The prestigious House of Mouse has gifted the world some incredible gems in their long history, many of which have become staples in the childhoods of children everywhere. Their characters are some of the most famous in history, from the Genie to Mulan to Captain Jack Sparrow. To many diehard fans, it may seem like Disney can do no wrong. But if you clicked on this list, you know that to be untrue.
It’s a fact that Disney has released some breathtaking films through their expansive catalog, but that doesn’t mean every one has been praised. While their classics will most likely always be thought of as such, it’s when they have chosen to return to those tales where things have gone astray. Many of Disney’s straight-to-video follow-ups have included cheaper looking animation, different voice casts, and stories that either completely undo the character development of the original or piece together a half-baked story in an attempt to shamefully get kids excited.
Many of Disney’s sequels have become notorious over the years, garnering scathing reviews from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. While the ratio of critics is something that must be considered (some of them only received a handful of reviews), the majority of these movies have more than earned their low ratings. It’s time to delve into the darkest depths of what Disney has made unfortunate parents pay for. Here are 30 ridiculously bad Disney sequels with almost 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.
30 Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch: 40%
While 40% may not seem too low, it’s a pretty big dip from the original’s 86% and it’s easy to see why there was such a drastic change. This sequel picked up soon after the original’s ending and followed our heroes as they discovered programming bugs in Stitch’s DNA, leading him to act as crazy as he did at the beginning of the first one.
Having a sequel completely undo the character development of a main character is never a good idea.
What’s worse is that it makes the audience care less about everything as they’ve already witnessed this struggle.
29 Inspector Gadget 2: 40%
Here’s where you have to take a Rotten Tomatoes score with a grain of salt. This sequel stands at 40% with 5 reviews while the first (with Matthew Broderick in the title role instead of French Stewart) sits at 21% with 62 reviews. But trust us, this straight-to-DVD sequel is just as bad, if not worse, than the original.
The story is formulaic, tasking Gadget with stopping the villainous Dr. Claw again, but this time with the inclusion of another robotic crime fighter. With laughably bad CGI and a story that someone sleepwalked through writing, this one should definitely be skipped.
28 Leroy & Stitch: 40%
While this sequel also only holds 5 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, you’d be forgiven for asking why this even exists. It was released as the TV series was ending. The show was actually a fun viewing experience as it explored the 625 other aliens that Jumba created before Stitch, each of whom had different designs and personalities.
So what was Leroy & Stitch about?
A mad alien scientist who breaks out of jail to make an army of sinister Stitch clones to take over the universe. Yawn.
27 Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search For Christopher Robin: 38%
While the score of this particular Winnie the Pooh adventure may seem surprisingly low compared to others, it’s worth noting that it does hold a 71% audience score. So, maybe the critics don’t know what they’re talking about?
Not having the heart to tell Pooh that he’ll be going back to school, Christopher Robin leaves him a letter. But Pooh misunderstands, thinking he’s been taken away to Skull Island and sets out to rescue him. The story didn't exactly break new ground, but fan positivity has stayed strong leading to a special edition and Blu-ray release last year.
26 National Treasure: Book Of Secrets: 35%
National Treasure was a fun if not campy romp through the history books. Book of Secrets, however, not so much. The plot followed Ben Gates as he tried to clear his family’s name from the recent allegation that they had ties to John Wilkes Booth and his elimination of Lincoln.
As implausible as the first film’s plot was, it still allowed room for a certain suspension of disbelief.
Not only was this film’s story a bit too convoluted, but it also followed the exact same structure as the first. Go to a secret place, find a hidden item, repeat.
25 The Little Mermaid 2: Return To The Sea: 33%
As you’ll see, part of what makes Disney’s sequels much less likable, especially those of the home-release-only variety, is that they retread the same ground as the original. Just with worse animation and storytelling elements
The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea is guilty on each of these accounts.
