A movie that turns into a box office hit always leaves people clamoring for more, and movie producers very often see a cash cow that they just can’t stop milking in order to quench the public’s thirst. And so, sequel after sequel is made. There are some film franchises with dedicated fan bases who can’t get enough – even after 20 sequels. You’ll rarely hear Star Wars geeks groan in annoyance at yet another Star Wars installment, or Marvel fans sigh in disappointment if they hear that an eighth X-Men movie with another Wolverine storyline is in the works.
But there are those movie franchises that have, it’s almost unanimously agreed, long overstayed their welcome. Perhaps some producers are desperately clinging to the illusion that fans still want more, have become dependent on the more or less reliable but uninspired moneymakers – or maybe they’re just fresh out of ideas for new movies?
10. Scream (4 films)
All slasher movies have the token trademark villain costume and in the case of the Scream franchise, it’s the ghostface mask that the killer always dons. At the time the original movie showed in 1996, the screamfest horror genre had dwindled into near obscurity. Scream was responsible for its revival, combining the cliché gore with a sinister humor to add to its campy appeal. And because of its success, the franchise has had four films, plus an upcoming TV series.
9. Transformers (4 films)
Critics and fans of the Transformers toys and animated show were greatly disappointed by the series of films directed by Michael Bay. Depicting a group of alien robots who come to earth, purists complained that the movies’ storylines were shallow and the characters grossly underdeveloped. But what makes the Transformers films such giants in the box office – some of the highest grossing movies of the 21st century – are their action sequences and special effects. Despite mixed-to-awful critical responses, the fifth and sixth films are currently in the works.
8. Final Destination (5 films)
With tragedies like exploding planes happening in real life, it’s a cheap and morbid thrill for moviegoers to watch films with this theme in reel life. The Final Destination franchise originated with a movie that centered on the explosion of Flight 180, foreseen by passenger Alex Browning. When he and some fellow passengers get off the plane and the plane does explode, he realizes that they were meant to be on that plane, after all, but they escaped death and it follows them. The four ensuing films follow suit in terms of plotline: premonitions of death, narrow escapes and brutal comeuppances.
7. Home Alone (5 films)
Macaulay Culkin charmed his way into our hearts as Kevin McCallister in the first two Home Alone movies, which were by far the most successful in the series. But since Hollywood is what it is, milking a cow for all its worth, three more sequels were made. The third grossed significantly less than the first two and the fourth and fifth were merely made-for-TV movies that many never even heard of, let alone watched.
6. Highlander (5 films)
“There Can Be Only One” – the Highlander movie didn’t stay true to its famous tagline. Following the travails of immortal Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod in a mix of flashbacks and present-day scenes, the first film was only moderately successful. But despite this, producers went on to make four more films, all of which were panned by critics and bombed at the box office. Why make five films (with a sixth reportedly in the works) if all were virtual flops? It’s one of those Hollywood mysteries.
5. Child’s Play (6 films)
Everyone who’s ever owned a doll was freaked out when the first Child’s Play movie hit the theatres. Yes, it’s a campy horror flick, but the very thought of your doll being possessed by the spirit of a dead serial killer is enough to make your hair stand on end. A total of six films were made in the franchise, despite the mediocre box office profit and below average movie reviews.
4. Police Academy (7 films)
The first couple of Police Academy films were side-splitting hilarious. A group of delinquent misfits join the police force and are trained by equally incompetent police officers. But somehow, someway, these “losers” manage to save the day, in their own crazy way. But by the time the fourth film rolled around, many felt that the novelty was wearing off. That didn’t stop producers from creating parts five, six, and seven (with part eight in the works), apparently ignoring the declining numbers in the box office.
3. Puppet Master (10 films)
Horror flick fans seem to have a penchant for children’s toys that turn out to be evil – clearly, otherwise the Puppet Master franchise wouldn’t have a total of ten films. Revolving around a group of puppets under an Egyptian spell, the original film depicts the puppets as evil, going on a killing spree. But the puppets aren’t evil in all the consequent movies: Some are even depicted as protagonists. Whatever the scenario, this franchise – despite its pretty niche fanbase – had enough of a cult following to produce a total of ten films.
2. Halloween (10 films)
Michael Myers is the boogeyman of the Halloween franchise. The formula is typical: disturbed young man terrorizing folks from a suburban town and killing each of the characters one by one in a gruesome way. And of course, it all happens on Halloween. Because of the success of the original movie in 1978, producers went on to film nine more sequels, spanning 36 years — the latest (and hopefully last) was released in 2009.
1. Friday the 13th (12 films)
Though the Friday the 13th slew of films has been consistently lambasted by critics, it’s still unbelievably well-known by moviegoers. In fact, Jason’s hockey mask is one of the most recognizable and iconic items in horror culture. The original movie’s antagonist is actually Jason’s mother, who goes on a killing binge in a summer camp site to avenge the death of her young son, Jason. The succeeding movies show a somehow live and grown-up Jason carrying on what his mother started. Twelve films and 34 years later, we wonder if producers are cooking up yet another film to make it lucky number 13?