When a film franchise sees a downward turn in quality or box-office success, a reboot is likely on the horizon, which can result in positive or negative outcomes. On the bright side, a series with plenty more stories worth telling that has become hindered by bad reviews or low earnings can find life again with an exciting, fresh take on its lore. But, with every good reboot, there are several bad ones that only seem to care about milking tired franchises of profits (especially with today's potential for cinematic universes). Examples are Legendary Pictures' MonsterVerse franchise for the positive and Universal Picture's Dark Universe for the negative. When director Gareth Edwards brought Godzilla back to theaters in 2014 the way he was intended (unlike 1998's Godzilla), audiences were thrilled, and the film's popularity inspired Legendary to create a cinematic universe based around cinema's popular giant monsters.
Meanwhile, Universal's desire to resurrect their Classic Monsters lineup for a competitive cinematic universe resulted in the poorly-received 2017 film The Mummy, which made the mistake of focusing on the franchise's future instead of the film itself (it's pretty bad when a potential franchise's logo is created for its first movie). Overall, reboots are either highly successful or very disappointing, and we're going to look at some notable examples. To be clear, a reboot that "hurts" its franchise could refer to poor box-office returns, terrible reviews, an overall bad move on the producers' part, or a combination of the three, while one that "saved" its franchise would be just the opposite.
So, without further delay, here are 12 Movie Reboots That Hurt Their Franchises (And 13 That Saved Them).
25 Saved: Halloween (2018)
1978's Halloween remains one of the most critically-acclaimed horror films ever, but none of its nine follow-ups ever came close to its success, with each one increasing in absurdity and further distancing the series from the original's game-changing horror. So, director David Gordon Green decided to wipe the slate clean and pick up after the events of the original. And, thus, the series saw praise again.
Not only did the film bring back franchise veterans Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter, but also a story worth telling to fans old and new. By combining smart horror, humor, and plenty of easter eggs, 2018's Halloween was an awesome 40th anniversary celebration for everyone's favorite Shape.
24 Hurt: Terminator Genisys
Many Terminator fans wish the franchise had ended with T2. Unfortunately, franchise profits resulted in Rise of the Machines and Salvation, both of which tried to keep the seemingly-finished story going. Then, in 2015, a different approach was attempted: retelling the entire story.
Following Kyle Reese's original journey to 1984, Reese is shocked to find Sarah Connor being protected by an aged T-800 (played again by Arnold Schwarzenegger), leaving them with an alternate timeline and the audience with an outlandish plot involving a Terminator John Connor and the setup for a trilogy that wasn't meant to be. Thankfully, director James Cameron is returning as a producer for the next installment, which will ignore everything past T2.
23 Saved: Spider-Man: Homecoming
After Sony's second attempt at a Spider-Man franchise failed after two movies, the only way to ensure their third time become a charm was to bring Spidey home to Marvel. Following his praised MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War, Tom Holland's Spider-Man began his own film series with 2017's critically-acclaimed Spider-Man: Homecoming. Besides Holland continuing his winning streak as a younger web-head, the film also featured great performances from Michael Keaton as Vulture (one of the MCU's most well-acted villains to date) and Robert Downey Jr. as a mentoring Tony Stark.
While Spidey's currently "on leave" (thanks to Avengers: Infinity War), he'll be back in action next year with Far From Home.
22 Hurt: Power Rangers (2017)
Based on the long-running Japanese superhero series Super Sentai, Power Rangers has proven popular for kids since 1993. And, with a premise centered around a group of youths that transform into costumed superheroes and fight monsters, it's not hard to see why.
However, the franchise is usually stronger on TV. Take the 2017 reboot for example, which tried too hard focusing on older fans with nostalgia and darker themes without marketing itself to this generation's younger audience as well. As a result, the film tanked at the box office. Surprisingly, though, after Hasbro's recent acquisition of the Power Rangers brand from creator Haim Saban, a follow-up was announced. Looks like it'll be "morphin' time" again real soon.
21 Saved: Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Remakes of classics don't always work, with many criticized for trying to fix what was already perfect. However, while Disney's recent live-action remakes have had their ups and downs, audiences nonetheless rushed to theaters to see the retelling of the 1991 Best Picture-nominated masterpiece Beauty and the Beast.