Sure, it’s Ariel’s daughter this time. But it still tells the story of a young girl tricked by a sea witch and stuck in a world that isn’t her own and who must rely on others to help her. It doesn’t help that the music isn’t nearly as catchy.
24 The Return Of Jafar: 33%
First of all, look at that still image. The majority of what makes Disney’s straight-to-video sequels so hated can be seen right in this frame: the abysmally flat and cheap-looking animation. Return of Jafar and its sequel (you’ll see later) featured stories that were never meant to make it to the big screen.
But this one especially so.
It was originally intended to be the pilot of the TV series, which did end up running. But Disney made it longer to make it into a film and even the short 65 minutes dragged because of this.
23 Tarzan II: 33%
Disney films are revered for featuring stories that entice kids but are also enjoyed by adults. The same cannot be said of their straight-to-video sequels. While Tarzan II was in rare form, featuring animation that was at least close to the original, the story was clearly only meant for younger audiences and didn’t offer the character depth of the first.
Also, despite its name, the story is all about Tarzan when he was a kid. So for anyone looking for the emotional complexities of a man in world he wasn’t meant for, it’s best to look somewhere else.
22 The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning: 33%
As both this prequel and the sequel to The Little Mermaid have the same score, it’s up to the viewer to decide which is worse. But where the sequel essentially told the same story, this one doesn’t have much of one at all.
It takes place after the passing of Ariel’s mother when King Triton bans all music because of his grief.
And that’s about it for a good 77 minutes. There’s the obvious reconciliation at the end, but it was clearly only ever meant for kids who wanted something shiny to look at and catchy to listen to.
21 Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: 32%
Pirates of the Caribbean had already become a bloated mess of its former self by the time the third entry had hit theaters. But money doesn’t lie. So, despite having an ending, a fourth entry was of course released.
It followed Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow and a (mostly) new cast of characters in search of the fountain of youth. While the runtime was definitely more manageable than the third, it was all style and no substance. The franchise slipped steadily into every fantasy stereotype imaginable (there are mermaids in this one!) and Depp’s routine intoxicated performance had also grown stale.
20 102 Dalmatians: 31%
Not to be confused with the animated 101 Dalmatians 2: Patch’s London Adventure (which has a surprisingly high 67%). Glenn Close’s return as the villainous, puppy-hating Cruella De Vil couldn’t elevate the story in the same way it did in the first live-action film.
After being released from prison for her crimes in the first film, Cruella is back at it trying to make her dalmatian coat. It really is the same basic plot and without anything new, it was bound to drag. With a main character who still learns nothing by the end, why even bother?
19 Alice Through The Looking Glass: 30%
Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland wasn’t necessarily the most well-received foray into live-action Disney has produced. But it did make a billion dollars at the box office so here we are with this vomit-inducing, nonsensical CGI monstrosity of a sequel.
Admittedly, the charm of the classic Disney film is that it is nonsensical.
But when the plot tries to connect each segment featuring Alice’s bizarre encounters, the story does need some structure and at least a little bit of work. Here, they are all thrown together and made colorful in the hopes that the little ones will enjoy it.
18 The Hunchback Of Notre Dame II: 30%
The first The Hunchback of Notre Dame was praised for being melancholic, not only in terms of animation but of story. But a straight-to-video sequel, which I think I’ve proven by now are mostly cash grabs with popular characters, features none of the dark material found in the first.
Unlike many others, the majority of the voice cast returns.
Unfortunately, the bland animation is paired with an unsuitably lighthearted story that follows Quasimodo and his romantic interest, which many felt belittled the forlorn plot of the original.
17 Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World: 29%
There are many who rightfully believe Pocahontas to be incredibly insulting in how historically inaccurate its story was. Wonderful songs, lushly gorgeous animation, and entertaining sidekicks made it a hit for Disney, though it could’ve been handled better.
But the sequel is much, much worse.
