When a movie is successful at the box office or gains any kind of following, studios are eager to follow up. There was a time when sequels were largely unheard of. The theory was always that a sequel could never surpass or equal the success of the original. However, a few sequels proved to be the exception to the rule, such as The Godfather Part II, Aliens and The Empire Strikes Back. Sequels are much more common now and just about every film is set up with the idea of continuing the franchise. However, not every movie should have a sequel.
There have been a lot of successful sequels that are critically acclaimed. However, there are far more sequels that completely bombed. They tarnished the legacy of the original or the entire franchise. They failed to equal the success of the original and were despised by critics. Most fans ask themselves why these sequels were even produced in the first place. On the other hand, fans were lucky enough to dodge some serious bullets. Studios have attempted to make several sequels to classic movies that would have done damage to the franchise. These sequels never ended up happening but they were still considered and in some cases, were close to happening. However, for various reasons the sequel fell through and never came to fruition. Unfortunately, that can’t be said for every sequel. Here is a look at 8 Movie Sequels That Thankfully Never Happened and 7 That Ruined A Franchise.
15 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off 2 (Thankfully Never Made)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is one of the most cherished teen comedies of all time. In fact, it’s one of the best comedies from the 80’s. John Hughes directed and it starred Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller. It was released on June 11, 1986 and became a worldwide hit. There has been talk over the years of making a sequel. Broderick and Hughes considered doing a sequel about either Ferris’ first day of college or first day of work but never found an idea that excited them. At one point there was heavy consideration to do a sequel on Ferris’ 40th birthday. Ferris is a motivational speaker and begins to go through a mid-life crisis. He convinces his business manager Cameron (Alan Ruck), to take a day off from work. There was potential that the sequel could end up happening. However, John Hughes died in 2009, which pretty much put an end to any possible sequel.
14 Grease 2 (Ruined A Franchise)
Grease 2 didn’t just ruin a franchise, it put an end to a franchise. The beloved musical Grease was released on June 16, 1978 and starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. It became a cultural phenomenon and has a lasting impact that is still felt. The film launched the career of the stars and features several memorable songs. However, the disastrous sequel almost put an end to all of that. Grease 2 was released on June 11, 1982 and was met with negative feedback. It starred Maxwell Caulfield and Michelle Pfeiffer. Initially, the film was the second film in a planned franchise that would also include a television series. However, those plans were all scrapped when Grease 2 ended up being a huge failure. Famed movie critic Roger Ebert, said about the film, “This movie just recycles Grease, without the stars, without the energy, without the freshness and without the grease."
13 Forrest Gump 2 (Thankfully Never Made)
Forrest Gump was released on July 6, 1994 to universal praise and critical acclaim. It starred Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump and won Hanks his second of back-to-back Academy Awards. Additionally, the film won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was based on the 1986 Winston Groom novel of the same name. Later, director Robert Zemeckis and writer Eric Roth began to work on a sequel that was based on Groom’s 1995 sequel novel, Gump & Co. The script begins after the 9/11 attacks as Forrest waits for his son to return home from school. They decided not to move forward with the script because they felt it wasn’t “relevant anymore”. However, in 2007 the studio looked at the script again and considered making the sequel.
In 2008, Roth said, “Now time has obviously passed, but maybe some things should just be one thing and left as they are.”
12 Rocky V (Ruined A Franchise)
At one point it seemed that the Rocky franchise was down for the ten count. The fifth film was a major letdown for audiences. However, the ultimate underdog eventually found its redemption and made a major comeback. The Academy Award winning Rocky was released to critical acclaim on December 3, 1976 and starred Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. The second film in the series was met with similar reception. The third and fourth films are cherished in their own ways and loved by fans. Rocky V was released on November 16, 1990 and is despised by fans and critics. At the time it appeared that the fifth film was the knockout punch that put the series down. Stallone admitted that the film disappointed him as well. However, the franchise has been revived with the beloved sixth film Rocky Balboa, and the critically acclaimed spin-off Creed.
