10 Movie Sequels That Changed Their Franchise's Genre

Shifting gears for the sequel is a high risk move but Aliens certainly made it work.

Aliens Ripley And Newt
20th Century Fox

Scenario: you are the hypothetical director of a hypothetical blockbuster movie, whose first entry has hypothetically made you all the money in the god damn world. You've made your studio a very happy bunch of old white dudes, and now they want you to do it again with the sequel. But you feel you've explored all the avenues possible with Aardvark Uprising. At least in the action genre. But changing genres between sequels could never work, could it?

It's a gamble to be sure, but when a filmmaker wants - or needs - to make a sequel to a standalone film, sometimes the best possible course of action is to shift gears into a completely different genre to tell a new story with the same basic tools. When it doesn't work, all you'll end up with are grumpy studios, grumpier investors, and your name being an obnoxious Twitter punchline for the peanut gallery.

But when it works, the filmmaker behind the move is heralded as a genius and visionary. So, now that you've been put in charge of directing Aardvark Uprising 2: Aardvarks In Space, you need to know how to best shift the genre of your sequel so it doesn't blow up in your face. These ten examples are as good a place to start as any.

10. Gremlins 2: The New Batch - Horror To Comedy

Aliens Ripley And Newt
Warner Bros.

Joe Dante's 1980's creature feature Gremlins had some people scratching their heads on its primary genre. It was a horror movie, a comedy, and a boy-and-his-dog movie all rolled into one, but people weren't quite sure where to place it in terms of which one of those three it embodied most at the end of the day.

Rest assured though, there was no such confusion with the next film, Gremlins 2: The New Batch. Despite sharing a director with the previous film, they may as well be two completely different movies, with Gremlins 2 being a straight up comedy, as opposed to the comedy tinged horror of the first Gremlins.

Which makes sense, seeing as how once you've seen the Gremlins running around and killing someone in the first movie, the horror tends to wear off, especially in the latter half, when you're wondering how they're going to top catapulting an old lady out of her house via her stair climber (spoilers: they don't).

And once the Gremlins start talking in the second movie, all horror goes out the window as you find yourself morbidly wanting these hilariously dastardly little monsters to wipe out the utter jerks that make up the human cast.

Admit it, you wanted to see them kill Hulk Hogan.

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John Tibbetts is a novelist in theory, a Whatculture contributor in practice, and a nerd all around who loves talking about movies, TV, anime, and video games more than he loves breathing. Which might be a problem in the long term, but eh, who can think that far ahead?