When it comes to making a solid movie sequel, there are several things that often come to mind: bigger, louder, more expensive, but rarely better.
For most moviegoers, the first film in a trilogy or a larger franchise is impossible to beat, and it takes an exceptional movie to better its predecessor. Think The Godfather Part 2, Empire Strikes Back and Evil Dead 2 - all bigger, better and more accomplished than what came before.
The problem with movie sequels is the money that goes into them. For the most part, sequels are far more expensive than the original. The first movie will have a smaller budget in order to ensure there's a solid profit on a potentially risky idea, and if all goes well the sequel will be allowed to take more risks and spend more money in doing so.
For the following list, focus will be put on those rare sequels that were not only better than the original, but actually managed to cost less. This isn't to say that the first effort was in any way poor (though there are a handful examples of this), but it easily proves that bigger budgets are not always necessary...
8. Paddington 2 (2017)
When Paddington was released in 2014, it proved to be a rousing success. A sweet and touching feel-good family movie, it ran the risk of hitting all the wrong notes with its humour and blending of live-action and animated fun (see Peter Rabbit for how bad it could have been), but defied expectations to become a top film of that year.
Making nearly 300 million dollars from a 65 million dollar budget, it secured a healthy profit and a sequel was quickly commissioned.
Taking all the aspects that made Paddington so much fun, Paddington 2 proved that the first bear adventure wasn't a fluke, and that there was much more to see from the Brown family and their furry friend.
Just as heartwarming as the original, the film upped the adventures to eleven and never let up, constantly hitting audiences with well-placed gags for all ages and a great level of charm to boot.
Paddington 2 ended up costing only 40 million dollars - surprisingly less than the first film, and a pretty impressive statistic when you consider how much more there is to love in the latter movie.