Click here for more fun at RinkWorks!
 Main      Site Guide    
All Movie Talk

Welcome to All Movie Talk! In this audio podcast, Samuel Stoddard and Stephen Keller talk about old and new movies, famous directors, historical film movements, movie trivia, and more.

All Movie Talk

All Posts



Sequel Titles

Ever notice how sequel titles fall into familiar patterns? The two most common naming schemes are the Numeral:

  • Scream
  • Scream 2
  • Scream 3
...and the Subtitle:
  • Babe
  • Babe: Pig In the City
But there are others, too.

For example, there is the combination Numeral-Subtitle:
  • The Neverending Story
  • The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter
  • The Neverending Story III: Escape From Fantasia
Sometimes the Numeral-Subtitle starts as a Numeral before kicking in...
  • Phantasm
  • Phantasm II
  • Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead
  • Phantasm IV: Oblivion
...but it never begins life as a Subtitle, only a Numeral. Numerals and Numeral-Subtitles have short lifespans. Eventually, the numerals disappear:
  • Highlander
  • Highlander II: The Quickening
  • Highlander III: The Sorcerer
  • Highlander: Endgame
Only on very rare occasions will the numerals outlast the subtitles:
  • Home Alone
  • Home Alone 2: Lost In New York
  • Home Alone 3
  • Home Alone 4
One thing producers should definitely do is pick decimal numbers or roman numerals and stick with it. Mixing the two just isn't cool.
  • The Beastmaster
  • Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time
  • Beastmaster III: The Eye of Braxus
Almost as bad is when the marketing tag (you know, like "ID4" for Independence Day, and "MiB" for Men In Black) makes it into the title, usually as a prefix:
  • The Mighty Ducks
  • D2: The Mighty Ducks
  • D3: The Mighty Ducks
Better late than never to dump the practice:
  • X-Men
  • X2: X-Men United
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
I just love the Halloween series. Just count all the transitions between naming schemes it pulls off:
  • Halloween
  • Halloween II
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
  • Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later
  • Halloween: Resurrection
I admire the rare numeral scheme that lasts:
  • Beethoven
  • Beethoven's 2nd
  • Beethoven's 3rd
  • Beethoven's 4th
  • Beethoven's 5th
And this just has to be a world record for sequel title consistency:
  • The Land Before Time
  • The Land Before Time II: The Great Valley Adventure
  • The Land Before Time III: The Time of Great Giving
  • The Land Before Time IV: Journey Through the Mists
  • The Land Before Time V: The Mysterious Island
  • The Land Before Time VI: The Secret of Saurus Rock
  • The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire
  • The Land Before Time VIII: The Big Freeze
  • The Land Before Time IX: Journey To the Big Water
  • The Land Before Time X: The Great Longneck Migration
  • The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses
Even without numerals, you can still be consistent:
  • Gamera
  • Gamera vs. Barugon
  • Gamera vs. Gaos
  • Gamera vs. Viras
  • Gamera vs. Guiron
  • Gamera vs. Jiger
  • Gamera vs. Zigra
But as admirable as consistency is, it can be a hobgoblin, too, when it's applied to prequels, because then you get a title that doesn't seem to know where it fits into the chronology:
  • Psycho
  • Psycho II
  • Psycho III
  • Psycho IV: The Beginning
The Japanese show some commendable ingenuity in solving this problem:
  • Ringu
  • Ringu 2
  • Ringu 0: Baasudei
Occasionally, the main title and the subtitle swap places, as if the producers wanted a brand new title, but then didn't trust you to make the connection on your own, so they stuffed the Numeral scheme into a subtitle:
  • Carrie
  • The Rage: Carrie 2
The Rambo series refines this to an artform, eventually dropping the main title altogether but keeping the numeral, as if the new title had been around from the beginning:
  • First Blood
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II
  • Rambo III
On the other side of the coin, here's a series that tries the prefix route, then corrects the mistake:
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park
  • Jurassic Park III
Either way belies any indication of foresight. But you gotta love it when titles show signs of foresight at the outset, by firing up, for example, the Subtitle method right at the first movie:
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
And then there are some producers that think they have foresight, but don't:
  • Gumby 1
Sometimes we complain about over-punctuated titles...
  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
...but it's better than not punctuating enough. Note the missing colon:
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Numerals get used so often, sometimes people like to have a little fun with them, as in:
  • The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
  • The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear
  • The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
  • Teen Wolf
  • Teen Wolf Too
  • The Net
  • The Net 2.0
  • Shrek
  • Shrek 2
  • Shrek the Third
By law, if your franchise ever dabbles in 3D, it must be for the third movie, and you must use the Numeral scheme at least long enough that you can play with the numeral "3" like so:
  • Jaws
  • Jaws 2
  • Jaws 3-D
  • Jaws: The Revenge
In the days before the Numeral and Subtitle methods were invented, they generally used brand new titles for each movie, usually but not necessarily all reusing one or two distinguishing words:
  • Road To Singapore
  • Road To Zanzibar
  • Road To Morocco
  • Road To Utopia
  • Road To Rio
  • Road To Bali
  • Road To Hong Kong
...or all employing the same distinctive structure:
  • Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines
  • Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies
...or all featuring the name of the main recurring character:
  • Think Fast, Mr. Moto
  • Thank You, Mr. Moto
  • Mr. Moto's Gamble
  • Mr. Moto Takes a Chance
  • Mysterious Mr. Moto
  • Mr. Moto's Last Warning
  • Mr. Moto In Danger Island
  • Mr. Moto Takes a Vacation
Sometimes a hit movie has the wrong name, and that poses a dilemma for producers interested in naming sequels this way. The title character of "The Thin Man" is the villain, not the detective. The first sequel, "After the Thin Man," remembers that, but starting with "Another Thin Man" (in which the recurring detective has a baby), the "Thin Man" nickname transfers to the detective hero:
  • The Thin Man
  • After the Thin Man
  • Another Thin Man
  • Shadow of the Thin Man
  • The Thin Man Goes Home
  • Song of the Thin Man
The same thing happened with "The Pink Panther," which refers to a diamond, not Inspector Clouseau. This remains consistent until installment number four, when the title references the "Pink Panther" without being about the diamond at all:
  • The Pink Panther
  • A Shot In the Dark
  • The Return of the Pink Panther
  • The Pink Panther Strikes Again
  • Revenge of the Pink Panther
  • Trail of the Pink Panther
  • Curse of the Pink Panther
  • Son of the Pink Panther
If you're lucky, though, the name of the recurring character catches on better than your actual title does, and you can safely make the transition without losing any marketing power, as in:
  • Child's Play
  • Child's Play 2
  • Child's Play 3
  • Bride of Chucky
  • Seed of Chucky
  • The Love Bug
  • Herbie Rides Again
  • Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo
  • Herbie Goes Bananas
  • Herbie: Fully Loaded
I'm desperately awaiting the sequel to:
  • Analyze This
  • Analyze That
...which I'm sure will be named "Analyze the Other Thing."

