Sequels have become a both popular and slightly controversial category of film in recent years. The 2000s and 2010s especially have been riddled with sequels, remakes, and reboots of originally beloved and classic films. Love them or hate them, every year produces a plethora of sequels, and last year was no exception.

It’s widely agreed upon in the film world that 2019 was a great year for the cinema. There were several films released last year that will no doubt be sustainable for years—even decades—to come. But it’s worth noting that a good portion of 2019 films were sequels, and, surprisingly, some of the years best films were sequels. Let’s take a look at some of the most successful and memorable.

9 Happy Death Day 2U

The first Happy Death Day film was released in October of 2017. While not exactly critically acclaimed, the slasher comedy brought to the big screen a refreshing take on the genre and had enough charm to gather a significant fanbase. Blumhouse’s quirky horror-comedy would become so successful with audiences that it was quickly greenlit for a sequel.

Happy Death Day 2U hit theatres in February of 2019. Expectations were rather low for this seemingly needless sequel, but, surpassing everyone’s notions, the black comedy served as a welcome addition to the first film.

8 Glass

The first film in what director M. Night Shyamalan would name the Eastrail 177 Trilogy, was Unbreakable, which had its theatrical release in November of 2000. The sequel, Split, hit theatres seventeen years later, and then, in January of 2019, Glass concluded the trilogy.

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Glass was very much created solely due to the success of Split. Although it is now often regarded as the weakest installment of the trilogy, Glass still wraps up the loose ends nicely.


7 Toy Story 4

However beloved the Toy Story film series is, many fans didn’t feel that a fourth film was necessary. The expectations for Toy Story 4 were low before the film’s theatrical release, but the charming animated comedy managed to prove itself not only necessary but pivotal to the franchise.

Though it was not originally planned after the release of Toy Story 3, this sequel quickly made its mark on audiences and is regarded as one of the best films to come out of 2019.

6 Annabelle Comes Home

The Conjuring film franchise has progressed notably since the release of its first film in 2013. The Annabelle films are a major part of this series, with at least a passing mention of the haunted doll being inserted into most films. The first Annabelle movie was released in 2014, the second in 2017, and Annabelle Comes Home was released in 2019, the latest installment of the series.

Annabelle Comes Home was the directorial debut of Gary Dauberman, who previously wrote the two other Annabelle films, as well as The Nun (2018). Even those who have grown weary of the infamous demon doll would agree that Annabelle Comes Home was much better than it was originally expected to be.

5 It Chapter 2

Stephen King’s 1986 novel had only been adapted onscreen once before Andy Muscietti’s attempt, with the somewhat infamous ABC 1990 miniseries. The story of It was a long and complex one, and, in 2017, many fans agreed that Muscietti’s adaptation did the novel justice.

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It Chapter 2 was released in September of 2019, chronicling the last half of King’s novel. Though Chapter 2 was not as surrealistic and outlandish as its source material, it’s rather beloved among fans, and it was easily 2019’s most anticipated horror movie.

4 Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil

As a part of the trend of giving old animated classics the live-action remake treatment, Disney released Maleficent in 2014. This film stood apart from the company’s other reboots since it revolved around and sympathized with the villain of Sleeping Beauty (1959).

Many fans love the uniqueness of Maleficent, but it was a general consensus that there was no need for a sequel. While that may be true, Disney released the follow-up, Maleficent: Mistress Of Evil, in October of 2019, and, however unnecessary, the sequel was a decent continuation of the story.

3 Doctor Sleep

The Shining is widely regarded as one of the most terrifying films of all time. Its status has not changed today, and it’s arguably just as loved as it was upon its initial release. In 2013, Stephen King’s follow-up to his 1977 novel was published. Doctor Sleep chronicled the life of Danny Torrance, grown up and still struggling with the events of his childhood.

Doctor Sleep was brought to the big screen by writer/director Mike Flanagan in 2019. Being a direct sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of The Shining, this film had a lot to live up to. While it doesn’t hold a candle to the original film, Doctor Sleep is certainly a fun trip down nostalgia lane.

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2 Frozen II

Despite the massive success of Disney’s Frozen, there was absolutely no need for any kind of follow-up. The film was best left as a standalone, but it was one of Disney’s most successful animated features, so, inevitably, it got a sequel.

Frozen II was released in November of 2019, and, although it didn’t quite live up to the magic and charm created by the first one, it was nice to revisit the story and beloved characters.

1 Jumanji: The Next Level

The original Jumanji film was released in 1995 and is regarded as a classic to this day. Because it has such a cult following, the announcement of a sequel was negatively received by fans. Nevertheless, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, surpassed expectations and saw significant success.

As would be expected, a sequel to the 2017 film was quickly greenlit, and Jumanji: The Next Level hit theatres in December of 2019. Against all odds, the sequel reached the same levels of success as its predecessor did.

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