This week reports surfaced online that we'd be getting another installment of Wayne's World. Sadly, it was just a rumor. But it got us thinking of other sequels that are definitely coming down the line.
1. Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)
There's already a tentative release date: March 18, 2016. According to the Los Angeles Times, in a first for any Hollywood animated feature film, this new installment will be made in China as a co-production. It's too soon to know what Chinese animation will add, as Oriental DreamWorks only launched this past February. The deal allows the studio to take 50 percent of box-office ticket sales in China compared with the typical 25 percent for foreign films there. However, worldwide distribution of the film isn't expected until 2017.
2. Finding Nemo 2 (2016)
This summer, the rumors turned into an inevitability when Nemo director Andrew Stanton confirmed that he'd be returning to the depths of the ocean for a sequel to the hit 2003 film. Stanton has won Academy Awards for the first Nemo and Wall-E, but after his live-action blockbuster John Carter flopped, Stanton opted to return to his bread and butter in the animation studio. The news only added fuel to existing speculation that Pixar may order more installments from other perennial winners like Toy Story, Wall-E, and Up. After the re-release of the first Nemo in 3D earlier this year, there's clearly a built-in audience counting down the days until 2016.
3. How to Train Your Dragon 3 (2016)
Confused, because you don't recall the second one coming out? That's because the first sequel to the massively successful How to Train Your Dragon is slated to open on June 20, 2014. And the DreamWorks team is so confident that it will also be a smash hit that a third film is already on the schedule. It makes sense once you consider that the series was thought of as a trilogy. Director Dean DeBlois is reportedly on board with the plan. DreamWorks' full schedule shows that it plans to release three to four movies each year over the next few years, with its core mission being to keep the winning franchises fresh in people's minds in hopes of selling large amounts of licensed merchandise along the way.
4. The Avengers 2 (2015)
Marvel Studios announced in August that the next film in the franchise will come on May 1, 2015. During the interim, fans will get more films based on their favorite characters: Iron Man (May 2013), Thor (Fall 2013), and Captain America (Spring 2014). It'll be up to writer/director Joss Whedon to weave together all those storylines—but if the first Avengers film was any indication, he's up to the task. But some fans believe the final release date could get pushed off as a result of the additional work involved. Stay tuned.
5. Star Wars: Episode VII (2015)
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm earlier this month, it announced that it plans to make more Star Wars films—and fans went wild. The first film is slated for a 2015 release. No director has been chosen for the project as of yet, but according to reports, "Screenwriter Michael Arndt 'has already written a treatment for the next three Star Wars films and is in line to write the script for Episode VII.'"
6. Avatar 2 (2015)
Originally, Fox executives hoped to have this sequel open in 2014, but the release date has been pushed back to 2015. Maybe it's taking so long because director James Cameron is reportedly filming both the second and third films at once. As of this summer, Cameron was still working on the script and hadn't begun shooting. What's clear, though, is that Cameron has some new tricks up his sleeve. "We can have Chinese Na’vi; [and in the live-action sequences] we can also have Chinese actors who speak English in the film," Cameron said in September. "We are projecting a future in Avatar, and if you project that future out, it is logical that there would be a number of Chinese amongst the contingent on Pandora."
7. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (2015)
Francis Lawrence, currently directing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (due out November 2013), recently agreed to helm the rest of the series. Lionsgate split the final novel into two parts; the first half hits theaters November 2014, and Part 2 is set for November 20, 2015. It seems like a good strategy after the first installment grossed nearly $700 million worldwide.
8. Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)
Sony Pictures Animation confirms that a sequel to Hotel Transylvania has been ordered and is scheduled for release on September 25, 2015. Since the news came down just two weeks ago, very little else is known, even whether director Genndy Tartakovsky is attached to the project. It's another good example about how money talks in Hollywood. According to one writer at MTV, "It wasn't received especially well by critics, but it broke the September box office slump and that's all that counts."