Sometimes, movies get made and they’re such big successes that the studios who produce them realize that a sequel is a goldmine waiting to happen. Other times, movies are written with a sequel already in mind. Whether it’s an adaptation of a popular book, a production that really only makes sense as a trilogy, or an idea that can’t be told over the length of one single film, producers plan on the second, and sometimes the third film hitting the theaters and making the Hollywood studios big bucks.
Despite all the good intentions, even the best of plans don’t always work out so well. There are movies that were expected to do so well, but performed so poorly that the studios behind the projects had no choice but to bail on the next film. What was supposed to be a blockbuster turned into a dud and nobody wants to be the person who greenlit a movie everyone knew would fail, based on the flops that preceded it. Thus, the scripts sit on the shelf collecting dust.
Sometimes, it’s not about money. Sometimes, it’s about people. There are films that studios thought would be followed by another but the actors or directors simply walked away. Not ready to go down that road again, without the driving force behind the films, there was no realistic way to make them; thus, they died as only an idea.
Regardless of the reasons, there are literally tons of movies out there that were meant to have sequels but didn’t. Once you realize what happened, you might understand why.
The A-Team movie was supposed to be a huge blockbuster hit that turned into more films. Based on the ’80s television program, the recreation starred Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, and Liam Neeson while bringing aboard interesting choices like UFC star Quinton Rampage Jackson to play B.A Baracus.
The film had a $110 million budget but only grossed $77 million domestically. It probably didn’t help that the film was released during the World Cup of Soccer. While all the actors seemed on board to do another film, the box office results effectively stopped the planned sequel(s) dead in its tracks.
Producers had hoped that the film would lead to a series of movies (a la Mission Impossible), but even the stars knew things were in trouble once they saw the numbers. Financially, they all understood that the money wasn’t there and they moved on to other projects.
Jumper was a film about teleporters hunted by Samuel L. Jackson, and it starred Jackson himself, Hayden Christensen (Star Wars fame), and Rachel Bilson. The film was released in 2008 and was meant to be the first in a series of films adapted from the novels. But, when the box-office return was less than stellar, the sequels proved to be teleported to another world and nowhere to be found.
That is until just recently when it was learned that YouTube Red would be recreating the series for its subscription-based service. The film will become a TV series starring Maddie Hasson and about a 16-year-old girl who realizes just how different she is from her friends when she learns that she can teleport. This is the sequel nobody really asked for, so it’s difficult to predict how well it might do.
13. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The producers of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has lofty expectations. They believed it could be the kind of film that would gross $1 billion worldwide. Their predictions were a bit off—about $300 million to be more precise.
$700 million is hardly chump change, but once Sony (the studio behind Spider-Man) struck a deal to sell the rights to Marvel, this version of the teenage superhero died a less-than-heroic death. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and Amazing Spider-Man 4 never happened as planned. Spider-Man did come back to the big screen in the Avengers films and now has his own films starring Tom Holland. The only one who really got pooched out of this whole deal was Andrew Garfield who got left out of any future movies.
12. Kill Bill Vol. 2
Kill Bill Vol. 2 was not supposed to be the end of the series of films by director Quentin Tarantino and starring Uma Thurman. Vol. 3 was supposed to follow about 10 years after the last film’s fans got to see it and would focus on the daughter of Vivica A. Fox‘s character, Vernita Green, who sought revenge for the assassin’s death.
Before this film could be made, Tarantino announced his plans to retire, and when asked about making the third film, he said probably not. It’s not as if these Kill Bill films didn’t do well, because they did. But, they weren’t as critically acclaimed as some of Tarantino’s other films, and the director just sort of decided that he didn’t feel like doing another one.
11. The Golden Compass
Here’s a film that should have done much better than it actually did. It had a good story to adapt a screenplay from, a great cast, and a huge budget to be a spectacle that people would enjoy. But, it failed to get fans hyped and grossed only $70 million domestically. Once that happened, the sequels were squashed.
Actor Sam Elliot thought that the reason why the sequel never happened was because the Catholic church “happened” in the movie. The church did have an issue with the anti-religious feel of the film, and many called it a “war against Christmas.” Elliot figured that it scared New Line Cinema off from making another film. It could be that or it could be the film’s incredibly low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
10. The Lone Ranger
You wouldn’t think that the combination of Johnny Depp and Disney would be a failure. After all, they had such great chemistry on movies like Pirates of the Caribbean. But, once the film Lone Ranger was made, anything became possible.
A film that starred Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger (there was a mistake) grossed only $260 million after it cost $225 million to make. Considering that the marketing for the film was somewhere in the $150 million range, the film lost a boatload of cash. The idea that fans would flock to see a western was probably also a major miscalculation. The genre had died some time ago. This was one of those films that made people realize that Depp was not a surefire thing. You couldn’t just put him in your movie and know it would make money.
9. Green Lantern
The producers of Green Lantern had big plans for this franchise. At the very least, the idea was to make the film into a trilogy and include it in the DC Universe of films that might come later down the line. Then, the film was made and once people saw it, including the star Ryan Reynolds, any plans for a sequel were pretty much toast.
The film received almost exclusively negative reviews, and Reynolds hasn’t been shy about poking fun at the film now that he’s moved on to starring in other projects like Deadpool. Completely overloaded with CG and digital effects that made the film almost unwatchable, it was the kind of film that made fans think that there was no way that DC could compete with Marvel. The film will get a reboot as part of the extended DC Universe films that are currently being produced.
8. Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four had already been done. In fact, twice. But, the studio decided that a reboot of the superhero franchise was a good idea if the stars were younger, darker, and more hip. Directed by Josh Trank, the film was plagued by nothing but controversy, and his disputes with the studio even cost him his job directing one of the spin-off Star Wars films.
The film made $168 million on a $120 million budget. And when you account for marketing and other promotional costs, you can understand why people were not happy. There was a plan to make another film, but a couple months after it was announced, the studio just sort of changed their mind, and the franchise silently died. Probably not a bad idea, though; the film was really not good.
7. I Am Number Four
There were big plans to turn the young-adult series of books into whopping blockbuster successes, but the film I Am Number Four made people realize that it wasn’t going to be an easy task. You knew this film was supposed to have a follow-up because it left a billion little-unanswered questions. For example, what happened to John Smith, the alien from the planet Lorien (yep, kind of a big cliffhanger)?
The film only grossed $150 million, and the studio was shooting for more like $500 million. Needless to say, with that kind of miscalculation, the plans for any sequel were scrapped despite the fact that the film now made no sense if it didn’t have a follow-up. It probably didn’t matter too, as not enough people saw the original to complain all that much.
6. Superman Returns
Nearly 20 years after the last Superman was produced for the big screen, it was brought back with relatively unknown actor Brandon Routh. But, superhero films have been made before with a relatively unknown cast and have still done well. It wasn’t Routh’s fault that this film bombed compared to expectations. Instead, Warner Bros. got overconfident and announced a sequel before the first reboot even hit theatres. They probably wished they’d have waited to make the announcement since the film only grossed $391 million worldwide after spending $270 million to make. Since the studio was shooting for $500 million, when things popped up, they took the easy road and opted not to film the next installment.
Warner Bros. did come back later and make another Superman film in 2013. It was called Man Of Steel and also starred a relatively unknown Henry Cavill instead.
There have been rumors circulating for years that another Beetlejuice movie might get made, and there was even a fake poster that surfaced not too long ago that really had people talking. Then, when Winona Ryder said on a talk show that she was going to be in it, people went a little batty with excitement. The problem was that nothing was ever confirmed, and right now, there are no plans for another movie starring Michael Keaton as the naughty ghost who’s awfully good at haunting unwanted guests.
The sequel would have taken place in Florida where the original family from the first film were trying to build a resort. Since it was being built on an old cemetery, it inevitably led to ghosts wreaking havoc. This time, Beetlejuice actually helps and plays the hero. There are still people who want this film to get made, but to date, the pieces just haven’t come together, timing-wise.
4. Batman Triumphant
If you ask most fans, director Joel Schumacher absolutely destroyed the Batman franchise. If it weren’t for Christopher Nolan bringing back The Dark Knight, Batman could have gone down as one of the most iconic superhero movies to throw away a golden ticket, and the horrid Batman & Robin might have been how fans remembered these films. Amazingly, even after the stinker Schumacher put out last, Warner Bros. was going to make another installment and try to salvage what fans had grown to hate.
George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell would have returned to do battle against the Scarecrow (Jeff Goldblum), and Harley-Quinn would have been introduced as the Joker’s daughter. Jack Nicholson might have been asked about even making an appearance. Alas! Warner Bros. realized that Schumacher could only do more damage, and they scrapped the idea.
3. Terminator Genisys
Yes, we understand that the more the Terminator films get made, the more difficult it is to follow the plot and where exactly these characters are in the timeline of this Terminator Universe, but that doesn’t seem to stop the studios and producers from planning to make more of them.
Terminator Genisys was supposed to get made (there was actually a 2017 release date set for the film), but it ran into a couple snags. Actress Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones fame) bailed on the follow-up and while the movie made some money ($440 million), it wasn’t quite what the studio had hoped. Arnold Schwarzenegger is insisting that he’s on board for another one, so don’t be surprised to see it eventually happen. But right now, it’s a “no go.”
E.T. is one of the most celebrated films of all time. In saying that, some films are better left alone. The original was a huge box office success, and because of that success, director Steven Spielberg and his E.T. writing partner, Melissa Mathinson, decided to prepare a sequel. They put together a nine-page outline that included an evil race of E.T.’s that come to Earth, and the kids from the first film are captured. The original E.T. has to come back and save his human friends.
The major players from the first film, including Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, and Peter Coyote would have returned. But wisely, Spielberg changed his tune and didn’t want to make the sequel.
Thank goodness for that. The idea of taking the E.T. story in that direction could have and probably would have amounted to a movie that made money but completely destroyed the legacy of such an iconic first movie.
1. John Carter
John Carter proved that even the studios with the highest of reputations can take a total bath on a film. The movie cost $263 million to make and grossed only $286 million. When the huge budget for marketing that was worked in (a marketing campaign that was incredibly awful, by the way) hit, Disney ended up having to report a $200 million loss for that fiscal quarter. Not even Disney had the funds to greenlight another movie that bombed so badly.
The novels were purchased from the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and the plan was to make a trilogy. Once the first film flopped so badly, Disney gave the films back to the estate. If you’ve seen the insanely boring movie, you’ll understand why. There was nothing right about this film. Nothing at all.
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