These days it seems that Hollywood is only interested in one thing and that is to have a successful movie franchise. Rather than just making one excellent movie and telling a great story, Hollywood would rather stretch out that story over several movies in order to make as much money as possible. With the likes of the MCU, Harry Potter, and Star Wars leading the way, there is a lot of money to be made in movie franchises…if it is done right.
However, because a successful movie franchise and universe has become the Holy Grail in Hollywood, any semi successful movie will at least get a sequel, if not a franchise or even a reboot a few years down the line. While some of those movies are welcome by fans, others are not and not only are they not successful but they pretty much destroy any chances of a continuing movie franchise. Sometimes a franchise just isn’t worth it, and after a major flop like these movies, the plans are scrapped completely. With this list we look at 15 movies that killed their respective movie franchises.
15. Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
We start our list with a movie and franchise that really should have worked, and in fact we should still be watching now. Based on the very popular 1970s TV show, Charlie’s Angels was a show about three butt-kicking women who saved the day on a weekly basis. The subject matter sounds perfect for a movie franchise, so when the first Charlie’s Angel movie hit our screens in 2000, the fans and critics reacted favorably and a sequel was soon on the way.
However, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle was received so badly and performed so poorly at the box office, that the planned sequels were scrapped and the franchise was no more. Not even the star power of Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Cameron Diaz could save this franchise. Although, the three female movie stars haven’t really had much of a career after this bomb.
14. Jaws: The Revenge
When Steven Spielberg‘s Jaws hit our movie screens, it became an instant smash hit with fans and critics and even won an Oscar. With its great characters, plot, killer shark, and of course that tense and eerie soundtrack, Jaws became one of the biggest movies in history. Because of that, we all knew that a sequel would soon follow. Although the story was pretty much the same, Jaws II was still a decent movie and did well at the box office.
Then came this franchises downfall with Jaws 3-D, which was a mess of special effects and tacky gimmicks. However, the thirst for Jaws was still out there with some people so we got Jaws: The Revenge. The movie was so bad that the moment the opening credits appeared on screen, the Jaws franchise was dead in the water and never to be seen again. Even the star of this movie, Sir Michael Caine, famously disowned the movie and said he has never seen it or has any intention of seeing it.
13. Amazing Spider-Man 2
Many people out there will say that The Amazing Spider-Man movies were always destined to fail, no matter how good they were. Not only is Spider-Man a very popular comic book character among fans, but it also hadn’t been that long since Spider-Man was last on our movie screens in the very popular Sam Raimi trilogy. Considering that this reboot came quickly after the previous Spider-Man movies, made many fans feel cheated as the new reboot seemed pointless.
However, when The Amazing Spider-Man hit our screens, many fans and critics were surprised at how good it was and the movie did well. So well in fact that Sony planned several sequels as well as an extended Spider-Man universe. But then The Amazing Spider-Man 2 came out and all that planning went out the window. It performed so poorly that Sony actually signed a deal with Marvel to put Spider-Man in the MCU rather than trying to make another movie.
12. Alien: Resurrection
Next we come to a movie franchise that has the dual honour of having one of the most successful movies of all time in its franchise but also having one of the worst movies ever made. The Aliens movies started out with Ridley Scott‘s Alien, which many fans out there consider to be one of the best, if not the best, science fiction movie ever. We then got Aliens, which again, is considered to be one of the best sequels ever made.
So with the success of the first two movies, a third was inevitable. Although Alien 3 wasn’t a great movie it was still good enough and popular enough to get a fourth instalment of the Aliens franchise. However, with Alien: Resurrection, we got the movie that ended the Aliens franchise. The planned sequels were all scrapped and it took years for anyone to even consider revisiting the franchise. We now have Scott’s prequel movies out, and they are doing well but not well enough to erase the memory of Alien: Resurrection.
11. Beverly Hills Cop III
During the 1980s, Eddie Murphy become one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. The fast-talking funny man exploded on our screens in such movies as Trading Places and 48 Hours. However, it was his role as cop Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop that made Murphy a megastar. The fast-paced action comedy became a smash hit at the box office and its sequel, Beverly Hills Cop II, did just as well.
