Everyone loves a great movie. There’s something about losing yourself inside a narrative. Sometimes you cheer for a hero, sometimes you root for a villain. And sometimes, you fall so in love with a character or a universe that you can’t help but want more of it.
Film studios hear you. More specifically, they hear the crumpling of dollar bills in your wallet. As long as film has existed, popular characters haves been brought back for sequels and spinoffs in order to please hungry audiences. Usually, if the new stories stay true to the characters, it works. Sometimes, it doesn’t.
Sometimes, even though a franchise is beloved, an entry misses the mark by such a wide gap that future sequels are forced to ignore it entirely. Often this results in a reboot, but there are also occasions where franchises will plod along and simply rewrite the previous events.
There are times when behind-the-scenes troubles are to blame. There are also times when the studio interferes too much. Mostly, though, it’s because a sequel just wasn’t necessary.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of 15 Sequels Movie Franchises Want You To Forget About.
15. The Lost World and Jurassic Park III
The first Jurassic Park film is a classic. While some may fault it for differing from its source material, its use of practical effects combined with Steven Spielberg’s unique directing made their mark on film history. It even won three Academy Awards. The same cannot be said for its two sequels.
They don’t even take place on the same island. Jurassic Park takes place on the island of Isla Nublar. The Lost World and Jurassic Park III both take place on the island of Isla Sorna.
There’s no mention of Isla Sorna anywhere in Jurassic World. There’s also no mention of a Tyrannosaurus Rex rampaging through San Diego. Jeff Goldblum will reprise his role from the first two films in the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but whether he makes any mention of his continued adventures is doubtful.
14. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
There have been a few incarnations of the Mummy over the past century. For film buffs, Boris Karloff’s first take on the monster is the only that matters. For many others though, the 1999 Brandon Fraser film is just as much fun. Watching it now may prove the film to be dated, but there’s no denying its success at the time.
The Mummy Returns didn’t top its predecessor, but it was still a box office success. It continued Imhotep’s story in a fun and serviceable manner. The third film featured none of the mythology of the first two films. The story instead centered on a Chinese “mummy” and was essentially a less interesting retread of what had already been done.
13. Superman 3 and 4
Richard Donner’s Superman was truly the first example of how a superhero film could be done properly. It continues to be studied by film scholars to this day, and last year it was inducted into the National Film Registry. By all accounts Superman II was also a success.
Superman III and especially Superman IV were received so negatively that it scared anyone from releasing a Superman film for almost 20 years. (There was Steel in 1997, but the less said about that the better.) By the time Superman did return to the big screen in Superman Returns, the decision had been made to ignore the events of the third and fourth film altogether.
12. X-Men: The Last Stand
Nothing provokes the ire of comic book fandom like dumbing down a classic storyline for the sake of a simpler film. Such was the case with Fox’s third X-Men film, The Last Stand. Though it mercifully didn’t kill the franchise, it came very close. Not only did it ruin Jean Grey, but it killed Cyclops in the first five minutes and turned Juggernaut into a bad joke.
It seemed for a minute that Fox had learned its lesson. X-Men: Days of Future Past more or less reset the series’ timeline. Every film since has, for better or worse, ignored that timeline. Still, the next film in the main continuity is set to make a second attempt at the classic story. X-Men: Dark Phoenix is set for release in 2018. It’s being written, produced, and directed by Simon Kinberg, the same guy who wrote Last Stand. Make of that what you will.
11. Die Another Day
James Bond films have often verged on self-parody. Sometimes the handsome spy emerges from water and unzips his diving gear, only to reveal a fully pressed tuxedo underneath. He’ll often end up sleeping with three different beautiful women in the span of only a few days.
Die Another Day was not only the 20th Bond film overall, but its release marked the 40th anniversary of James Bond in cinema. To commemorate this, the film plays like a love letter to 007. It features callbacks to every single Bond film.
Unfortunately, accomplishing that meant sacrificing the story and making a film that was sillier than any of the others to date. It’s widely considered to be the worst film of the franchise. It laid to rest several plans for spinoffs and ultimately led to MGM rebooting the character entirely.
10. Terminator: Salvation
For a while, it seemed like the Terminator films could do no wrong. The saga of Sarah and John Connor has kept moviegoers buying tickets for decades. When it came time for the franchise’s fourth installment, the hype was almost impossible to match.
Though it was the third time John Connor was recast, audiences were excited to see Christian Bale in the role. After all, this came hot on the heels of The Dark Knight. Unfortunately, Bale’s on-set meltdown generated more buzz than the actual film. Even James Cameron and Arnold Shwarzenegger expressed indifference towards it.
Instead of moving ahead with another sequel, 2015’s Terminator: Genisys gave us a muddy time travelling semi-reboot. At least it had more Arnold. Thankfully, both Cameron and Shwarzenegger will be returning for the next film, along with Linda Hamilton.
9. Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Spider-Man is Marvel Comics’ most popular character. For years, Peter Parker’s bad luck and unwavering need to do that right thing have struck a chord with fans. Much like Batman, many of the wall crawler’s villains have risen to popularity with him.
In fact, his villains have proven so popular that Sony tried to rush their big screen debuts not once, but twice. The negative reaction to the sheer number of villains in Spider-Man 3 should have been a wake-up call. And yet, the reboot’s sequel yet again gave us more villains. Also, there was way too much dubstep.
Thankfully, Sony finally accepted their mistakes and gave creative control of the character back to Marvel. Spider-Man: Homecoming may have featured more than one classic Spidey villain, but it demonstrated how best to do while putting the story first.