Look at remakes to observe how sequel title fashions change over time. In the 1950s, we had this short series:
  • Father of the Bride
  • Father's Little Dividend
Both movies were remade in the 1990s, as:
  • Father of the Bride
  • Father of the Bride, Part II
In the old days, there was a brief fad for labelling sequels with the current year:
  • The Big Broadcast
  • The Big Broadcast of 1936
  • The Big Broadcast of 1937
  • The Big Broadcast of 1938
But, just as Numeral schemes are apt to evolve into Subtitle schemes, the same sort of thing can happen with years:
  • The Gold Diggers of 1933
  • The Gold Diggers of 1935
  • The Gold Diggers of 1937
  • The Gold Diggers In Paris
I don't quite know what to make of:
  • Alien
  • Aliens
  • Alien 3
  • Alien: Resurrection
  • The Fast and the Furious
  • 2 Fast 2 Furious
  • The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
  • Die Hard
  • Die Hard 2: Die Harder
  • Die Hard With a Vengeance
  • Live Free Or Die Hard
...or especially:
  • The Amityville Horror
  • Amityville II: The Possession
  • Amityville 3-D
  • Amityville: The Evil Escapes
  • The Amityville Curse
  • Amityville 1992: It's About Time
  • Amityville: A New Generation
  • Amityville: Dollhouse
...and I think the following series gets a special prize for (1) switching numeral styles, (2) dropping numerals twice only to reinstate them each time, (3) botching the 3-D rule in the clumsiest way possible, (4) pulling a Rambo-style switcheroo of the main series name, and (5) lying not just once but twice with subtitles that falsely promise the end of the series:
  • Friday the 13th
  • Friday the 13th Part 2
  • Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D
  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter
  • Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives
  • Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood
  • Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
  • Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday
  • Jason X
I like it when a numeral is just outright wrong, as in:
  • The Legend of Boggy Creek
  • Return To Boggy Creek
  • Boggy Creek II: The Legend Continues
  • Tarzan
  • Tarzan and Jane
  • Tarzan II
Sometimes the number is right, but only because it isn't a sequel numeral at all, as in:
  • The Madness of King George III
  • Thunderbirds are GO
  • Thunderbird 6
...or it's just making a silly joke:
  • Leonard, Part 6
And it's always entertaining when alternate titles for international releases conflict with each other about which movie is what. If, for example, you watched Jackie Chan's homage to Indiana Jones in Hong Kong, then you saw:
  • Armour of God
  • Armour of God II: Operation Condor
...but if you saw them in the United States, you saw them out of order, under these titles:
  • Operation Condor
  • Operation Condor 2: The Armour of the Gods
This looks like a series of five, with an absolutely hilarious title for number three:
  • Supercop
  • Supercop 2
  • Police Story III: Part 2
  • Police Story IV: Project S
  • Police Story V
...but, in actuality, all five of those titles are different international titles for the same movie!

Click here for more fun at RinkWorks!