When a movie studio agrees to fund a film, they often have franchises in mind. After all, why make only one movie when you can make several–earning tons of money in the process? Sometimes, these movies are natural candidates for sequels because they’re based on a book series. Others have sequel-potential because the story could go on forever.
Whatever the case, movie studios love sequels. But what happens when the first movie in the series doesn’t do as well as anyone thought? This is one of many reasons why some sequels never get made. They’ve been planned all along but end up getting canceled before the big premier.
Read on for our list of 7 movie sequels that got canceled before they could be released.
7. Mixed Reviews Prevent an Eragon Sequel
These days, it’s common and trendy for movie studios to create film adaptations of young adult novel series. We got it with Harry Potter, Twilight and the upcoming Divergent sequels. When you make a movie of the first book in a YA series, it’s almost like you’re printing money. Unfortunately, that plan never came to fruition with the Eragon movies. Eragon is based on the first book in the Inheritance Cycle by young author Christopher Paolini. Eragon came out in 2006. While it did well at the box office, earning $249.5 million worldwide, it didn’t do nearly as well when it came to reviews. Critics generally hated it, and it only has a 16% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Because of this, they never made any of the sequels that followed the first book. Non-reading audiences will never know what happened to Eragon and his dragon.
6. Golden Compass Sequel Prevented by Bad Box Office and Catholic Church
Here’s another young adult novel series that never got the sequels it deserved. The Golden Compass was the first book in Philip Pullman’s trilogy of novels, His Dark Materials. The movie adaptation of the book came out in 2007 and had an all-star cast that included Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Before the movie was released, New Line Cinema Exec Toby Emmerich said that sequels would only happen if the first movie made enough money. In the end, it only earned $70 million at the North American box office. While it did much better in other countries–earning $372.2 million worldwide–the poor American reception was a nail in the coffin of the sequels. Another rumored factor for the cancelled sequels was the hatred for the movie by the Catholic Church. According to The London Standard, actor Sam Elliott said, “The Catholic Church … lambasted them, and I think it scared New Line off.”
5. The Se7en Sequel Gets Rebranded
Se7en was an immensely popular suspense movie from 1995 starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. It earned $327.3 million at the worldwide box office and won three MTV Movie Awards. Of course, after that kind of success, studio execs were clamoring to make a sequel. That’s when a script for a sequel, cleverly titled Ei8ht was created. It spent much time in the pre-production phase, but none of the key players from the original movie wanted anything to do with the sequel. At an event, David Fincher said of a Se7en sequel, “I would be less interested in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes.” Eventually, the script for Ei8ht was retooled and turned into the movie Solace, starring Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell, that comes out later this year.
4. A Roger Rabbit Sequel in Permanent Limbo
Remember the wildly popular Who Framed Roger Rabbit? from 1988? It was an adult comedy that paired animation with live action starring the late Bob Hoskins. It was a hugely successful movie and was the first “animated” movie to win four Oscars. It earned $329.8 million at the box office, so it’s not a surprise that studio execs would clamor to make a sequel. Still, it’s been over 25 years since the original came out and there’s still no Roger Rabbit 2 to speak of. It turns out that they started working on a sequel (set before the first movie during WWII) right after the first movie came out. Over the years, it had a lot of bumps in the road. Eventually, Steven Spielberg dropped out of the sequel. It had too many starts and stops to count, with so many people joining in and then dropping out. As of now, the original creator of Roger Rabbit, Gary K. Wolf, is still trying to get Disney to work on the sequel. We’ll believe it when we see it.
3. Roald Dahl Refused to Allow Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
When Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was released in 1971, it was a huge success. Gene Wilder‘s Willy Wonka captivated audiences and it has become a classic film with new fans ever since. While there have been many fans of the movie, there was one important person who absolutely hated it: Roald Dahl. See, Dahl was the author of the book that spawned the movie. According to BBC News, he was dissatisfied with Gene Wilder’s portrayal of the title character and was very upset at the changes made to the storyline. Because of this, Roald Dahl wouldn’t allow the sequel movie based on the book, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Considering that the first movie ends with Willy Wonka, Charlie and Grandpa Joe shooting off into the sky in a glass elevator, it seems like a bit of a disappointment that we never got to see what happens next.
2. Bill Paxton is the Only One That Wants a Twister 2
Disaster movies are quite common in Hollywood, but Twister did something a bit different: It was a film about tornadoes. Starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt, the 1996 movie followed a team of storm chasers as they worked to launch new tornado-tracking technology. It earned $494.5 million worldwide and was nominated for many Academy Awards. It even has a ride at Universal Studios Orlando. Still, after almost 20 years, Bill Pullman seems to be the only one trying to get a sequel made. When asked at Comic-Con 2013 about how he wanted to get a Twister 2 off the ground, he said, “I was. Well, I got Kathy Kennedy interested. I did a lot of research.” Unfortunately, the reigns are firmly in the hands of Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton’s estate, and neither side seems to be interested in this movie sequel.
1. Forrest Gump Sequel Waylaid by 9/11
Did you know that Forrest Gump, the Academy Award-winning 1994 film starring Tom Hanks, is actually based on a novel of the same name by author Winston Groom? The film adaptation did so well that Groom released a sequel novel, titled Gump and Co., less than a year after the film’s release. Seeing as there were legal troubles with the first film between Winston Groom and the filmmakers, it’s surprising that he’d ever agree to have his second book made into a movie as well. Yet, in 2001, the screenwriter who wrote the first movie, Eric Roth, wrote the script for Gump and Co. He handed it in on September 10, 2001. The next day, the 9/11 attacks occurred and it completely threw the film off track. In a 2008 interview with /FILM, Roth said, “The world had changed. Now time has obviously passed, but maybe some things should just be one thing and left as they are.”