More and more, Hollywood studios are confident enough in a film’s ability to launch a franchise that they’ll plan for sequels even before viewers have seen the movie. However, if the film doesn’t perform as well as expected at the box office, or is panned by critics and viewers alike, studios are forced to change those plans. In these cases, sequels may be entirely abandoned, leaving audiences to wonder what could have been.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Movie Sequels We Never Got To See.
Ryan Reynolds may have found the perfect superhero role in Deadpool, but comic book fans will never forget the disappointment of his turn as the DC hero Green Lantern. Warner Bros. gave director Martin Campbell a $200 million budget hoping to launch a DC Comics franchise rivaling Marvel’s burgeoning cinematic universe.
However, when the movie barely turned a profit and disappointed both comic book fans and casual audiences, Warner Bros. scrapped plans for the sequel. Although we’ll never see a Green Lantern sequel starring Reynolds, the studio has planned a new take on the superhero as part of the DC Extended Universe.
Based on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s book of the same name, this John Travolta pet project only covered the first half of the source material; the filmmakers planned to tackle the second half of the novel in a sequel. But, those plans were cancelled when Battlefield Earth bombed at the box office, resulting in a $40 million loss for producers – including Travolta who starred in the film and used his own money to partially fund its production. Because of its box office failure and all-around poor movie-going experience, Battlefield Earth has earned a reputation as one of the worst movies in film history.
Before DC Comics’ famous superhero received the reboot treatment with Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, director Bryan Singer and star Brandon Routh brought the Man of Tomorrow to life in Superman Returns. However, the film received criticism for focusing too much on the emotional side of the character without giving Superman enough action sequences of him taking on bad guys.
As a result, Warner Bros. pulled the plug on a second film helmed by Singer. The director has since talked about his plans for the sequel, which included the villain Darkseid and the movie being titled The Man of Steel. But, with Henry Cavill playing the superhero in the DC Extended Universe, this is one superhero sequel we won’t ever see.
The Golden Compass
Based on the first book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, The Golden Compass was set up to be the next massively popular young adult fantasy series, like a cross between Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia. However, because the movie underperformed at the North American box office and the film’s overseas rights were sold by New Line Cinema, the studio didn’t make as much money as expected on The Golden Compass’s $180 million budget. As a result, they cancelled plans to adapt the second book in the series, The Subtle Knife. Though fans won’t ever see a sequel to The Golden Compass, BBC is reportedly developing a television series based on His Dark Materials.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Although 2005’s Fantastic Four was a goofy take on Marvel’s first family, the film performed well enough at the box office to earn a sequel. However, the same can’t be said for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which didn’t earn as much as the first movie. So, although the actors behind the titular superhero team had signed three-picture deals and many of the filmmakers were prepared to return, Fox pulled the plug on a third installment in the series. Instead, the movie studio rebooted the Fantastic Four in 2015 – to disastrous results.
After the underperformance of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Fox brought in director Josh Trank to reboot Marvel’s first family with a younger cast and a darker, more grounded tone. However, disputes between Trank and Fox arose during production, leading to reshoots for Fantastic Four that overhauled the entire second half of the film.
The movie became the worst reviewed Marvel movie to date and even Trank publicly condemned the final cut. Following the overwhelmingly negative response to Fantastic Four, Fox pulled the planned sequel from their release schedule, effectively canceling the second installment in this rebooted franchise.
Following comic character Judge Dredd, played by Karl Urban, this sci-fi action film was a box office failure despite a generally positive critical response to the movie’s exciting action beats. Dredd has since earned cult film status because of its dedicated and vocal fans base, which have been calling for a sequel for many years. According to Urban and producer Adi Shankar, talks of Dredd 2 did happen around 2014, but the film’s screenwriter Alex Garland has since urged fans to give up hope on a second installment – even if Dredd does deserve that sequel.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Prior to its release, Sony Pictures had scheduled two more films in its Amazing Spider-Man series with Andrew Garfield as the titular hero. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was meant to establish a cinematic universe that would rival Marvel Studios – with Sony planning to include Sinister Six and Venom spinoffs. However, The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s mixed critical response and underperformance at the box office led the studio to rethink their plans.
The bad situation was exacerbated by the 2014 Sony Pictures Entertainment hack, which saw leaked emails of negotiations with Marvel to have Spider-Man return home. A few months later, Sony and Marvel’s partnership on a rebooted Spider-Man franchise was officially announced, with Tom Holland later revealed to play the web-slinger in Captain America: Civil War. This move effectively canceled plans for any sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Batman & Robin
Following the success of Tim Burton’s two Batman films, director Joel Schumacher stepped in for Batman Forever and its sequel, Batman & Robin. During the production of Batman & Robin, Warner Bros. gave the green light for another installment in the series that would see Schumacher return as director. Titled Batman Triumphant, George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell and Alicia Silverstone were set to reprise their roles as Batman, Robin, and Batgirl respectively. Plus, reportedly, Schumacher had also approached Nicolas Cage to play Batman villain Scarecrow.
However, due to the negative critic and fan response to Batman & Robin, as well as its underperformance at the box office, Warner Bros. cancelled Batman Triumphant. The Dark Knight wouldn’t be seen on the big screen again until Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
After the success of other young adult novels adapted to blockbuster franchises like The Hunger Games, Constantin Films brought the first book in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series to life. A few months before the movie hit theaters, the production company announced a film based on the second book City of Ashes, would begin production in September 2013 – only a month after City of Bones was to be released.
Although the film opened below expectations, Constantin remained confident it would warrant a sequel because of increasing book and soundtrack sales. But, when City of Bones continued to underperform at the box office, production on City of Ashes was delayed. Any remaining hope that the sequel would be made at all was officially squashed when Constantin announced they would be moving forward with a new television adaptation called Shadowhunters that has since premiered on Freeform.
So what do you think of our list? Did we miss any cancelled sequels of your favorite movies? Let us know in our comment section and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel for more videos like this one.