James Cameron's Aliens arrived seven years after Ridley Scott's Alien. I was fifteen, and that was the longest time between an original and sequel I'd ever known. The fact that it was so different from the original made the movie stand on its own. Cameron only had his name attached to The Terminator at the time. We wondered, who was this guy? How could he be so new and so good? Can directors really start right out of the gate like this? This was the first time I noticed structure in an action movie. We were never confused, and had an Oscar-nominated performance by Sigourney Weaver, playing off the marines and the little girl Newt. She also played off the Alien. This was by far the most complete film of the summer.
Ruthless People ran second. That comedy by the Zucker brothers, after Airplaine! and Top Secret, used Danny DeVito and Better Middler to their best and fullest as comic actors. These two movies worked; not much else did, save Ferris Bueller's Day Off, still quoted today by some. These three movies declared themselves, were honest, and stood their ground.
Now, can this happen today? In this climate of a barrage of summer movies with several opening weekly? I'm not so sure, though it takes dreck for something good to rise out of it.