8. Batman & Robin
We had to include it. This film almost destroyed the Batman franchise. It scared film makers away from even approaching the Dark Knight for almost ten years. Even though Batman & Robin was technically in the same universe as Tim Burton’s first two Batman films, it resembled them in no way except for the same guy playing Alfred.
It turned the tragic character of Mr Freeze into a pun-happy idiot. (We don’t blame Arnold. He was just being Arnold.) It turned the super-genius Bane into a slobbering moron. It gave Batman and Robin bat-nipples and… Bat Mastercards?
Uma Thurman’s ridiculous take on Poison Ivy was probably the best thing about the film and that’s not saying much. But she was campy in a film that was already 200% overloaded with camp. This movie was clearly only made to sell toys, and it’s no wonder the studio never talks about it.
7. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
The latter half of William Shatner’s career has been filled with more comedic roles. His portrayal of Denny Crane on Boston Legal and his current tongue in cheek travel show Better Late Than Never are just the tip of a laugh out loud iceberg.
In retrospect, it’s not surprising that that the best thing about his directorial debut was the comedy. However, critics found this entry uneven at best, and the action sequences for which the franchise had come to be known were stale and lackluster. To make matters worse, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier featured heavy religious subtext that made it feel all too preachy.
It’s the only film on this list to still truly be considered canon in its own franchise, but it is still looked down upon with disdain by most involved. Even Gene Roddenberry, the original creator of Star Trek, did not have nice things to say about it.
6. Ghostbusters 2
Almost every entry in the Ghostbusters franchise has referenced the first film. It was a critical and commercial smash and featured Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Rick Moranis at the top of the comedic game. The main characters of that film were all featured in an animated spin-off called The Real Ghostbusters and that show was given a sequel as well. Even the trailer for the 2016 reboot referenced it.
The second film has not enjoyed the same status. While it’s probably the best received film on this list, it’s the worst received in the franchise. It featured the exact same plot as the first one, just less interesting and less funny. It may have been a commercial success at the time, but it’s failed to maintain any traction in the years since.
5. Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
The second entry in Freddy Kruger’s is the odd one out in the series. That’s saying a lot, considering how odd this series actually is. It actually tried to deal with some pretty important issues. The film’s protagonist Jesse, the only last standing male in a Freddy film to date, is portrayed as repressing his homosexuality.
Of course, no one involved in Freddy’s Revenge would admit this until years later. As such, the subtext was confusing at best. Even many of the actors were unclear about writer David Chastin’s motivations.
The next film brought back original protagonist Nancy Thompson. It also began the trend of making Freddy more of a funny man. Since then, every film in the series has featured a “final girl” and none have referenced Freddy’s apparent ability to manifest himself in the real world through someone else’s fear.
4. Friday the 13th: A New Beginning
Casual film goers may not even be aware of the fact that two Friday the 13th films did not feature Jason as their main antagonist. The first one was, well, the first one. The killer in that film actually turned out to be Jason’s mother. The choice to have Jason pop out of the water at the end was not in the original script.
Of course, Jason and his hockey mask have become icons of slasher horror. But the writers chose to once again exclude him in the fifth entry anyway. Given that the previous film was called The Final Chapter, it’s not surprising that they tried to do something different.
3. Halloween III: Season of the Witch
It may be redundant to say, but the Halloween films are perfect for Halloween. The first entry in the series popularized the slasher genre so much that it dominated film screens in the ’80s. Micheal Myers’ haunting mask and stare have become synonymous with terror.
When the series debuted, the trope of having the same killer come back again and again had not yet been cemented into the slasher genre. As such, the creators of the third entry thought it might be cool to have Halloween become an anthology franchise, rather than a continuous series.
Season of the Witch‘s departure toward more magical subject matter was not well received. Fans who’d thought they were in for yet another romp of Micheal tearing people up felt cheated. Myers was brought back for the next film and this one was never referenced again.
2. Poltergeist 2 and 3
It must be hard being Steven Speilberg. To have created countless cinematic masterpieces, only to then watch hungry studios try to lazily cash in on that success. Aside from receiving critical acclaim, Poltergeist is one of very few horror movies to actually feature a happy ending.
The second film may as well have featured John McClane asking “how can the same thing happen to the same family twice?” Yet again, it featured a happy ending, and there was no need for a sequel. But money is money, and two years later we got Poltergeist III. Zelda Rubenstein holds the distinction of having been nominated for a Razzie award for both sequels.
The studio mercifully let the Poltergeist franchise sleep for quite some time. The recent remake of the original made no nods or references to the sequels, and if you asked anyone involved about them they’d probably avoid the question.
1. The Exorcist II: The Heretic
The Exorcist is widely considered to be one of the finest films ever made. Perhaps it’s fitting then, in an ironic way, that its sequel hold the title of one of the worst. It all comes down to several bad decisions by otherwise talented people. Director John Boorman, who has five Academy Awards to his name, wanted to make a more positive film. He didn’t want to make a film about torturing a child, which is how he saw the first one.
Except nobody wanted a horror movie with a positive, enlightening message. Nobody wanted to see a horror movie preach to them about the light and goodness. That’s kind of like having a high school teacher show up during a party to teach math.
The franchise has continued and even spawned a television show, but any continued entries have either rewritten the sequel’s fiction or downright ignored it.
Can you think of any other sequels that film franchises want audiences to forget? Let us know in the comments!
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