Meatballs Part II was released on July 27, 1984, by TriStar Pictures. Unlike its predecessor, the film received harshly negative reviews and a paltry return at the box office. The New York Times said the sequel suffered from “Pallid writing, awkward acting, familiar situations and tired jokes.”

The original Meatballs gave Bill Murray his first leading role in a motion picture. The actor’s comedic charm, coupled with the contributions of screenwriter Harold Ramis and director Ivan Reitman, turned the low-budget comedy into a bona fide hit. None of the aforementioned trio returned for Meatballs Part II, which featured a new star, writer and director in their stead.

These issues were emblematic of those that plagued many ‘80s sequels. Throughout the decade, a long list of films looked to capitalize on the success of their precursors only to fall flat. Common stumbles included a similar lack of returning stars, plot problems and a gross miscalculation of audience demand. In some cases, they endured all three.

Still, studio executives saw sequels as a chance to cash in on already established brands. Even as these follow-up films consistently faltered, producers continued writing checks.

UCR assembled a list of 25 ‘80s sequels that should not have been made. To be included, a film had to fall significantly short of expectations established by its predecessor. We also limited our scope to movies released within the decade, meaning classic bombs like Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993) will have to wait for another list.