With audiences growing tired of “Spider-Man” or “Transformers” sequels, Hollywood now has a solution — go back to the ’90s.
“Dumb and Dumber To,” which opened to atrocious reviews 20 years after the original, still scored an impressive $36 million at the box office last weekend. (Read all the reasons why it worked from my colleague Brent Lang.) It shouldn’t have come as a surprise: the ’90s are hot again. This week, Twitter went nuts over a “Dawson’s Creek” reunion photo of James Van Der Beek and Joshua Jackson, while Focus Features announced “Can’t Touch This” (borrowing from the MC Hammer song), a ’90s-set high school dance-a-thon directed by Jon M. Chu. If Robin Williams had lived to star in “Mrs. Doubtfire 2,” it would no doubt have been a hit too.
As executives inevitably start to dig through the recycling bin of old titles that never got a second chapter, here are nine to consider.
(1) “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” (1997)
Domestic box office: $29 million
This is one of those films — like “Zoolander” — that didn’t find its core audience until later, with DVD and countless re-airings on TBS. The sequel could take place at the 20-year high school reunion for Romy (Mira Sorvino) and Michele (Lisa Kudrow). Speaking to E! News, Sorvino recently made a plea for a second chapter, saying that all the central players would return. “Disney, if you’re listening — everybody wants it!” Sorvino said. “Me and Lisa and Robin [Schiff, the screenwriter] would love to do a sequel. We have asked Disney before. It’s Disney that has to say yes.”
(2) “My Best Friend’s Wedding” (1997)
Box office: $127 million
This romantic comedy distributed by Sony Pictures rescued Julia Roberts after a string of ’90s flops, and its bittersweet ending left the door open for another installment. Would Julia’s scheming restaurant critic really give up on true love after she almost destroyed Michael’s (Dermot Mulroney) wedding? There had been talks about a sequel called “My Best Friend’s Divorce,” which never panned out, but just last year, Dermot Mulroney told Variety that the cast would still like to revisit their characters. “Julia and I talked about it, and she thought it would be an amazing idea,” he said.
(3) “The First Wives Club” (1996)
Box office: $105 million
This project is as troubled as most Hollywood marriages. Paramount has long wanted a sequel to this romantic comedy, but stumbled over salary negotiations with Goldie Hawn, Diane Keaton and Bette Middler. Then in 2011, the three leading ladies hinted it could happen with a Twitter reunion photo, which was followed by more silence.
(4) “There’s Something About Mary” (1998)
Box office: $176 million
If it worked with “Dumb and Dumber,” the Farrelly brothers could strike box office gold again with this rom com about the perfect girl (Cameron Diaz) and her nerdy suitor (Ben Stiller). Diaz is in a career lull following “Sex Tape” and Stiller always seems game for more sequels — just look at the various chapters of “Meet the Parents,” “Night at the Museum” and “Madagascar,” not to mention “Zoolander 2.”
(5) “The Mask” (1994)
Box office: $120 million
New Line once offered Jim Carrey $10 million to put on the green contraption for a second film, and when he refused, the poorly conceived “The Son of the Mask” (2007) was released without him. But now that he’s open to doing sequels again, maybe the studio will try again.
(6) “Liar Liar” (1997)
Box office: $181 million
Or Carrey could resurrect this comedy about a lawyer who could only tell the truth.
(7) “Kindergarten Cop” (1990)
Box office: $91 million
After he left his seat as governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger went on a deal-signing spree — another “Terminator,” “Twins” (called “Triplets”) and “Conan the Barbarian” (“The Legend of Conan”). But not “Kindergarten Cop.” At 67, Arnold is probably too old to wrangle grade-school kids as an undercover police officer. But the premise wouldn’t be any more ridiculous than “The Expendables 3.”
(8) “The Waterboy” (1998)
Box office: $161 million
To the horror of movie critics everywhere, there are so many ’90s Adam Sandler comedies that could get the sequel treatment — from “Billy Madison” to “Happy Gilmore” to “The Wedding Singer.” But this football underdog story was one of his biggest hits. He could release it as part of his four-movie deal with Netflix.
(9) “Election” (1999)
Box office: $14 million
If Reese Witherspoon ever wanted to bring back Tracy Flick, I’m sure millennials would endorse her candidacy.
Which ’90s hits would you like to see revisited? Hit the comments with your picks.