It tells the story of Pocahontas as she heads to England in order to stop a war between settlers and Native Americans. In order to do so, she is taught how to behave in high society so that they won’t think her people savage. Even typing these sentences leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
16 Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: 29%
It should surprise absolutely no one that the fifth, and so far final, entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is the lowest scored. It should also surprise no one that the aspects of this film that were criticized are the same as the others.
We once again follow Captain Jack Sparrow in search of a magical artifact/location being chased by a problem that he created. With a new young and pretty couple along for the ride this time and a new undead villain, it all just felt like a watered-down version of everything we had seen before.
15 Aladdin And The King Of Thieves: 27%
And here it is. The ending to a series that many critics and fans believed never should have been longer than one film anyway. The story begins with the wedding day between Aladdin and Jasmine which is ruined by the Forty Thieves, who are in search of the fabled Hand of Midas that turns everything into gold.
Robin Williams returns this time as the genie and John Rhys-Davies voices Aladdin’s father, leader of the Forty Thieves.
The story itself is fine, though not very engaging. And it falls prey to the same problems of other straight-to-video Disney fare: low-quality animation.
14 The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement: 25%
The Princess Diaries was a charming yet fluff-piece of a movie that told an ugly duckling story and captivated young girls everywhere. And seeing as how this was its target audience, it did exactly what it set out to do. But it isn’t exactly a movie that screams, “Sequel!”
And yet a sequel was greenlit and chronicled the new princess as she struggled to choose between two Dukes to marry in order to be crowned the new Queen of Genovia. It’s a pretty paper-thin plot, but audiences still ate it up as it earned around $135 million.
13 Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves: 25%
Disney’s live-action movies have the ability to be a bit more grown-up than their animated films. Whether they choose to include more serious subject matter is irrelevant, but one that did was 1989’s Honey, I Shrunk The Kids. Remember the friendly ant and its soul-crushing demise?
Just how Disney’s straight-to-video animated sequels will feature plots that are more kid-friendly (in cases like these, devoid of intelligence) is Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves. Released 8 years after the first with only one returning cast-member, it solely relied on the gimmick of seeing normal things as gigantic rather than telling an interesting story.
12 Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver: 21%
It isn’t as if the first film was bursting with captivating plot points so no one should have expected anything more from the sequel. Part 2 follows the same kid and his best friend from the first film, just with basketball replaced by football.
The first entry may have warmed some hearts. But the story for the sequel, which followed the boy’s mom dating a new man, was as bland and predictable as an after-school special. This series has spawned innumerable (and I do mean that) sequels, but only the first two are scored on Rotten Tomatoes.
11 Stitch! The Movie: 20%
The lowest that Lilo & Stitch ever got was the sequel that was churned out almost immediately after the first film’s release. And the quality clearly suffered from that.
What’s worse is how insulting Disney’s approach to the story was.
This, along with Leroy & Stitch, served as bookends for the TV series. So this was more of an extended pilot episode that fans needed to buy before tuning in for the show. Not only is that pretty shameless, but the charm and love between the characters had seemingly vanished, making for an all-encompassing shallow movie.
10 The Fox And The Hound 2: 20%
Similar to The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, The Fox and The Hound 2 seemed to walk back all of the interesting and dark character development that made the first so emotionally important for young viewers.
It picked back up on Tod and Copper as the hound got a chance to run with a group of older hound dogs, causing friction between the two. There’s a lesson about true friendship buried under uninspired songs, but it doesn’t matter as that’s exactly the lesson the first one was supposed to teach anyway.
9 The Jungle Book 2: 19%
I’m probably going to sound like a broken record at this point, but The Jungle Book 2 really does follow the same story notes as the first. Just not in as compelling of a way. Mowgli, last seen leaving the jungle and joining the village of men, decides to leave his new home because he misses the jungle.
Shere Khan finds out, seeks revenge, and Mowgli sings and jokes with his animal friends in between the danger.
Unlike many others, however, this one was released in theaters. Disney really believed in this product, which actually hurts more.