11 Casablanca 2 (Thankfully Never Made)
There are some classic films that should just be left alone. The original film is perfect and there is no way to follow up on the story. However, that’s never stopped a studio from trying to cash in on a major success. The critically and commercial acclaimed Casablanca was released on January 23, 1943. It’s often ranked amongst the greatest films of all time. The film has a lasting impact and transcended time. Immediately, work began on a sequel that thankfully never saw the light of day. It was titled Brazzaville and would have likely picked up where the original left off. In 1974, director Francois Truffaut turned down an opportunity to remake the film. In 2008, Madonna attempted a remake that would be set during the Iraq War. In 1955 and 1983, there were two attempts made to create a TV version of the iconic film. However, both failed and were quickly cancelled.
10 Dumb and Dumber To (Ruined A Franchise)
Dumb and Dumber was released on December 16, 1994 and was a box office success. Over the years it gained a loyal cult following and is widely regarded as one of the best 90’s comedies. It starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as two dimwitted best friends who go on a road trip to return a briefcase. For years, fans have been begging for a sequel but it was stuck in developmental hell. In the meantime, a prequel film, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd was released in 2003 but was a disappointment. A direct sequel, Dumb and Dumber To, was finally released on November 14, 2014 and revolved around the two friends going on a road trip to find Harry’s (Daniels) daughter. It did well at the box office but was heavily criticized by fans and the media. Both the prequel and sequel failed to equal the success of the original.
9 Gladiator 2 (Thankfully Never Made)
For years there have been several attempts at making a sequel to the classic film Gladiator. However, that seems difficult because of the death of the main character, Maximus (Russell Crowe). This tiny little detail has not stopped the studio from trying to make a sequel, though. Gladiator was released on May 5, 2000 and received universal praise. Initially there was an idea to do a prequel film or a possible sequel set 15 years later. In 2008, writer Nick Cave wrote a treatment for a possible sequel. In the plot, the Roman gods reincarnate Maximus and he returns to Rome to defend Christians against prosecution. He is then transported to World War II and the Vietnam War. It ends with him as a general in the present-day Pentagon. However, the studio and Crowe rejected the idea. In 2017, director Ridley Scott revealed that he had a new idea for a sequel and just had to convince Crowe that it could work.
8 Terminator: Salvation & Terminator Genisys (Ruined A Franchise)
The Terminator was released on October 26, 1984 to universal praise and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800. A critically acclaimed sequel followed in 1991. Towards the end of the second film, T-800 utters the famous line, “I’ll be back”, and unfortunately he returned. The third film in the series was actually met with positive reviews. The fourth film, Terminator Salvation, didn’t include Schwarzenegger and was a massive failure. It was released on May 21, 2009 and starred Christian Bale as John Connor. Schwarzenegger returned for Terminator Genisys, which was to be the first film in a new trilogy and include a tie-in TV series. It was released on July 1, 2015 but was a major bomb and put an end to all future plans. In 2017, it was announced that director James Cameron, Linda Hamilton and Schwarzenegger are returning to the franchise for a direct sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
7 Seven 2 (Thankfully Never Made)
Some films will often end a movie in a way that leaves the door open for a possible sequel. However, not all ambiguous or twist endings are meant to be followed up on. Seven was released on September 22, 1995 to critical acclaim. The film is known for its twist ending that shocked audiences. Its popularity resulted in the studio wanting a sequel. In fact, they already had a script ready about a psychic that helps the FBI track down a serial killer. Neither director David Fincher nor any of the cast members wanted anything to do with a sequel. Instead of a sequel the studio re-wrote the script and made an original film, Solace, which was released in 2015. When asked if he ever wanted to be involved with a Seven sequel, Fincher said, “I would be less interested in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes.”
