Movie franchises are known to be these tentpole events dating back to the original Star Wars. Say what you will about what George Lucas may or may not have done to your childhood, we might not have all of these great sequels, threequels, and prequels. Studios might not have ever risked such ordeals. It’s hard enough getting the funds, the cast, and the crew together to make one movie. Imagine plotting and planning for three or more. Even the MCU wasn’t as planned out as everyone thinks in the beginning.
That’s when everything works out and the first film is an amazing success worldwide that the studios hoped it would be. However, certain movies didn’t just fail to make their money back or turn a profit, but they didn’t obtain anywhere close to what analytics suggested they could. Critics and fans collectively are none too pleased about it. All of the writers, directors, cast, and crew's hard work and dreams of sequels are thrown out of the window with the bath water.
Here are 10 big franchises that were canceled after just one movie!
10 Terminator Genisys Trilogy
The Terminator franchise really should have ended with Judgement Day. Nearly thirty years after its release and it’s still the perfect movie. The studio tried to close out the original series strong with Rise Of The Machines, before trying to revamp the franchise with Salvation. Both attempts were met with a “meh” reaction from fans.
Luckily, a new trilogy was announced several years ago, this one starring Game Of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, and hopes were high. Genisys took the already confusing time travel concept and pulled a Days Of Future Past, presenting an alternate past and future. The new series was scrapped completely in favor of James Cameron returning to the franchise.
9 The Lone Ranger
Disney lucked out and struck gold when Johnny Depp took on the role of Captain Jack Sparrow and sparked a whole new series for Pirates Of The Caribbean. They tried to catch lightning in a bottle a second time when Depp wanted to play Tonto in an updated version of The Lone Ranger.
The film’s production and plot are just all over the place. Even with the Disney marketing machine behind it, nothing saved the film from just being terrible, once again proving that sleek, high concept westerns are nowhere near as good as the down and gritty dustbowl ones.
8 The Green Lantern
Early reports from the set of 2011’s Green Lantern praised the movie as a great launching pad for the Green Lantern Corps, and perhaps even a shared universe for the DC Comics world. What happened?
Besides the movie only making 19 million above its 200 million-dollar budget, the movie tried to shove and squish decades of Green Lantern stories into just one movie - there are years of stories to be told before you even get to the Yellow Impurity. Even today, it’s a flaw a lot of DC movies suffer from.
7 The Golden Compass
With classic literary sagas like Lord Of The Rings and The Chronicles Of Narnia getting their just due in the feature film department, other fantasy sagas were getting greenlit. One of them was an adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.
The first film in the series, The Golden Compass boasted a powerhouse cast of Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Ian McKellan. Sadly, the series was dead in the water before it’s December release thanks to protestors who felt the movie attacked religion. For its fans, there will be an HBO series coming later in 2019.
There was a time when Brendan Fraser’s name had a lot of cache in Hollywood. It helped propel the Mummy franchise forward in the late nineties and early aughts. He was tapped to star in the adaptation of the German book trilogy, Inkheart. The movie is about a father and daughter who have the power to put people into books just by reading them allowed.
That might sound cool on paper, but it could also go the way of Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories. The movie came out the same year as Fraser dusting off The Mummy for one more go around, which was bereft of any charm.
Why make an entire movie franchise when you can condense about 180 issues and years of comic book history into a two-hour coffin on roller skates? Because that way you can find a way to make each movie compelling! Mark Steven Johnson, who wrote the Grumpy Old Men films, got to write and direct 2003’s Daredevil film.
The movie was mired before it even hit theaters for various reasons - “Ben Affleck as Daredevil,” “Kingpin’s white in the comics,” “no Bullseye costume,” but the real problem was condensing so many great Daredevil storylines into one movie; which is almost always the sign of a very bad comic book movie. A spin-off centering around Elektra hit theatres, although that did little to help Daredevil.
4 Ender’s Game
When Harrison Ford is going to be part of any project, that project immediately gets promoted to hotly-anticipated status. Nevertheless, Ender's Game was stymied from the start. Its director’s Gavin Hood’s followup film to X-Men Origins: Wolverine proved to be just as colossal of a failure.
Instead of actually promoting the movie, the cast and crew spent most of their time marketing the film by denouncing some comments made by the series’ author, Orson Scott Card.
3 Han Solo Saga
Star Wars is the most divisive film series ever. A lot of “fans” actually only love IV and V, and bemoan the Ewoks, The Prequels, Jar Jar, and most recently The Last Jedi. So, when Solo: A Star Wars Story, Disney found out that Star Wars fatigue is a thing and the franchise isn’t ready for the every-six-month-movie treatment that Marvel does.
This one’s a shame, Solo is the most fun SW movie since Return Of The Jedi and this first Han Solo adventure had done a lot of good set up to spin-off its own franchise. Hope for a sequel still lingers, but the excitement has somewhat died down.
2 Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
Rubbery-faced and maniacal Jim Carrey in ridiculous makeup tormenting a trio of newly orphaned siblings - what on Earth could possibly go wrong and went wrong with Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events? Perhaps the issue was casting the funniest of funnymen in a decidedly unfunny role that doesn’t even allow Carrey to show his dramatic chops.
This one is actually one of the few on this list that actually did well in theaters. The movie didn’t drum up enough buzz, plus a studio shakeup at Paramount ended any hope for sequels.
1 The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
It was awesome seeing a bunch of dolphins sing “So Long And Thanks For All The Fish,” but the rest of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy somehow didn’t connect globally with audiences. Like a lot of novel adaptations - the book was frankly better than the film and far more imaginative.
You have Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel, Martin Freeman, Alan Rickman, and John Malkovich all in the same film, and somehow squander all of them. The winky-nudge nature of every joke certainly didn’t help the source material. If ever a series deserves another shot, it’s this one.