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The flop that became a surprise hit

When Grease was released in cinemas in 1978, its producers were all too aware of the power of a sequel. Although the musical would go on to become the highest grossing film of that year, it was beaten at the box office in its opening weekend by Jaws 2 – the follow-up to Spielberg’s hugely successful shark-attack horror. By then, film-goers were growing accustomed to successful movies spawning sequels, and Hollywood was relying on them to hook in an audience already sold on the original. A few years earlier, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II – which won the Academy Award for best picture – suggested that sequels could even improve on the original.