Nowadays, it seems like virtually every movie that’s even remotely successful is turned into a franchise. It may seem like this is becoming increasingly more common, but it’s actually something that Hollywood has been doing for decades. After all, movie studios need to make money in order to thrive, and producing sequels to movies are a surefire way to earn more cash. Just take a look at any superhero series.
It makes sense; when people see a movie and fall in love with either the characters or the story, they tend to want another installment, and when those sequels do release, they usually gross more than the first outing, even if they’re not as good. For instance, John G. Avildsen’s 1984 film The Karate Kid was a self-contained story, yet its success spawned multiple sequels, the first of which, The Karate Kid Part II, released two years later, earning even more at the worldwide box office despite being considerably worse.
Although many sequels tend to earn more money and even be considered better than the originals (e.g. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), some follow-ups can crash and burn, and that can happen for a variety of reasons. However, one of the more common reasons is because the sequels were purely driven by greed, and they were rushed through production in order to capitalize on the original movies’ fame.
Here are 15 Movie Franchise That Tried To Rush Sequels Out Way Too Fast.
15. Batman & Robin
Joel Schumacher came on board for Warner Bros.’ third Batman movie, Batman Forever, after they asked Tim Burton to only return as a producer for the third installment, due to Batman Returns‘ disappointing box office haul. Batman Forever certainly wasn’t as critically successful as its predecessor, but there’s no denying that it was much more financially successful, and that’s why Warners commissioned a fourth installment almost immediately after Forever hit theaters.
That fourth movie, Batman & Robin, grossed about the same amount as Batman Returns, though unlike that film, it was a critical failure of massive proportions. Batman & Robin took one too many steps in the wrong direction, so much that Schumacher and the rest of the main cast have publicly apologized for even making the film. However, the filmmaker has previously attributed some of the movie’s issues to the fact that Warner Bros. fast-tracked the movie for its 1997 release, thereby not allotting Schumacher ample time to get the film right.
14. Paranormal Activity 2
If people thought superhero franchises never end, then they should take a look at the horror genre. Hollywood studios have the tendency to latch onto certain horror franchises and milk them for decades, even giving them several prequels and spinoffs. The indie-made sleeper hit, Paranormal Activity, is certainly one of them. The first movie grossed a whopping $194 million against an incredibly low production budget. Its critical and commercial success convinced Blumhouse Productions and Paramount Pictures to commission a follow-up.
Paranormal Activity 2 acted as a parallel sequel to the first film, which released one year after the first movie hit theaters nationwide (though it was originally filmed in 2007). Principal photography began on the Paranormal Activity prequel/sequel in May 2010 and completed in just three weeks; the movie released a few months later in October 2010. Although it was considered just as scary as the first movie, Paranormal Activity 2 didn’t present anything new to the series. It did, however, successfully spawn a new horror franchise.
13. Scream 2
Horror master Wes Craven has created some of the most notable horror movies out there, such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Last House on the Left, and of course, Scream, which stands apart from the rest of his fright flick-filled resume. The first movie released in 1996 and has since been heralded as having reinvigorated the genre. It’s even been credited with popularizing horror with mainstream audiences.
Scream was a wildly effective movie that subverted the horror genre, and its huge success as the box office convinced Dimension Films to quickly move forward with a sequel. Kevin Williamson, who wrote the first film, already had a story ready-to-go for the sequel, with there being multiple killers the second time around. Unfortunately, much of the script leaked online, and he was, therefore, forced to throw out most of the script and undergo significant rewrites. Despite suffering from several setbacks, Craven and the studio pushed forward, and the somehow still wildly successful Scream 2 released in 1997 — less than a year after the first movie came out.
12. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series is perhaps its most successful in-house live-action property, outside of Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, before Gore Verbinski’s original film, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, hit theaters, the Mouse House viewed the movie as somewhat of a risky bet. After all, they had never commissioned a production of that size before, not to mention the fact that they were making their first PG-13 film ever.
The Curse of the Black Pearl ended up becoming a resounding success for the studio — both critically and commercially — and so they decided to move forward with an entire trilogy. Instead of following up the film with another standalone story, though, the studio combined the stories of Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End; they even shot the films back-to-back — and the third installment suffered for it. Although it came close to grossing a billion dollars worldwide, At World’s End could have been so much more.
11. The Hangover Part II
Great comedy movies aren’t as common as they should be, and that can be attributed to a great many different things. However, when a studio strikes gold, sometimes they want to continue producing sequels to capture the same type of success they had with the first installments. A prime example of that came with Todd Phillips’ The Hangover, starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis.
