30 Franchise-Killing Movies

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Tenth instalment in the Star Trek movie franchise, and the one that finally convinced Paramount to retire the series.

Just at the right time, too, as there was dissent in the ranks - both LeVar Burton and Marina Sirtis criticised Nemesis director Stuart Baird for delivering a patchy film that didn't seem to understand the rules of Star Trek.

This one has a happy ending, though, thanks to JJ Abrams, who completely rebooted the franchise seven years later…

If There Had Been Another Instalment: Star Trek: The Beginning was all set to roll as the 11th Star Trek film, and would have bridged the gap between the original series and Star Trek: Enterprise.

It would have followed the Earth-Romulan War.

Conan The Destroyer (1984)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Considering the wealth of source material available, you'd be surprised if Hollywood execs weren't keen on turning all of Robert E. Howard's stories into movies. Sadly, that idea went down the drain with this lacklustre sequel.

Decidedly camper than the grisly original, it's a kid-friendly adventure yarn that sees Conan on a quest to find a special jewel. After the success of E.T ., Universal wanted to turn Conan into family entertainment - their meddling paw-prints are all over the film.

Bye-bye franchise…

If There Had Been Another Instalment: In 2012 Arnold Schwarzenegger confirmed that will make King Conan, but only if it's of a high quality.

"The important thing with Conan is to make it into an A-movie, to treat it like a 300, or any of those great movies, rather than a B-action movie, where you just hack a few heads and limbs off and just run around with a sword. That doesn't do it. The audience today, and the fans, are very sophisticated. They've seen Spider-Man, Superman, Iron Man, all of those movies, and The Expendables. They've seen it all. They demand something - when they see a Conan movie - that isn't just a spectacle."

We haven't heard anything since...

X-Files: I Want To Believe (2008)

The Franchise-Killing Movie : If casual X-Files viewers had one complaint, it was that the increasingly-intricate and discombobulating 'conspiracy' arc was almost impossible to follow.

For Mulder and Scully's second big screen outing, showrunner Chris Carter opted for a stand-alone adventure that promised to be as good as the show's early stand-alone episodes.

It wasn't. Despite David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson sharing typically zingy chemistry, the blot was deemed baggy, off the mark, and stuffed with clichés.

If There Had Been Another Instalment: Did the TV series leave any myths and legends untouched?

We can't think of any, though sending Mulder and Scully off to investigate Loch Ness sounds as likely as anything else.

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2002)

The Franchise-Killing Movie : Let's not kid ourselves; the first Charlie's Angels probably isn't on many peoples' 'favourite film' lists. It made enough money at the box office ($264m) to warrant a sequel, though.

What we got was this orgy of carnage, as orchestrated by director McG. Tonally erratic and with a plot that didn't make a jot of sense, it at least featured Demi Moore looking salon-fresh fantastic as villainess Madison Lee.

It didn't exactly bomb at the box office ($259m), but the lack of enthusiasm surrounding the project meant no third outings were scheduled for the Angels.

If There Had Been Another Instalment : The plot would revolve around the Angels training up the next generation - because how long were they really planning on kicking ass for a living?

Grease 2 (1982)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: If Grease was a fun romp that sorta knew how tacky it was, Grease 2 bowls along oblivious to its shortcomings, stringing together unmemorable song sequences as a pretence of 'plot'.

In lieu of anything else, most of the attention was lavished on Michelle Pfeiffer, who was praised for her first major leading role ("she has a sullen quality," sang the New York Times ).

The film itself, though, was so forgettable that they forgot to follow it up with a Grease 3.

If There Had Been Another Instalment: The casts of Grease and Grease 2 combine for super- Grease !

They're all ex-high schoolers fighting for the same jobs - but who's better qualified?

Predators (2010)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: With Predators , director Nimród Antal made the same mistake that so many directors make when they're crafting a belated sequel to a beloved classic - he took it far, far too seriously.

Arnie's 1987 Predator was a tongue-in-cheek action flick with some great lines and an awesome monster. Predators forgoes the great lines and settles for earnest action that fails to find the joy in man-versus-alien skirmishes.

Still, Laurence Fishburne gives good crazy, and Adrien Brody's physique is terrifying. The predators look great too - even if that awesome trailer shot of Brody being targeted by hundreds of predators doesn't appear in the movie…

If There Had Been Another Instalment: We'd pick up right where Predators finished, with Royce and Isabelle rescuing the new people dropped into the jungle.

Could a mad scientist be their key to getting off the predators' homeworld?

Scream 4 (2011)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Scream 4 was the sequel that nobody expected, mostly because Scream was always touted as a trilogy - a trilogy that wrapped up (for better or worse) with 2000's Scream 3.

Set a decade after that film's events, Scream 4 saw the return of director Wes Craven and original writer Kevin Williamson, plus key players Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette - all of whom are back in a slasher-plagued Woodsboro.

The concept's neat - it takes down reboots - and everybody's as gung-ho as usual, but by now the scares are wearing thin. And could one woman really be targeted by so many serial killers? Audiences yawned - Scream 4 only took $40m on its opening weekend.

An MTV-produced TV series is potentially in the works, but it's pretty unlikely we'll ever see Scream 5

If There Had Been Another Instalment: Sidney would turn out to be the killer in the end. Surviving that many knife-wounds has got to leave you messed up…

The Jewel Of The Nile (1985)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Proof that franchises aren't all about making money.

Though Jewel Of The Nile was more successful financially than its predecessor ( Romancing The Stone ), it earned such critical ire that 20th Century Fox ditched any plans to turn the films into a trilogy.

Of course, a remake's currently in the works…

If There Had Been Another Instalment:
Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) and (Michael Douglas) would be struggling to raise a kid before being sent off on a new quest to find another elusive McGuffin.

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: That subtitle proved disturbingly prophetic with this third Naked Gun flick - after it bombed at the box office and received a critical mauling, it ended up closing the files on the franchise once and for all.

Both O.J. Simpson and Anna Nicole Smith also won Golden Raspberry Awards.

That didn't stop Paramount contemplating a fourth film - sans Leslie Nielsen. Thankfully that never happened.

If There Had Been Another Instalment:
Our nineties references are a little rusty, but you can bet Frank Drebin would've gotten a job as a bodyguard to the Spice Girls. Meanwhile, a young Sarah Michelle Gellar makes a cameo.

Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life (2003)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: The first Tomb Raider did decent business, but didn't exactly earn the love of critics or audiences.

Cue this amped-up sequel, which aimed to fix the first film's problems - but ended up bombing at the box office despite its best efforts.

It's a shame, because there are some genuinely good set-pieces in the mix here, and Angelina Jolie's clearly having a ball as Lara Croft.

According to Jolie, she didn't don the ponytail for a third time because she was happy with Cradle : "In the first one, I was kind of frustrated," she said in 2004, "but I was trying something new, and then with the second one, I felt like that's how we wanted to do it."

If There Had Been Another Instalment: Tomb Raider: Angel Of Darkness would've made a fun movie adventure, with Lara ending up in Paris and going on a sort of Da Vinci Code-style treasure hunt.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.