Time Away: 16 Years
The mother of all film franchise disappointments, The Phantom Menace broke a lot of hearts when it finally hit theaters in 1999. The reasons it failed critically have been documented. Suffice to say: George Lucas had complete creative control, and it turned out that wasn’t a good thing after all. Still it made more money than all the other films on this list combined, so what do I know?
Time Away: 17 Years
My editor insists that Larry Crown was not, in fact, as sequel to 1994’s classic, Forrest Gump. I’m certain he’s wrong. While watching the film, I felt uncanny deja vu: Tom Hanks playing a retard, an HIV-positive skank hovering around him, people in the theater weeping uncontrollably. At the very least it’s a thematic sequel.
Time Away: 11 years
When I read that Todd Smoltz was making a sequel to his dark masterpiece Happiness, I was instantly excited. Then I remembered the plot of Happiness, and how depressed it made me, my friends, and anyone in a 30 mile radius of where it was being watched. Why continue such a miserable (if sadly funny) storyline? And why recast all the major characters (in some cases changing races and ages) when all the previous cast members are still available? Artsy directors are weird.
Some film franchises lie dormant for years and still deliver a worthy sequel. The Color of Money, Rocky Balboa, and Rambo all delivered the goods after decades away (in the case of the later two, there was nowhere to go but up). And of course there is the superb Dawn of the Dead, which arrived 10 years after Night of the Living Dead. So perhaps Blade Runner 2 and Ghostbusters 3 will work after all! OK, probably not.