Its box office success places it as one of the highest-grossing R-rated movies of all-time, so it’s no wonder that the studio wanted another installment (or two). Interestingly, though, there were already plans to make a sequel shortly before the first movie released. In Phillips’ The Hangover Part II, what started out as a fun comedy about friends getting a little bit too drunk in Las Vegas turned into a three-part story. It was entirely unnecessary, and instead of giving themselves some time between installments in order to come up with a decent story, they just moved the location from Vegas to Bangkok.
10. Superman II
Hollywood studios sometimes like to film certain movie sequels back-to-back, such as the aforementioned Pirates of the Caribbean films as well as the upcoming Avengers movies, though they don’t always work out. Still, it’s not common. However, it’s rare to see a studio commission two movies without having even releasing the first installment, and one of the first instances in which it happened was with Warner Bros.’ original Superman films, starring Christopher Reeve as the eponymous superhero.
Richard Donner had filmed Superman: The Movie and Superman II simultaneously (having completed 75 percent of the second installment), though he was eventually taken off the sequel, with the studio hiring Richard Lester in his stead. In the end, roughly a quarter of the movie contained footage that Donner had filmed (the rest of which were restored in Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut). Although the movie received positive reviews, it wasn’t nearly as successful as the first movie — and it all went downhill from there.
9. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
Long before the Step Up series emerged onto the scene, there was the Breakin’ franchise. The first movie in the series, Joel Silberg’s Breakin’, which starred the likes of Lucinda Dickey and Adolfo Quiñones, released in May 1984. It has been previously reported that Cannon Films’ Menahem Golan pressured the studio and filmmakers to finish the movie quickly so that they could hit theaters before Stan Lathan’s Beat Street, which released the following month.
Since the movie was enormously successful (at least in comparison to its measly production budget of $1.2 million), TriStar Pictures worked with Cannon Films to produce a sequel, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, which released later that same year — in December 1984. Although the first movie was a solid financial hit, there just wasn’t enough interest in seeing another installment. Furthermore, the sequel was rated far more poorly than its predecessor, and that’s saying something. Unfortunately for them, the third movie, Rappin’, didn’t fare much better. And what’s interesting is that it released in July 1985, just a few months after Breakin’ 2. For the first time ever, an entire trilogy of movies released in the span of a year-and-a-half. Perhaps they should have given themselves a bit more time to come up with a worthwhile story.
8. Iron Man 2
Shared universes are nothing new in the filmmaking industry, but what Marvel Studios has accomplished with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is unprecedented and undeniably astounding — and it all began with Jon Favreau’s original Iron Man movie, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Although Marvel Entertainment had been co-producing Marvel movies with studios like 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, and Universal Pictures before, Iron Man was the first movie that they made themselves, and it was an overwhelming success, garnering critical acclaim as well as grossing $585.2 million worldwide.
Blinded by success, Marvel quickly began working on the sequel, which Favreau returned to direct, though this time, the script was being written by Downey Jr. and Justin Theroux, who had previously worked with the actor on Tropic Thunder. Since the studio was building an entire universe, they used Iron Man 2 as something of a launch pad for establishing S.H.I.E.L.D., specifically in regard to Black Widow and Nick Fury. Though it garnered decent reviews, the Iron Man sequel clearly suffered from its rushed production.
7. Wayne’s World 2
Penelope Spheeris’ original Wayne’s World movie, based on Mike Myers’ SNL sketch of the same name, was a surprise hit when it released in 1992, and it’s since become a cult favorite with a lasting effect on pop culture. The same, however, cannot be said for its sequel, Wayne’s World 2, directed by Stephen Surjik.
It has been previously reported that the original script for Wayne’s World 2 was going to tell the story of Wayne (Myers) and Garth (Dana Carvey) forming their own nation, something they had taken from the 1949 film Passport to Pimlico. The thing is, the studio wasn’t sold on that, so when they found out, they immediately shut down production — since they hadn’t obtained the rights to use that story — and forced Myers to write a new script, one that didn’t borrow so heavily from a previous film.
In spite of all that, Wayne’s World 2 still managed to release the following year, in December 1993, but it didn’t have nearly as much of an impact — critically or commercially — as the first film did.
6. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
As previously mentioned, Hollywood studios love making sequels to horror movies, since they’re cheap to produce and audiences consistently come out for new installments. However, if there’s any franchise that’s proved that it’s gone on for far too long, it’s the Halloween series. John Carpenter and Debra Hill came up with an intriguing, two-part story arc for Michael Myers that humanized the iconic slasher, instead of glorifying him as an unstoppable serial killer.
