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I mean, in the history of cinema, how many sequels that were only planned after the success of the original movie were actually good (never even mention better)? The Toy Story sequels, for sure. Terminator 2, Captain America 2, X-Men 2... that's about it, right? 95% of sequels are exactly as Nosebiter described them.
ALIENS, THE WRATH OF KHAN, BACK TO THE FUTURE II (kind of; the ending of BTTF1 was certainly a cliffhanger, but they only revisited and planned 2 and 3 after 1 was a huge success).
This is a bit different because Del Toro did plan out at least two (possibly three) films whilst the first was still being written.
del Toro dropped At the Mountains of Madness for this?
The studio passed, apparently after (questionably) deciding that the premise was too similar to PROMETHEUS. Also, when they were talking about it, they wanted it to be PG-13 which Del Toro was not down with (he's since changed his mind, however).