However, when Beverly Hills Cop III hit our screens, the love and enjoyment for Axel Foley faded with fans and so did the franchise. Everyone involved in this movie, including Murphy himself, slammed the movie and the fans agreed. The planned fourth movie was scrapped and each year there has been talk of a sequel or reboot but it has yet to happen. Beverly Hills Cop III left a big stain on this franchise that it has yet to recover from.
10. Superman IV
With our next entry, we actually have two movies that killed off the original Superman movie franchise. No, actually make that three. The original Superman movie flew onto our movie screens back in the 1970s and became an instant classic, as did its follow-up movie Superman II. To this day, many fans out there still argue that Christopher Reeves is the ultimate Superman and it’ll be a long time until another actor takes that crown away from him.
After Superman I and II came Superman III, which, although not a great movie, it still did well and more sequels were planned. Not only sequels, but a mini Superman universe. So then we come to Superman IV: Quest For Peace and the spin-off movie Supergirl. Both of which bombed hard at the box office, so much so that it would take decades for The Man of Steel to be seen again. So we then got Superman Returns, which actually fit into the franchise after Superman II, ignoring every other movie. Although the movie did well at the box office, fans and critics didn’t warm to it and the planned reboot never happened. That is until years later when a complete reimagining of Superman came along with The Man of Steel.
9. Star Trek: Nemesis
It’s fair to say that Star Trek has dominated the science fiction genre for decades. With its groundbreaking TV show, Star Trek: The Original Series, and its follow up TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek has dominated the small screen for years. In between all the TV shows, both the original Star Trek crew and The Next Generation have enjoyed a lot of success at the box office. Over the course of many movies, the Star Trek brand seemingly was never going to end on the big screen.
That is until Star Trek Nemesis was released. Even the most die hard Star Trek fans couldn’t save this movie from bombing at the box office, so much so that further sequels, which had already been written, had been scrapped and Star Trek as we know it was taken off the big screen. Recently Star Trek has seen a boost with J.J Abrams’ reboot of the original crew, but that still doesn’t take away the fact that, for a moment, Star Trek Nemesis pretty much killed one of the longest running and biggest franchises in the world.
8. Terminator: Genisys
We now come to a movie franchise that follows a similar path to that of Aliens. As we’ve already mentioned on this list, the Aliens movie franchise has had its ups and downs but started out very strong. The same can be said for The Terminator series of movies. The first Terminator was a groundbreaking smash hit and its follow-up, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is arguably the best sequel ever made, with the possible exception of The Godfather Part 2.
The first two Terminator movies redefined the science fiction genre and pretty much influenced every science fiction movie that came out afterwards. However, not only were more Terminator movies not needed, after all, the first two movies told the story perfectly. But with each sequel, the franchise became worse and worse. Both Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines and Terminator: Salvation both did badly with critics and fans, but it was actually Terminator: Genisys that killed this franchise. James Cameron should have just stuck with the first two movies.
7. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For
Comic book adaptations can be a tricky business in Hollywood. As we’ve already seen from this list, and will see again, not all comic book movies are successful or popular. However, when Robert Rodriguez adapted Frank Miller’s highly popular Sin City comic book, it blew everyone away. With its distinct style, incredible cast, and sticking very close to its source material, Sin City became a hit with both fans and critics.
Because of the surprise success of Sin City, a sequel was started right away. However, because of several problems behind the scenes, it took nine years for the movie to come out. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For not only didn’t do well at the box office but no one seemed to notice that it came out at all. The movie itself isn’t bad and stays in tone with the original. We feel that this movie, and subsequent franchise, failed just because of timing. If the movie came out a few years earlier it might have done better. But it doesn’t look like Sin City will be on our movie screens again anytime soon.
6. Spider-Man 3
Everyone’s favorite neighborhood Spider-Man has already had an entry on our list. With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 effectively killing off the rebooted Spider-Man franchise, we now turn to the original Spider-Man movie trilogy. When Sam Raimi brought Spider-Man to the big screen for the first time, it was a huge box office smash and his follow-up, Spider-Man 2, not only did better but many people at the time considered it to be the best comic book movie ever made.