His story started and finished in Halloween and Halloween II, but Universal Pictures wanted to continue the franchise beyond just one serial killer, and so one year after the second installment hit theaters, the studio released Tommy Lee Wallace’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which didn’t include Myers, instead focusing on the Halloween aspect of the series — though that wasn’t exactly the point of Carpenter’s first two films. Needless to say, Halloween III was a disaster, which was evident by the movie’s incoherent plot — and it proved that not every series needs to continue forever.
5. Jaws 2
Nowadays, moviegoers look forward to the summer blockbuster seasons, when several studios tend to release their biggest movies, from traditional superhero flicks to new installments in ongoing franchises. It’s an exciting time, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, based on the novel of the same name by Peter Benchley. It released in June 1975 and became the first summer blockbuster ever. After all, it isn’t just one of the greatest films ever made, but it’s also one of the highest-grossing, too.
As you might imagine, when Universal Pictures realized that they had what was then considered the highest-grossing film of all-time on their hands, they immediately began thinking about making a sequel. Despite releasing three years after the original film, Jeannot Szwarc’s Jaws 2 didn’t exercise the same patience with terrifying audiences as Spielberg had done with the first film. It was an inferior sequel that didn’t need to be made and was rushed to capitalize on the first movie’s unprecedented success.
4. Quantum of Solace
The James Bond series is one of the longest-running film franchises in cinema history, dating all the way back to Terence Young’s Dr. No in 1962. Although some of the movies have strayed far from Ian Fleming’s source material, they’ve all been inherently Bond. After going through several different actors, longtime producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson decided to reboot the franchise, starting fresh with a new, younger actor: Daniel Craig.
Craig made his debut in Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale, which is now considered one of the best installments in the entire series, and its success (and new direction) reinvigorated interest in the character. Shortly before Casino Royale hit theaters, Eon Productions announced that they were already working on the sequel, which would be a direct continuation. Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace‘s production was marred with issues, most of which were due to the 2007/2008 WGA Strike.
According to Craig, they only had a skeleton script when production began, and he was forced to work with director Mark Forster on the scenes despite not being a writer himself. Then, when the strike ended, Forster hired Joshua Zetumer to rewrite some parts of the story, and together they retooled dialogue for certain scenes (on the day of) throughout the rest of the production. In the end, audiences got a sequel that wasn’t nearly as impressive as its predecessor, nor its less hastily-put-together successor, Skyfall.
3. The Purge Anarchy
New horror movies release all the time, but it’s rare to see them take off as well as James DeMonaco’s The Purge did, which is why Blumhouse Productions put a sequel in place shortly after the first movie hit theaters, with DeMonaco returning to write and direct. Since the first movie told a self-contained story about the tribulations of one family, the sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, sought to take the series in a new direction, one that dove deeper into the movie’s lore. The sequel went into production mere months after the first movie released, and it released just a few months after that.
Rather than continue with an annual release cycle, which many studios have employed before when it comes to horror movies (e.g. Paranormal Activity), Blumhouse took their time with the third installment, The Purge: Election Year, in order to properly expand upon the story told in the second chapter.
2. Child’s Play 3
Slasher movies were a dime a dozen in the ’70s and ’80s, and that’s partially why the Child’s Play series stood out. Despite still being considered a slasher series, the movies were different because its killer, Chucky, was different. The first movie was directed by Tom Holland (not to be confused with the new Spider-Man actor) and co-written by Holland, Don Mancini, and John Lafia. Following its critical and commercial success — which earned the film a cult status among horror buffs — Universal Pictures decided to turn the movie into a full-fledged franchise that continues to this day.
Although its sequel still managed to be an effective horror film, the third installment, Child’s Play 3 (which released just nine months after the second movie), wasn’t anything like the first two movies — and it wasn’t exactly the conclusion that people were hoping for. Thanks to Scream‘s success, though, it ended up not being the final installment, for Universal Pictures decided to revive the franchise in 1998 with Bride of Chucky.
1. Scary Movie 2
Unlike all the other horror movies on this list, Scary Movie was created as a satire of the genre, particularly of the types of movies that studios were putting out in the ’90s. It was co-written by a number of people, including Shawn and Marlon Wayans, and directed by their older brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans. With the horror genre hitting a new peak in the late ’90s and early ’00s, Scary Movie became an unbelievable success, grossing a whopping $278 million worldwide.
With numbers like that, it isn’t that surprising that Dimension Films commissioned a sequel. It didn’t need one, of course, yet that’s exactly what happened — and Scary Movie 2 released less than a year later. Ironically, one of the taglines for the first movie was: “No mercy. No shame. No sequel.” It looks like the Wayans went back on that rather quickly. Although the first movie wasn’t a critical achievement, it still managed to find an audience; that wasn’t the case for Scary Movie 2, which earned about half of the original’s box office take and debuted to far worse reviews.
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