When a film is successful, Hollywood is only too eager to crank out a sequel and capitalize on the box office goodwill as soon as possible. However, whether due to legal issues, studio squabbling, or plain ol’ writer’s block, sometimes film sequels take a surprisingly long time to get off the ground. Here we showcase the 10 longest time gaps in film history, counting all the way up to the No. 1 longest time gap between a film and its sequel.
10. “Chinatown” (1974) and “The Two Jakes” (1990) – 16 years
“Chinatown” was a brilliant film noir-ish movie starring Jack Nicholson that makes a lot of “best film” lists. The original screenwriter planned to pen a trilogy but the second film was delayed, mostly because original director Roman Polanski fled the U.S. in 1978 after pleading guilty to statutory rape. Jack Nicholson took the helm of the sequel, but it didn’t do very well, so the planned third movie was completely canned.
9. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) and “2010: The Year We Make Contact” (1984) – 16 years
Why such a long wait for a sequel to one of the most highly revered science fiction films of all time? The answer is simple: novelist Arthur C. Clarke didn’t publish a sequel to his short story “The Sentinel” (upon which “2001” was based) until 1982. So, actually, Hollywood jumped on making a sequel fairly quickly, with “2010” released two years later. According to Clarke, he called “2001” director Stanley Kubrick when the sequel novel was published and told him, “Your job is to stop anybody making it [into a movie] so I won’t be bothered.” Kubrick also showed no interest in making the sequel into a film, but he did give writer-director Peter Hyams his blessing, and “2010” didn’t turn out so bad, enjoying mild critical and box office success.