it was the 10th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a key part to understanding phase two in Marvel Studios.” 

This, alongside the hype that was built up for its sequel after the success of the first one, contributed to its profitability. 

“New Moon” 

Earnings: $296 million 
First Movie Earnings: $192 million 

Back at the start of the decade, everyone was also into supernatural romances involving characters that were not quite, if at all, human. Stephenie Mayer’s entire Twilight Saga made such a payout during this time when the world was introduced to a world of the vampires and werewolves that lived among us, hidden in plain sight. 

The hype and interest at the time made damn well sure that “New Moon,” the second installment after “Twilight,” was going to get its due recognition. The movie was such a hit that Twilight easily became a movie that spanned entire generations of fans, from both moms to teens.  

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” 

Earnings: $259 million 
First Movie Earnings: $176 million 

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, this 2014 film was such a hit compared to the first one because they masterfully sold the movie as a “paranoid political thriller in the vein of 70s classics like ‘Three Days of The Condor’” and made it work, reports Empire Online, a film review and celebrity news website. It also bravely went on a different direction than the first movie; this one was a little “cooler and cleverer.” Empire does note, though, that the Captain America movies have lately been more about the Avengers as a group than Captain America himself. 

It’s understandable if the context is that Captain America has a big role in the Avengers, but it does feel a little lacking if you’re a fan just wanting to get Captain America back into the limelight. 

 

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”  bravely went on a different direction than the first movie; this one was a little “cooler and cleverer.” / Photo by: usataro via 123rf

 

“Toy Story 2” 

Earnings: $245 million
First Movie Earnings: $191 million 

Toy Story” was such an impactful movie when it came out not only because it gave us a glimpse of how animation was soon going to look like in the coming years. Its 1995 debut also resonated with so many people because its relatability was unmatched and its story concept was unique. According to film news website Film School Rejects, what makes Toy Story 2 more interesting is the fact that it almost didn’t happen. 

According to their report, John Lasseter, before his fall from grace, and Disney reportedly “spent nine months pulling off a miracle” with Toy Story 2, which ultimately paid off as the movie came to be a “brighter, cleverer, more confident sequel that earned near-unanimous critical praise.”