Not quite a sequel, not quite an original property, let’s take a look at the spinoff. When a supporting character or idea is spun off into its own movie. It happens more often in TV, sure, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen in movies, too.
Spinoff films can be hit or miss – we either love them or hate them. Whether spinoffs are meant to revitalize a classic or expand the reach of a current hit, there are plenty of them out there for viewers of all tastes. From family friendly, animated features to vulgar, R-rated comedies, spinoffs span all genres of cinema.
So whether you’re a fan of the former, the latter or anything in between, you can certainly agree that Hollywood has provided us with some fantastic spinoff films over time.
So without further ado, here are the 10 Best Spinoff Movies of All Time.
10. Bad Grandpa (2013)
Not to be mistaken for the recent comedy starring Robert De Niro and Zac Efron, Dirty Grandpa (2016), Bad Grandpa has a very similar premise: a grandfather takes his grandson on a cross country road trip to return him to his real father. Fans of Jackass will recognize the raunchy, grandfather character as Johnny Knoxville’s very own Irving Zisman.
Following in the footsteps of the Jackass films, Bad Grandpa is first and foremost a hidden-camera prank film meant to catch the reactions of unsuspecting bystanders. While arguably milder than the antics undergone in the Jackass films, Bad Grandpa was the perfect spinoff film for the comedy series.
9. The Bourne Legacy (2012)
While most will recognize Jeremy Renner for his role as Hawkeye in The Avengers films, he has another standout role as the new hero for the Bourne franchise: Aaron Cross. Set at the same time as the events in the 2007 film, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Legacy follows Cross as his life is altered by the events of the first trilogy following Jason Bourne (Matt Damon).
Though reviews for the film were mixed, most critics agreed that Renner’s performance turned a potential disappointment into a film that Bourne fans wouldn’t want to miss, igniting a new appreciation for the original trilogy.
8. Creed (2015)
Perhaps one of the most recognizable, greatest underdog stories ever created, the Rocky franchise is nothing less than iconic. So when a spinoff hit theaters, fans were a bit apprehensive. But much to everyone’s surprise, Creed was an emotional, beautiful spinoff film that reinvigorated the franchise, drawing in the attention of a new generation as well as captivating its original audience.
Creed, a film that’s strong enough to stand on its own, brought aspects of the original Rocky film back to life, forcing viewers to remember why the original was so great. The spinoff shadows Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), son to Rocky Balboa’s first rival, Apollo Creed, as he seeks training from Balboa to follow in his father’s footsteps in a touching nod to an absolute classic.
7. The Wolverine (2013)
The second X-Men spinoff focusing specifically on Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (after the unfortunate X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009), sends Logan to Japan in a story inspired by a favorite from the comics. For many, it was seen as a necessary corrective, as the previous entry was notorious for many things, including the way it ruined the character of Deadpool.
Giving Wolverine a second chance at a solo film was a good idea for the franchise, as fans of the series deserved something better than the character’s 2009 entry. Better yet, the resulting action-packed film doesn’t leave room for boredom, something Wolverine fans can be thankful for.
6. Get Him to the Greek (2010)
The comedy, starring Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, is a spinoff of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the 2008 romantic comedy starring Jason Segel and Kristen Bell. In Get Him to the Greek, Brand reprises his role as British rocker, Aldous Snow, whom Aaron Green (Hill), is tasked with getting to his rock show in L.A., a task that’s much more difficult than it initially seems.
The chemistry between Hill and Brand is fantastic and the vulgar nature of Brand’s comedy paired with Hill’s versatile comedic abilities set this spinoff up for success, even if not initially expected. While it wasn’t a much-needed spinoff, the film exceeded expectations for many, giving director Nicholas Stoller yet another win.
5. Minions (2015)
Yes, the adorable yellow minions we fell in love with in Despicable Me (2010) and Despicable Me 2 (2013) were given their own animated spinoff film, headlined by voice actress Sandra Bullock. Following minions Stuart, Kevin and Bob, Minions gives the little guys’ backstory, revealing how they ended up with Gru (Steve Carell).
The animated flick was a hit with its audience and did pretty well with the critics, marking it as a success in that sense. However, it’s the lovable personalities of these yellow guys (even though they don’t really speak) that make the film such a hit. Minions are now some of the most recognizable animated characters, and their adorable antics will never get old.
4. Puss in Boots (2011)
The adorable yet vicious cat that everyone fell in love with in the second installment of the Shrek animated film series, Puss in Boots, got his own, animated spinoff film in 2011, and it was perfect. The animated, Zoro-inspired character (also, fittingly, voiced by Zorro himself, Antonio Banderas) starred in his own feature film, resulting in generally positive reviews and an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film.
The film goes backwards in time, revealing the feline’s backstory as a wanted fugitive and his struggle to clear his name. The events prior to his hairy first impression (and eventually friendship) with Shrek and Donkey give depth to the character and make him even more adorable than initially suspected (if that’s even possible).
3. This is 40 (2012)
The Knocked Up (2007) spinoff that many didn’t even know about, This is 40 has a mixed bag of reviews – viewers seem to either love or hate the film. In the film, Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd) are both nearing four decades on this planet. And as if that wasn’t enough to stress them out, both of their businesses are failing, their children fight constantly, they’re struggling to find money and their relationship is taking all the hits.
Though it departs from Knocked Up with more of a dramedy feel, the film depicts the truthfulness of relationships over the course of time. In a heartbreakingly hilarious depiction of life at forty (absent appearances from Knocked Up costars Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl), the film is a natural progression of the storyline, maturing its comedic elements to fit the content.
2. U.S. Marshals (1998)
Though certainly not nearly as good as its predecessor, The Fugitive (1993), U.S. Marshals follows US Marshal Samuel Gerard (with Tommy Lee Jones reprising his role) as he and his team are assigned a new case: to track down and capture murderer and robber, Sheridan (Wesley Snipes).
While it’s tough to follow up a Harrison Ford performance, U.S. Marshals does fairly well for itself, bringing back familiar faces (Joe Pantoliano) and new ones as well (Robert Downey Jr.). Though often referred to as a sequel of sorts, U.S. Marshals may bring back characters, but the plotline is new, the criminals are new and the film feels more like a standalone than anything else, which works in its favor.
1. Deadpool (2016)
A spinoff of X-Men, Deadpool follows a vulgar anti-hero after he undergoes an experimental operation that leaves him with healing powers and an agenda. The superhero comedy stars Ryan Reynolds in the self-deprecating, uncouth role and absolutely killed it at the box office, bringing home over $600 million worldwide to date.
The film is critically acclaimed almost universally and has even secured itself a sequel for release sometime in the next couple years – and it’s not even out of theaters yet! Deadpool isn’t just a spinoff – it’s the beginning of a new wave of superhero films that we didn’t know we wanted until now.
Are we missing your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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