Instead of greenlighting original films, Hollywood has a knack for wringing out every major franchise for as long as possible. Studios will spawn unnecessary sequels, prequels, reboots and spinoffs if it means that viewers will pay attention again and drop a few more dollars at the box office.
There are some franchises that been milked for far too long. Because of the studios’ need to keep it in our face, the quality gets worse with each movie that comes out. The storylines get lazier—sometimes even being dragged out just to fill in space. Perhaps if these series took a long break, writers would be able to come up with new ideas and settings, making viewers excited for them once again.
Here are 10 Movie Franchises That Really Need to Take a Break.
10 The Hunger Games
Just this past November, The Hunger Games series concluded with Mockingjay, Part 2. It gave a satisfying send-off to Katniss Everdeen and wrapped up the plot as it needed to (no matter how sad it was). So why is it on the list if it’s already concluded? Because Lionsgate has decided that they’re not done yet with this moneymaker. In the past week, they just announced that they want to make prequels to the dystopian series.
In the beginning, The Hunger Games did so well because it was a very close adaptation of the book series that Suzanne Collins wrote. However, according to box office numbers, it is proven that the viewers’ interests definitely dwindled as the years went on (and dividing The Mockingjay into two films certainly didn’t help).
With money and merchandise on the line, executives want to keep The Hunger Games relevant. Sure, it might be interesting in seeing more kids going at it with swords, but not having Jennifer Lawrence involved would definitely not help their cause.
9 Paranormal Activity
With just 15,000 dollars, Oren Peli brought back the found footage genre. Paranormal Activity used consumer grade video cameras and the fear of the unknown to terrify the viewers. In the first installment, the scares were fun and chilling, and the lore (or lack thereof) was compelling. And of course, the famous ending left audiences shocked and with more questions on their mind. Then Paranormal Activity 2 did a decent job at answering those questions, despite being mostly a carbon copy of the first in terms of plot and structure.
After that, the audiences’ interest simmered down, which should have been Blumhouse Productions’ sign to stop. But since these films cost peanuts to make, they kept being churned out like a conveyor belt. Their need to connect the films all through the same story made them confusing and full of plot holes. The most recent one, Ghost Dimension, is supposedly the conclusion, but it made almost no money due to the lack of the interest.
If they must bring this franchise back (and most likely they will), there needs to be a brand new story involved without any stretching out into separate films. If there are new demons to get excited for, then there would be reason to be interested again. But for now, the found footage genre needs to disappear for a while.
8 Indiana Jones
The world unanimously agreed to rid our minds of the travesty that was the fourth Indiana Jones film. Harrison Ford was a rock star back in the day as the whip-cracking titular character, but it didn’t feel the same in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. His age was very apparent and he didn’t have the same intimidating spirit that we all know and love. The film felt like a desperate rehash for Harrison Ford to pass on the torch to Shia LeBeouf (Thankfully that didn’t actually happen).
Now that a new Indiana Jones is in the works, there is an ongoing debate about whether it should be a continuation or a complete remake. And the bigger question is: should Ford still be involved? Regardless of what path it goes down, it wouldn’t be the same without the real Indiana Jones there to guide it. No matter whether they choose Chris Pratt or Bradley Cooper, it still feels like beating a dead horse. If they must start anew for the younger generations, take a break from the previous canon and start a new one sans-Ford. It wouldn’t be the same, but it wouldn't make us cringe either.
7 Resident Evil
The first Resident Evil film was one of the only decent attempts at a video-game movie. The zombie kill fest transformed Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez into genetically mutated heroines. It had a solid plot at first but the sequels proved to be sub-par and pretty ridiculous (Alice’s gain of superpowers is a prime example). They all started to play out like predictable zombie flicks, focusing more on how many surprising kills they can muster up rather than focusing on the characters.
Even though the upcoming film is supposedly the last one, the fascination with the undead genre could prompt either a prequel or a spin-off. Don’t underestimate the powers of successful video game film franchises. They never truly go away.
Even with the spotty entries, the Underworld series is still a better love story than Twilight. Len Wiseman created these sexy and fascinating characters with a vivid supernatural lore to boot. The films had a beautiful gothic aesthetic and intense action scenes, so there’s something to look at for everyone. Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen look stunning as the kings of the vampire and werewolf race, and Kate Beckinsale shows that she can kick anyone’s ass in leather pants.