6 Spider-Man 3 (Ruined A Franchise)
After being stuck in developmental hell for roughly 25 years, Spider-Man was released on May 3, 2002 and starred Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man. It was a box office success and was praised as “redefining the superhero genre”. The critically acclaimed sequel, Spider-Man 2, released in 2004, is often considered one of the best superhero films of all time. However, the legacy of the franchise came crashing down with the third film. Spider-Man 3 was released on May 4, 2007 and was poorly received by fans and critics. The film was criticized for having too many villains. In particular, fans were outraged over the use of classic Spider-Man villain Venom. A fourth film was scheduled for 2011 but was cancelled, putting an end to Sam Raimi’s franchise. Instead the studio attempted to reboot the franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man, which was then cancelled in favor of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
5 The Breakfast Club 2 (Thankfully Never Made)
For years fans have wondered what happened to the nerd, the princess, the jock, the basket-case and the criminal after high school. As it turns out, director John Hughes often asked himself that question too. The Breakfast Club was released on February 15, 1985 to rave reviews. It revolved around five teenagers of different social classes that are forced to spend the day together in detention. Its popularity continues to grow and it is one of the most cherished coming of age films. Prior to his death, Hughes had toyed with the idea of revisiting one of his many classic films. He did come up with an idea for a sequel to The Breakfast Club, however it never went beyond that. The sequel would have revisited the characters ten years later and shown how their lives turned out. Eventually the project lost steam and Hughes moved on from the idea.
4 The Hangover Part II & III (Ruined A Franchise)
If the sequel fails to meet the standard of the first, chances are a third film will do no better. The critically and commercially acclaimed The Hangover was released on June 5, 2009. The film revolved around a bachelor party in Las Vegas gone wrong and three friends searching for the missing groom. It was a big success and is one of the highest grossing R-rated movies. A sequel, The Hangover Part II, was released on May 26, 2011 to negative reviews. It has a 33 % rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which described the sequel as "A crueler, darker, raunchier carbon copy of the first instalment.” Despite the lack of success of the second film, a third film was already in the works. The Hangover Part III was released on May 23, 2013 to even harsher reviews than the second. It was a dismal failure at the box office and permanently tarnished the legacy of the first film.
3 E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears (Thankfully Never Made)
In the early 80’s, the entire universe fell in love with the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Steven Spielberg directed the film, which was released on June 11, 1982. It was a massive hit and major success at the box office. In fact, it was the highest grossing film for 11 years. It revolved around a young boy, Elliot, who befriends an alien and helps him return home. E.T. is regarded as a classic film and one of the greatest. Due to its enormous success, Spielberg quickly started work on a treatment for a sequel, which would have been titled E.T. II: Nocturnal Fears. The sequel would have revolved around aliens kidnapping Elliot and E.T. being the only one that can save him. Spielberg considered the plot to be too dark and admitted that sequels can be “dangerous.” He also said, “I think a sequel to E.T. would do nothing but rob the original of its virginity.”
2 Jaws: The Revenge (Ruined A Franchise)
Jaws is considered one the greatest films of all time. The plethora of disappointing sequels nearly tarnished the legacy of the first. Steven Spielberg directed Jaws, which was released on June 20, 1975. It was a massive financial and critical success. It’s widely regarded as the first true summer blockbuster. Jaws 2 was released in 1978 but was met with mixed reviews. Regardless, it’s considered the best of the sequels. Jaws 3 was released on July 22, 1983 and was met with an overwhelming negative response. It should be considered the worst film in the franchise but that honor goes to the final film, Jaws: The Revenge, released on July 1, 1987. The film currently holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which describes the movie as "Illogical, tension-free and filled with cut-rate special effects, Jaws 4 - The Revenge is a sorry chapter in a once-proud franchise."
1 The Godfather Part IV (Thankfully Never Made)
The Godfather trilogy is one of the most beloved film series of all time. The Godfather (1972) is regarded as one of the greatest movies ever made. The second film is critically acclaimed as well, although the final film received mixed reviews. Director Francis Ford Coppola admitted that he never wanted to continue with the series but Paramount pushed him to do more. The studio wanted to do a fourth film for years and at one point, Coppola even considered it. He began working on a script with author Mario Puzo. The structure was similar to The Godfather Part II (1974), as it would follow two parallel stories. One part would revolve around Vincent Corleone (Andy Garcia) and the other around a young Sonny Corleone. Leonardo DiCaprio was considered to play a young Sonny. However, plans fell through when Puzo died, although the studio is still considering a fourth film.