With all that success and critical acclaim, it looked like Spider-Man would continue on the movie screen for many years to come. However, we soon got Spider-Man 3 which was not only a box office disappointment but was also panned by critics. With too many characters, overly complicated plot, and not to mention Peter Parker’s ridiculous dance scene, Spider-Man 3 effectively killed Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise.
5. Batman And Robin
We’ve already mentioned the comic book giants Superman and Spider-Man, now it’s time for The Dark Knight himself, Batman. On TV, Batman had been a permanent fixture during the 1960s with Adam West donning the cape in the slightly camp, yet fun, TV show. But it wasn’t until 1989 when Tim Burton took on The Dark Knight did we get a darker and more “comic book” worthy Batman. The first Batman, and its sequel Batman Returns were box office smash hits and led to the third, Batman Forever. Although Batman Forever wasn’t as well received as the first two, it still pushed the franchise to doing more movies.
Then came Batman and Robin, and in one fell swoop, The Bat Family’s life on the big screen ended. This George Clooney led movie did so bad at the box office and with critics that many people, to this day, regard it as not only the worst comic book movie ever but one of the worst movies ever made. It was so bad that The Dark Knight himself was put on a high, dusty shelf, never to be seen again. That is until years later when Christopher Nolan restored Batman’s good name.
As if Batman and Robin wasn’t enough to essentially kill the Batman brand from the big screen, at least for a few years, they really did it with Catwoman. Although Catwoman wasn’t a sequel to anything, it was part of this early DC franchise, and therefore we will count it on our list.
Way back in the early 90s when Batman Returns hit our screens, the success of that movie, and in particular Catwoman, had movie executives demanding a Catwoman solo movie. However, it would take almost a decade for that movie to finally be with us. The movie wasn’t just bad, nor was it just a box office bomb or a critic’s nightmare, what it actually did was destroy everything that DC had tried, and often failed, to do, over the last few years. The character of Catwoman was dragged through the mud and this movie pretty much killed any love for the DC characters and any planned follow-up movies.
3. Die Another Day
James Bond is possibly the longest running, and one of the most successful movie franchises in history. The adventures of super spy James Bond have been a staple of our movie screens since the 1960s. However, when the 1990s hit, many people felt that Bond and his brand of movies were too firmly planted in the past and it was time for Bond to retire. But then came Pierce Brosnan and Goldeneye. Goldeneye showed the world that Bond was still relevant and exciting and the franchise got a much needed boost.
However, the success was short lived and just a few movies later we got Die Another Day. The movie was, and still is, considered the worst of the Bond franchise. With its overuse of CGI and gadgets, Die Another Day came so close to killing off the Bond franchise. The only way the producers could save Bond was to rest him for a few years and then completely reinvent and reboot him.
Over the last few years, children’s and young adult books have been a great source for movie franchises. Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games and The Twilight Saga all spring to mind. However, just because you have a popular or successful book series, doesn’t mean that this will translate on the movie screen.
This is the case with Eragon. Taking inspiration from the popular novels by Christopher Paolini, Eragon was built as an epic fantasy tale that was going to be the next big movie franchise. The plan was to adapt the series of Paolini’s books and build the next Lord of the Rings franchise. However, when Eragon was released, the critics and fans slammed it so much that the planned sequels were scrapped. With one single movie, a big budget franchise was cut dead in its tracks and it doesn’t look like it will ever be seen again.
1. Green Lantern
The number one entry on our list is a movie that almost destroyed any plans DC had for a movie universe. In today’s movies, DC, and the DCEU, are playing catch up with their rivals Marvel and their MCU. But before the MCU became the dominating force that they are, DC actually tried an all inclusive movie universe first.
DC’s original plan for a movie universe was to use The Green Lantern movie as a springboard to a franchise and series of movies involving some of DC’s best and most loved characters. However, The Green Lantern movie did so poorly and was so badly received by fans and critics that this universe was scrapped and it would take DC several years before they finally came out with their universe. By which time Marvel had already begun to dominate the movie and TV world.
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