However, when the series started to go into prequel territory in Rise of the Lycans, that should have been the first clue to start wrapping it up. Because after that came Evolution, and that left everyone feeling even more confused than before. With another film and a TV series in production, there are a lot of things that the writers need to take into consideration. Maybe changing the color palette and using something other than blue? Or possibly cutting down on the CGI and making the lore less confusing the more it goes on. The television series would be a better way to achieve this and showcase more character development.
5 Alvin and the Chipmunks
The only good thing about Alvin and the Chipmunks is that it keeps the kids busy and quiet for 90 minutes. Other than that, it is a massive headache. Whatever charm the old television show had was sucked out by this ugly CGI mess. These little rodents manage to get themselves into ridiculous situations from being the next “pop sensation” to literally being “chip-wrecked.” The humans aren’t much better, with Jason Lee obnoxiously yelling “Alvin” every minute, and David Cross desperate for an extra paycheck after Arrested Development.
It’s not clear how these films keep getting cleared for sequels, but they certainly have guts for opening up on the same day as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Is their new film at least called The “Furs” Awaken?
4 Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp drank his way into everyone’s hearts in 2003 when the famous Captain Jack Sparrow emerged on screen. With a stellar cast and fun swashbuckling action, Pirates of the Caribbean became an international gem. The films never lost the fun, but the stories were starting to become predictable, using the same quotes and scenes over and over again. Yet somehow, they managed to stretch the running time longer for each part of the series (143 to 157 to a whopping 169 minutes). Even the actors started to look unconvincing and bored by the end, and eventually just stopped showing up by the fourth film. Geoffrey Rush was such an amazing antagonist and it was such a shame that the writers abandoned his role for a “good guy.” Davy Jones had nothing on his wit and comedic villainy.
Without a doubt, Captain Jack Sparrow is the factor that puts butts in seats, but it’s starting to not be enough. The lack of original plots and characters made the series seem like bland action films with pirates. The whimsical feeling that The Black Pearl had was present less and less as the years went on. Even with Dead Men Tell No Tales coming out in 2017, the interest that the franchise once had died with the end of the trilogy almost ten years ago.
3 Die Hard
1988’s Die Hard was not only a great Christmas movie, but it was also the film that made Bruce Willis immortal. He took John McClane and absorbed him so well that it’s impossible to think of the character played by anyone else. What’s so interesting about McClane is that Willis played him as an average guy in the beginning. The '80s were full of ripped, steroid injecting action stars performing ridiculous stunts, but Die Hard took a different turn by making a regular cop the center of the film.
After the first three, the franchise started to go into a downward spiral. Studios wanted a bigger audience for the next film, so they attempted to change the rating to PG-13 for the fourth film, Live Free or Die Hard. John McClane went from NYPD cop with a potty mouth to run of the mill action hero.
After the utter laziness of A Good Day to Die Hard (They are really stretching that title), the series deserves a writer and director who won’t make it purely about the action. If the upcoming prequel, Die Hard: Year One will be just another 90 minute gun battle, then what’s the point of slapping the famous title on, especially if Willis won’t even be present? If Len Wiseman is indeed directing it, then can McClane at least be fighting some lycans or vampires?
Transformers wasn’t the greatest film in the world. Michael Bay made it magical through nostalgia and a countless amount of explosions. We got see Shia LaBeouf before he was an “artist” and we got the introduction of Optimus Prime and company. There were a mixture of fun and emotional moments, but it never was more than the average popcorn flick.
With every sequel came repetitive plots, one-dimensional characters, and robotic dialogue (pun very much intended). Transformers: Age of Extinction put the icing on the cake by making a 169 minute action film feel like watching paint dry. They can introduce as many robots as they want, but it would take a lot to make Transformers fun again. Taking Michael Bay off and replacing his with a different guiding vision might be a good start.
1 The Terminator
At one point, James Cameron was considered a nobody. With only a B-movie under his belt, no one thought he could direct Terminator. Over 700 million dollars later, the studios were took back their words. When Cameron left the series, he left a legacy behind. Unfortunately, future directors were unable to keep up with those standards. Terminator: Salvation barely had Schwarzenegger in it and instead took ideas from other post-apocalyptic films and tried to focus on a gritty and realistic setting. They focus on every cliche from cartoonish villains to unnecessary romances. We couldn’t expect anything less from someone named McG.
The most recent Terminator: Genisys told the audience that it’s unable to make a decent film without copious amounts of CGI and spoiling the biggest twists in the trailer. It also tries to erase the first two installments by re-writing what’s canon and trying to create new lore. After that huge flop, studios should just wait until Cameron gets the rights back in 2019 (that is if he isn’t too immersed in Pandora).
Can you think of any other franchises that need to take a long, refreshing nap? Let us know in the comments!
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