30 Franchise-Killing Movies

Alien Resurrection (1997)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Hundreds of years after sacrificing herself on Fiorina 161, Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is cloned back to life in Joss Whedon's decidedly gooey fourth Alien flick.

Whedon disowned the film (claiming "everything was done wrong"), but it's not /that/ bad. Weaver's on fine tongue-in-cheek form, and that underwater sequence (above) is to die for.

It also holds up particularly well in comparison to Alien Vs Predator and, uh, Aliens Vs Predator . The xenomorph lived on, but it's not had a standalone outing since Resurrection (no, we're not counting Prometheus ).

If There Had Been Another Instalment: The film would have taken place on a desolate Earth (as hinted at in Whedon's original script), where, naturally, xenomorphs have also crash-landed.

Sex & The City 2 (2010)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: "Borderline racist" ranted The Guardian . "The most polluting and women-hating film of the year" raged the Evening Standard.

Though they're extreme views on what is essentially a silly rom-com, there's no denying that this second cinematic outing for Carrie and co did little other than undo the stellar work of the genuinely pioneering TV series.

Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) turns into a she-monster of Cloverfield proportions, while Samantha (Kim Cattrall) offends Eastern culture (and everybody else) with her rampant nymphomania. Don't expect a third jaunt any time soon.

If There Had Been Another Instalment: The story would come full circle with Carrie deciding to divorce Mr Big, and setting back out onto the dating scene to bemoan being a newly- single forty-something.

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Sam Raimi's third Spidey flick had its problems, and it's arguable that even though Raimi almost got to make Spider-Man 4 , Sony's confidence in him was so shaken that the studio second-guessed his every decision, eventually forcing him out.

The common argument against Spider-Man 3 is an oldie but a goodie - it tried to shoe-horn in too many villains.

When Raimi couldn't agree with Sony on a direction for Spider-Man 4 , the studio decided to hit the reboot button.

If There Had Been Another Instalment: Pre-production on Raimi's Spider-Man 4 got so far as hiring James Vanderbilt to write a script, which featured the Lizard and potentially Anne Hathaway as Black Cat.

Blair Witch 2: Book Of Shadows (2000)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: When The Blair Witch Project blew up in 1999, its makers promised us a terrifying trilogy.

Sadly, that trilogy never materialised, and it's all because of Book Of Shadows , which dumped the first film's restrained, micro-budget approach for something altogether more in-yer-face.

Critics slated it, branding it atmospheric but muddled. Still, directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez are keen on a third film even now - only time will tell if they eventually get it made.

If There Had Been Another Instalment: A return to Burkittsville, in which a documentary film crew attempt to retrace the steps of Heather, Josh and Mike in order to discover what really happened to them.

Batman & Robin (1997)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Joel Schumacher's second time behind the camera on a Batman film, and things have spiralled into the kind of neon-hued campery that makes Adam West's time in the cape look positively sombre.

Crotch and butt shots ruled, Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr Freeze spouted some of the worst one-liners the Austrian Oak had ever tackled, and George Clooney wore one of the worst Batsuits ever created.

Warner Bros cancelled Batman Triumphant, an irony that surely wasn't lost on them…

If There Had Been Another Instalment: Batman Triumphant would have seen The Scarecrow as the main villain, while The Joker would have returned from the grave as a hallucination.

Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Christopher Reeve takes a final spin in the super-suit as the Man of Steel, except things are looking even shakier than ever for Krypton's favourite son.

Reeve was given a (somewhat misguided) story credit, the budget was shrunk down to a miniscule $17m and Superman's nemesis - Nuclear Man - was turned into a long-nailed joke. "[ It ] was a catastrophe from start to finish," Reeve later admitted.

It took almost 20 years for Superman to recover - he finally returned in 2006's Superman Returns . Which is a whole other story…

If There Had Been Another Instalment: We might have got Superman V: Superman Reborn , starring Christopher Reeve.

Based on an idea by comic writer Cary Bates, the film would've seen Supes going up against Brainiac.

Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Halloween H20 resurrected the Halloween franchise after years in the wilderness (oh, Paul Rudd). Just four years later, Halloween: Resurrection buried it again.

Trying too hard to be hip, Resurrection capitalised on the rush of reality TV by installing POV cameras, Tyra Banks and Busta Rhymes - who uses groan-worthy karate moves on Michael Myers. Our EYES, our poor, poor EYES…

If There Had Been Another Instalment: We discover that young Jamie (played by Danielle Harris in Halloween 4 and 5 ) is alive and well, another young woman having been mistaken for her in Halloween 6 .

Now with her own daughter, Jamie's trying to forget her troubled past. Until Myers comes calling again…

Green Lantern (2011)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Ryan Reynolds suits up as the Green Knight in this failed franchise kickstarter. We say 'suits up', but his suit actually consisted of mo-cap sensors - the suit was built in a computer later.

Reviews were harsh (a "joyless amalgamation of expository dialogue and special effects that aren't especially special" spat the Associated Press), and all thoughts of a franchise fizzled.

Reynolds is still keen on a sequel (well, he's not really doing much else at the moment), but it would need a serious rejig if it was going to work. They could start with giving him an actual suit…

If There Had Been Another Instalment:
We'd have wanted to see the Blackest Night comic brought to the big screen.

In the fan favourite story, Nekron brings dead superheroes back to life in an attempt to eliminate life in the universe. Naturally, Hal Jordan steps in…

The Last Airbender (2010)

The Franchise-Killing Movie : The Last Airbender made a lot of money. And we mean a lot. Its budget wasn't tiny ($150m), but its box office haul was huge - M Night Shyamalan's action epic took $319m.

That's a lot of money for what was deemed one of the worst movies ever made. Paramount yanked the film from cinemas after it was almost universally derided, then scrapped its plans to make an Airbender trilogy.

If There Had Been Another Instalment: There were two more series of Nickelodeon's cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender (the first film pretty much covered the first series), meaning the sequels would have more than likely followed the cartoon.

John Carter (2012)

The Franchise-Killing Movie: Before it got its mitts on Star Wars , Disney went for space opera gold by adapting the sci-fi epic that inspired George Lucas (among others) in the first place.

Pumping a whopping $250m into the film, Disney seemed confident. But then the reviews came in - not hugely damning, but not exactly effusive. Despite taking $282m at the box office, it wasn't enough to cover the extra costs accrued during the marketing process.

It's a shame, the film is much better than its reputation might suggest.

Franchise cancelled. New hope: Star Wars.

If There Had Been Another Instalment:
John Carter could have gone up against the Yellow Martians (as seen in The Warlord Of Mars ), which are hiding in secret cities at Mars' North Pole. Which would have been cool.

Still, there would have been a downside to another Carter. It would mean we probably wouldn't be getting any new 'proper' Star Wars movies - we're fairly sure the John Carter situation was at least partially responsible for Disney's decision to buy up Lucas' universe.

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.