Though not as acclaimed as its animated counterpart, the film was generally adored by critics and audiences for its production value and performances. The all-star cast (including Emma Watson, Ian McKellan, and Emma Thompson) only sweetened the deal, helping the film earn over $1 billion and become 2017's second highest-grossing picture. In other words, fans of the original might want to consider this one over 1997's The Enchanted Christmas.
20 Hurt: The Mummy (2017)
In the first half of the 20th century, Universal Pictures dominated the big screen with their classic collection of frightening monsters. However, their success didn't come from advertising a shared universe, but rather making use of their iconic characters.
In the case of Universal's currently-in-limbo Dark Universe, a potential series was shoved down moviegoer's throats before new iconic characters were even established. To make matters worse, none of the characters in The Mummy proved iconic, and not even the star power of Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe could save it.
19 Saved: Planet of the Apes (2011-17)
Following Tim Burton's poor "reimagining" of the 1968 classic (more on that later), many Planet of the Apes fans probably thought the franchise would never regain its former glory. However, both critics and audiences were in for a surprise when 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes proved a success (as well as the fact that CGI can make more-convincing apes than makeup).
Its two follow-ups (masterfully directed by Matt Reeves) further cemented the franchise's success, each boasting critical acclaim and a fantastic performance from motion-capture icon Andy Serkis as Caesar. While a fourth installment is being discussed, it's going to be hard to top the story already established by this memorable trilogy.
18 Hurt: Godzilla (1998)
When the U.S. released an edited version of 1954's Gojira two years later under the name Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, the western world was introduced to Godzilla. However, director Roland Emmerich almost ensured the beloved character a bad reputation outside of Japan.
Released in 1998, Godzilla was set up for sequels but left nobody (especially Godzilla fans) wanting more. With a Godzilla so underpowered and unrecognizable that Toho trademarked the character (renamed "Zilla") in 2004 just to have it taken out in the series' 50th anniversary film, the film continues to stir anger when mentioned around fans. A two-season animated sequel series premiered the same year, but it was still too late to save the franchise's potential.
17 Saved: Man of Steel
When Christopher Reeve first donned the red cape in 1978, he made us believe in Superman (and that a man can fly). Since then, however, Kal-El hasn't had it so easy. Each of Reeve's follow-ups diminished in quality, with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace putting the franchise on hold for 19 years. Then, despite earning positive reception, Superman Returns ensured an end to the original story.
Finally, in 2013, Watchmen director Zack Snyder helped Superman truly return with Man of Steel. Despite the film (and all of Henry Cavill's subsequent projects as Superman) receiving mixed reviews, it helped launch DC's cinematic universe, ensuring Superman a place in theaters for years to come (we hope).
16 Hurt: Friday the 13th (2009)
Like other horror series, Friday the 13th has never been a hit with critics, and has only managed to stay relevant for nearly four decades with the support of its fanbase and the popularity of Jason Voorhees. However, Platinum Dunes (responsible for a list of failed horror reboots) couldn't even get fan support with its 2009 reboot.
Though some unique changes were made to the story, including revealing how Jason is able to make his way around Camp Crystal Lake so fast, the film felt like a retread of previous films. Even with the second-highest earning in the franchise, Friday the 13th has yet to see a sequel greenlit almost 10 years after its release.
15 Saved: Godzilla (2014)
Following 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, Toho took a break from the franchise (returning in 2016 with the hit reboot, Shin Godzilla). During this time, Legendary Pictures decided to try its hand at an American adaptation. Fans held their breath until 2014 and the results were...fine.
Despite a human-centered story that left little time for the titular monster to shine, the film had spectacular effects and utilized the time it had with Godzilla to give fans what they wanted. Grossing over $500 million, Godzilla launched Legendary's MonsterVerse and left fans wanting more. And, if what we know about the highly-anticipated 2019 follow-up, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, proves anything, it's that fans are in store for a whole lot more.
14 Hurt: Dracula Untold
Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, and Gary Oldman are just some of the actors to put their own unique spin on horror icon Count Dracula. Following recent success in Fast & Furious 6 and The Hobbit trilogy, Welsh actor Luke Evans signed on to portray Dracula's real-life counterpart, Vlad the Impaler, in a revised origin story where the Count gains his supernatural powers in the face of war.
