4 Disappointing Comedy Sequels Released 15+ Years After the Originals

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Can Jokes Stay Funny After 15 Years?

Zoolander 2
Paramount Pictures

Humor doesn't always age well. While the big screen comedy of masters like the Three Stooges, Mel Brooks, and others have appealed to multiple generations, the jokes in comedy films can get old after several viewings. That's the challenge that Zoolander 2 faced, since the Ben Stiller sequel was released nearly 15 years after the original 2001 hit. Jokes poking fun at the fashion industry of the late 1990s would likely seem dated in 2016 if Stiller and his co-stars attempted to rehash them.

Zoolander was only a modest box office hit in 2001 ($45.2 million at the U.S. box office), but has remained a popular favorite since its release. However, most comedy sequels that have been released over 15 years after the original have failed to find the success of the original classics that audiences loved.

Here are four long-in-the-works sequels that were considered failures compared to the original, a trend Zoolander 2 didn't change.

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'Blues Brothers' and 'Blues Brothers 2000' -- 17 Years, 231 Days

Blues Brothers 2000
Universal Pictures

Blues Brothers star and co-writer Dan Aykroyd reunited with director and co-writer John Landis for Blues Brothers 2000 18 years after the release of the original. Aykroyd's co-star John Belushi had died in the interim, and his character was replaced by a new character played by John Goodman. Belushi was sorely missed, and Blues Brothers 2000 was widely criticized for being far inferior to the original. Blues Brothers 2000 grossed less than a quarter of what the 1980 original made at the U.S. box office.

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'Vegas Vacation' and 'Vacation' -- 18 Years, 165 Days

Warner Bros.

Though most in the media kept referring to 2015's Vacation as a "reboot" of the four-film Vacation series that launched with 1983's National Lampoon's Vacation, it was actually a sequel even though it mostly repeated the story of the 1983 original. The latest sequel fared far worse with critics than the three "classic" Vacation movies (Vacation, European Vacation, and Christmas Vacation), and despite much higher ticket prices Vacation failed to beat the 1983 original and Christmas Vacation at the U.S. box office.

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'Dumb and Dumber' and 'Dumb and Dumber To' -- 19 Years, 333 Days

Dumb and Dumber To
Universal Pictures

While there was a Dumb and Dumber prequel (Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd) released in 2003, it did not involve any of the original cast or creative team so it's fair not to consider it a "true" sequel to the original.

Writers/directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly had been attempting to make a sequel to their Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels comedy classic for nearly a decade but the studio that had the sequel rights, Warner Bros., passed on it. After Dumb and Dumber To was released it was easy to see why -- most critics and audiences thought it was too much of a repeat of the original film. The sequel made about two-thirds of what the original made at the U.S. box office and didn't become an instant classic like the original.

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'The Odd Couple' and 'The Odd Couple II' -- 29 Years, 343 Days

The Odd Couple II
Paramount Pictures

By the time iconic playwright Neil Simon and stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau made The Odd Couple II, it already seemed like it had been done before. The original 1968 film was based on a play originally written by Simon and was followed by a popular television spinoff that ran from 1970 to 1975 (though Lemmon and Matthau did not appear on the series). Furthermore, Lemmon and Matthau had made seven other films together in the interim, including 1993's Grumpy Old Men, 1995's Grumpier Old Men, and 1997's Out to Sea.

So even though The Odd Couple II had one of the longest gaps between an original movie and its sequel, it didn't seem that long since Lemmon and Matthau were frequent collaborators. Sadly, time was not kind to the official Odd Couple sequel -- it was savaged by critics and made less than half the original did at the U.S. box office. Considering the average movie ticket price was three times higher in 1998 than it was in 1968, the Odd Couple reunion sold far fewer tickets and was mostly forgotten soon after its release.