History of Back-to-Backquels

With news of Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and 6 possibly being shot back-to-back, a strategy becoming more common place today, I thought I would share a brief history of the more notable back-to-backquels that have led us to today where we already have Potter, Twilight and The Hobbit in some state of production doing the same thing.

  • The Three Musketeers (1973)
  • The Four Musketeers (1974)

After filming was complete for The Three Musketeers they realized they had enough footage to actually make a second movie (The Four Musketeers).   The actors were outraged that the producers were getting two movies from their one movie work and because of this it is common to have a clause in an actor’s contract to prevent it. 

  • Superman (1978)
  • Superman (1980)

Ilya Salkind came up with the idea of a Superman project in the early seventies.  Superman and Superman II commenced filming at the same time.  Beacuase of money concerns and  tensions between director RichardDonner and the producers, a decision was made to stop filming Superman II and finish the first film. Donner had already shot 75% of Superman II when he was taken off the project.  Richard Lester was eventually brought in to complete Superman II.  Donner has since said about 25% of the completed film contains footage he shot.  Actor Gene Hackman refused to work with the new director and Superman II includes only Donner footage of Hackman.  Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) has since been released on DVD restoring much of Donner’s original vision.

  • Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
  • Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)

Peter Sellers died before production began on Trail of the Pink Panther so it is a compilation of unsed footage from past Pink Panther movies.  New footage was shot in an attempt to piece it together in one coherent work.  This new footage was shot while producers were filming Curse of the Pink PantherCurse was an attempt to restat the franchise with Ted Wass, as Detective Clifton Sleigh, a new bumbling lead.

  • Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
  • Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989)

 Filmed concurrently, and released 16 months apart.

  •  King Solomon’s Mines (1985)
  • Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (1986)

The movie was filmed simultaneously with its predecessor, King Solomon’s Mines, although it was released a couple of years later.

  • Back to the Future Part II (1989)
  • Back to the Fuure Part III (1990)

Filmed concurrently and released six months apart. 

  • Critters 3 (1991)
  • Critters 4 (1991)

 Filmed concurrently and released a year apart.

  • Blue (1993)
  • White (1994)
  • Red (1994)

 The critically acclaimed French/Polish trilogy by Krzysztof  Kieslowski.

  • Smoke (1995)
  • Blue in the Face (1995)

During and in five days after the filming of Smoke actors were shot adlibbing lines in character which eventually evolved into Blue in the Face.

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

The Lord of the RIngs films were filmed concurrently which involved fourteen months of principle photography and annual pick-up shoots over the next four years.  Easily the most ambitious movie production of its time and was well rewarded at the box office and by critics. 

  • The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
  • The Matrix Revolutions (2003)

 Filmed concurrently and released six months apart. 

  • Kill Bill, Volume 1 (2003)
  • Kill Bill, Volume 2 (2004)  (originally shot as one film; later edited into two separate films)

 With a running time of four hours Kill Bill was split into two parts and released six months apart.

  • Anchorman:  The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004?)
  • Wake up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie (2004) (the second film was a DTV effort assembled from deleted scenes and outtakes of the first).

Wake Up, Ron Burgandy was assembled from abandoned subplots and unused alternate takes.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

Filmed concurrently and released ten months apart. 

  • Jackass Number Two (2006)
  • Jackass 2.5 (2007)

 Jackass 2.5 was a made for TV compilation of deleted and unused scenes that were originally shot for Jackass Number Two.

  • Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
  • Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

Clint Eastwood’s two films depicting the  same battle from opposing sides they were released two months apart.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2011)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

Filmed concurrently and released eight months apart.   The highly successful Potter franchise broke the last book into two movie installments.  Worried fans thought it may be a cash grab by while the studio said it was the only way to do the book justice. 

  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I (2011)
  • The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II (2012)

Filmed concurrently and released one year apart.  

  • The Hobbit Part 1
  • The Hobbit Part 2

 Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth with the same strategy that he had success with for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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