However, despite Evans' charm, the film was only a mild success at the box office and received negative reviews. Since then, it has been largely ignored by Legendary Pictures in favor of the MonsterVerse (which, so far, hasn't fared much better).
13 Saved: Star Trek (2009)
When a film based on Star Trek was released, Trekkies everywhere were ecstatic...until they saw the film (fortunately, The Wrath of Khan made up for it). Since then, the films have varied in quality, until 2002's Nemesis made producers realize it was time for an overhaul.
Enter director J.J. Abrams, who ingeniously went "where no man had gone before" and combined a reboot, continuation, and alternate timeline to create a film worthy of any Trekkie, old and new. While the film has since seen two similarly-successful sequels, neither have yet to top the acclaim of 2009's Star Trek (maybe Quentin Tarantino's touch can do the trick?).
12 Hurt: Ghostbusters (2016)
Since the release of the less-beloved 1989 follow-up to comedy classic Ghostbusters, fans yearned for a third chapter to make amends for its predecessor. Believe it or not, they got their wish. Yep, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was pretty cool.
In film, however, fans were more than disappointed when a 2016 reboot was announced with an all-new cast. While the film ended up with positive reviews, the vast Internet controversy over its all-female cast saw audiences stay home (its trailer remains one of the most disliked videos on YouTube), and the movie performed lower than anticipated at the box office.
11 Saved: The Incredible Hulk
Since Marvel was able to make Iron Man a worldwide icon with his big-screen debut, bringing the Incredible Hulk back to his former glory seemed like an easy feat. While critics and audiences remain divided over The Incredible Hulk, one thing's for certain: it's definitely more fitting for the character than Ang Lee's 2003 flop. Fans were left disappointed by Hulk's lack of action and slow pacing, which made Marvel's 2008 reboot worth the five-year wait.
Even though Edward Norton left the MCU after the one film, Hulk continues to build his screen presence with the help of Mark Ruffalo, earning acclaim with his appearances in Thor: Ragnarok and the Avengers films.
10 Hurt: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Some characters don't work well with CGI, and, while the jury's still out on whether it's possible to do everyone's favorite anthropomorphic turtles justice this way, the two Michael Bay-produced entries don't make for a compelling argument.
Beginning in 2014, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles starred in a reboot series courtesy of Platinum Dunes and Nickelodeon Movies, and fans weren't that impressed with the results. Besides the Turtles' ugly design, the series featured Megan Fox as April O'Neil and forgettable stories that lacked the charm of the original animated series. While the 2016 sequel was seen as an improvement over its predecessor, its poor box-office return ensured another reboot is on its way.
9 Saved: The Fly (1986)
1958's The Fly is seen as a horror classic, even though it was followed by two lackluster sequels. While the story of a scientist whose head is swapped with a housefly's seems pretty straight-forward, the legendary David Cronenberg decided to rescue the franchise by taking it in a newer, more disgusting direction. Did we mention disgusting?
Thankfully, Cronenberg's 1989 remake used its gross subject matter in its favor, mesmerizing audiences with its realistic depiction of a science experiment gone horribly wrong. With a standout performance from leading man Jeff Goldblum and an Oscar win for Best Makeup, Cronenberg's The Fly has developed a legacy all its own (if only that didn't include the subpar 1989 sequel).
8 Hurt: The Transporter Refueled
Replacing Jason Statham in an action franchise is like switching out ice cream with yogurt: it's still good to some, but it's legions away from being the same thing. Such was the case when the Transporter franchise was rebooted in 2015, with Deadpool villain Ed Skrein taking over the role of mercenary driver Frank Martin.
While 2015's The Transporter Refueled kept the franchise's trait of dangerous action and stunts, the film's execution just didn't hold up when compared to Statham's trilogy. In other words, Refueled should've had more gas in its tank.
7 Saved: King Kong (2005)
Like fellow titan Godzilla, King Kong has had several live-action iterations, with some hailed as classics and others seen as duds. But, through it all, Kong has remained a cinema icon, gaining recognition with audiences over 20 years before Godzilla arrived in Japan.