8 Tarzan & Jane: 17%
Even when a Disney sequel tries to tell a fresh story that doesn’t follow the same steps as the original, it still ends up unremarkable and detached from the passion the first is built upon. Tarzan & Jane follows the titular couple as they try to do something special for one another during their one-year anniversary.
And with a story as dull as that one (there isn’t any sort of threat or villain), they may as well have just told the same story again. And with none of the returning voice talents, that leaves nothing to tempt or impress viewers.
7 Beauty And The Beast: Belle's Magical World: 17%
1991’s Beauty and the Beast was a massive success for Disney and was the very first animated feature film to be nominated in the Best Picture category at the Oscars, So, naturally, they would search for any means to keep that success rolling.
Belle’s Magical World wasn’t the only sequel it received. It was comprised of three segments, each more mundane than the last. And the animation was somehow worse than other straight-to video sequels. It’s akin to educational PC games in the 90s and Disney is far better than that.
6 George Of The Jungle 2: 17%
There are a plethora of cartoons that would never translate well to film. But to the movie’s credit, George of the Jungle adapted the slapstick-heavy animated series in a way that kids could enjoy.
That being said, the sequel is completely devoid of any form of intellect. Not that anyone should expect it.
It follows George as he must contend with the sinister pairing of his wife’s mother and ex-fiancée who try to get her back to normal society. One of the only positives critics could give it was that it may have made people want to watch the cartoon.
5 The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause: 17%
Trilogies can be risky as there are many cases in the history of film where the finale falls short of fan expectations. The Godfather Part III, Spider-Man 3, The Matrix Revolutions. And then there is the abomination that is The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.
The plot follows Martin Short’s Jack Frost who is sent to help Santa but really schemes to get him to quit so he can take over the holiday. Aside from how annoying Short is in the role, the special effects are abundantly poor, the jokes are painfully unfunny, and the story devoid of warmth.
4 Beauty And The Beast: The Enchanted Christmas: 13%
From one Christmas dud to another. A year before Belle’s Magical Adventure was released, Disney put out The Enchanted Christmas. It’s only around 70 minutes, but the majority of the plot follows Belle as she tries to get Beast to see the magic and wonder of Christmas.
If you’re wondering why he’s back in his Beast form when he was cured at the end of the first one, I honestly couldn’t tell you. The other characters are also inexplicably back to looking like household items. Paired with the thoughtless story is the low-budget animation. Of course.
3 Cinderella II: Dreams Come True: 11%
While there’s nothing wrong per se with splitting a movie into three segments to tell different stories, it does come off as a bit cheap when it’s presented as a continuous piece to the original. Especially if those three segments offer nothing interesting in the slightest bit.
It happened with Belle’s Magical World and it happened with Cinderella II.
Essentially, each segment serves to show the princess’s life after marrying her prince. But there’s a reason that happily ever after is never shown: it’s just so much more boring. It brought nothing new but cheap animation.
2 Kronk's New Groove: 0%
Kronk is the perfect supporting character in The Emperor’s New Groove. He’s hilarious but he doesn’t take attention away from the story at the heart of it all. Creating a film with him as the lead was a terrible idea as evidenced by this terribly unfunny sequel.
Sadly, the entire original voice cast was brought back to tell the story of Kronk as he prepared for a visit from his father. Kronk’s stupidity is a great source of humor, but only when used scarcely. There’s a good reason he wasn’t the main character in the first place.
1 Mulan II: 0%
Mulan is no doubt one of Disney’s most precious movies to some as it brought in an awesome, powerful female character who did her own saving for a company that mainly kept them as damsels and princesses.
And if you’ve noticed a pattern here, you could probably guess that the sequel undoes all of that by making the entire plot all about the romance.
Not only does the story make every once-likable character despicable (even Mushu isn’t safe), but every problem the story creates is fixed by lazy storytelling devices for the sake of plot convenience.