Surprisingly, one of the ape's biggest fans is director Peter Jackson, whose unique adaptation of Kong's story not only helped wipe the 1976 remake (and its abomination of a sequel) from fans' minds, but also brought a retelling of the classic tale to a new generation. With the star power of Naomi Watts, Adrien Brody, and Andy Serkis (who helped bring the realistic CGI-Kong to life), King Kong became one of 2005's biggest hits.
6 Hurt: Conan the Barbarian (2011)
Jason Momoa seems to have found his star role as Aquaman in DC's cinematic universe. Perhaps this success will help fans forget Momoa's 2011 attempt at resurrecting author Robert E. Howard's beloved warrior, Conan the Barbarian.
Popularized on the big screen by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the '80s, Conan's bloody adventures in a world populated with magic and monsters seemed like a good fit for Momoa (whose was currently signed on as Khal Drogo on the similarly-themed Game of Thrones). However, not only did the weak script and overemphasis on 3D effects resulted in bad reviews, but the film failed to make back its budget, ensuring Conan's future adventures would have to wait.
5 Saved: Captain America (2011-16)
Many are probably unaware of Captain America's film debut prior to the MCU, and with good reason: it's not great. Rated as one of Rotten Tomatoes' worst superhero films, 1990's Captain America is mostly remembered for how silly star Matt Salinger looked in the Cap's outfit.
Thankfully, fans would see their beloved Captain done right in the MCU, beginning with 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger. Treating the source material with care and redeeming Chris Evans' superhero career after his not-so-fantastic run as Human Torch, the film paved the way for two superior sequels. Hopefully, Evans will stick around a bit longer, as fans just aren't ready to see him go yet.
4 Hurt: The Pink Panther (2006-09)
Comedian/actor Steve Martin is funny, but his role as the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the two Pink Panther reboot films...not so much.
Played masterfully by Peter Sellers through the '60s and '70s, the Golden Globe-winning role of Clouseau was not an easy one to take up, but Martin's comedic talent could surely bring home a funny hit, right? Wrong. With unfunny jokes and a fake accent more annoying than clever, Martin's Pink Panther series brought moviegoers one of the worst adaptations of a beloved character ever put to screen. Perhaps sticking with cartoons is the best way to go for now.
3 Saved: Casino Royale (2006)
Despite the box-office success of 2002's Die Another Day, Eon Productions was smart in rebooting the James Bond series in 2006. While Pierce Brosnan's fourth and final outing wasn't the worst Bond film, its laughable special effects and overabundance of product placement disappointed longtime fans.
Daniel Craig's casting as the next Bond drew controversy at first, but critics would eat their words upon Casino Royale's release, which not only promised a darker, more exciting future for the franchise, but also introduced the world to Craig's complex take on everyone's favorite secret agent. Despite Craig's upcoming fifth film set as his last, fans have a lot of great moments to look back on, thanks to Craig.
2 Hurt: Planet of the Apes (2001)
Remember what we said earlier about the dangers of remaking a classic? Well, if Tim Burton had listened to this advice, he would've known to remake Planet of the Apes instead of giving us this awful 2001 reimagining.
Despite starring Mark Wahlberg and featuring some outstanding makeup, the film's drastic changes to the original (what was up with that human-ape kiss?), as well as one of the most divisive endings in film history, resulted in mixed reviews and a bad reputation with fans. But, hey, at least we got to see Charlton Heston as Dr. Zaius, right?
1 Saved: The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-12)
Following the terrible 1997 film Batman and Robin, a far cry from Tim Burton's dark masterpiece eight years earlier, DC struggled to figure out how to get the Dark Knight back to his former cinematic glory. Then, now-acclaimed director Christopher Nolan took the reins and the rest is history.
Batman Begins debuted in 2005 to positive reviews, with many praising its realistic portrayal of Batman. Three years later, Nolan's follow-up The Dark Knight set a new standard for the superhero genre as a whole. While The Dark Knight Rises may be seen by some as a step down, it brought the story to a spectacular close and solidified the trilogy as one of the greatest.
Which reboot did you enjoy most? Let us know in the comments!