10 planned movie franchises that were canned after the first film

  • 12 planned movie franchises that were canned after the first film

These days sequels and long-running film franchises are so common, that most of the biggest box office hits are follow-ups to well-loved films.

So all films should aspire to creating a series, right? Well some studios plan the sequels, threequels and prequels before they've even done a good job on the first effort.

Here are 12 films that should have got the first one right...

10. Planet of the Apes (2001)

Tim Burton's 2001 version of Planet of the Apes, starring Mark Wahlberg and (unsurprisingly) Helena Bonham Carter putting a new spin on the 'it was Earth all along' story.

Mark Wahlberg's character tries to go back in time thanks to a time vortex, or science or something, only to end up at the foot of Washington DC's Lincoln Memorial and discovers it is actually a statue of a monkey (Apereham Lincoln??).

The studio execs at Fox stated that if it was a financial success, then a sequel would be commissioned; when asked if he'd do the follow-up, Tim Burton replied: "I'd rather jump out a window" but that he deliberately left in a cliff-hanger so that another director could take up the storyline if they wanted.

The film's stars Mark Wahlberg and Helena Bonham Carter said they'd only return if Tim Burton would direct, so the whole thing crumbled to the ground, and in 2001, the series was rebooted with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which started a franchise of its own.

9. Cat In The Hat

The 2003 live-action version of Dr. Seuss's classic, about a talking cat who visits two bored kids, starred Mike Myers and followed on from the success of another Dr. Seuss character The Grinch, starring Jim Carrey.

On the day of the film's release, Myers stated in an interview that as the book had a sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, he was expecting a sequel be made to the film as well.

In February 2014 and with the sequel in development, just like the Roald Dahl incident, Dr. Seuss's widow, Audrey Geisel, declared that she hated the film, especially Myers' casting, and declared that she would not allow any further live-action adaptations of her husband’s work.

The sequel was cancelled, and a CGI version of Horton Hears a Who! is the only thing to come out of Dr. Seuss’s body of work since.

8. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The legendary comedy sci-fi series created by Douglas Adams originally started out as a BBC radio comedy and has since been turned into books, comics, a TV series and 1984 computer game, and finally in 2005, it hit the big screen.

Starring a host of acting talent including Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell and Zooey Deschanel, plus the voices of Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman, everything was lining up for the film to be just as loved as all of the other HHGTTG media.

The story veered wildly away from the rest of the Hitchhiker media and it was regarded as being a bit too old fashioned for a Hollywood film. Box office-wise, it made back twice its $51 million budget.

Despite this, it wasn't as much as hoped for, as its leading man Freeman explained about hopes for the sequel: "There isn’t at this point. I found that out from the horse’s mouth, [director] Garth Jennings.

"I had dinner with him and he said [the first one] just didn’t do well enough."

Not many fans or filmgoers will be too disappointed with this news.

7. Godzilla (1998)

The much-maligned 1998 Godzilla movie, the first to be produced by a Hollywood studio, starred Matthew Broderick and directed by Independence Day chief Roland Emmerich and was nominated for a stack of Razzie Awards.

The film ended with the cliff-hanger of an egg, thought to be destroyed by an airstrike on Madison Square Garden, hatching and a baby Godzilla emerging.

A treatment for a sequel was written, in which the Godzilla offspring fights a giant insect in Sydney, but due to the film's massively negative feedback, the sequel was shelved altogether.

Instead, sixteen years later, we were given a new Godzilla origins story, directed by The Raid's Welsh director Gareth Edwards, which somewhat made up for the 1998 flop.

6. John Carter

The 2010s have been a bit of an up-and-down period for Disney Studio, while films like Frozen and Big Hero 6 have been mega hits in cinemas, there are live-action flops like Prince of Persia, Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Lone Ranger and Adventureland.

One of Disney's biggest box office misses was 2012's John Carter, based on A Princess of Mars from Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels, in which a Civil War vet is transported to a planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians.

Disney dropped the 'of Mars' titles and changed the film's marketing to remove the sci-fi elements and focus on the action/adventure aspects.

This decision didn't go down well with Barsoom fans, while the general public viewed it as a generic fantasy blockbuster.

The film's dismal performance saw Disney Studios chief Rich Ross leave the company blaming Pixar for the underperformance.

Before John Carter was released, the film was intended to be the start of a trilogy and began work on the second novel's adaptation, before the poor box performance stopped them in their tracks.

There were subsequent talks and suggestion of a sequel, but the enthusiasm had long since drained away and in 2014, the film rights had reverted back to the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate.

5. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

The original (and best) story of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka, ends with the eccentric chocolate purveyor telling Charlie that he'd inherited the factory.

The book's author Roald Dahl was so upset about how his story was transformed to film that he wrote it into his will banning any adaptation of the book's follow-up Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator from being made.

Compare the 1971 ending with Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from 2005, where Burton avoided any allusions to a great glass elevator or set up a sequel because of Dahl's instructions in his will.

4. Super Mario Bros.

One of the biggest disappointments in movie history is when Mario hit the big screen and his story involved parallel dimensions, dinosaurs and a germophobic King Koopa.

At the end of the film, Luigi's girlfriend Daisy turns up with a flamethrower and exclaims: "You're never going to believe this!" to which the plumbing brothers strap on their belts ready to dive into another sequel.

As the film was such a widely-hated abomination and regarded as one of the worst films of 1993, if not, all of the '90s, the idea of seeing more of the Super Mario Bros on screen actually made people physically sick, the whole sequel idea was canned.

We will never find out what they 'are never going to believe', which is probably a good thing.

3. The Lone Ranger

The original TV series of The Lone Ranger was hugely popular back in the 1940 and 50s, and Disney had been planning on making a film version since the 1990s, but finally pushed ahead with production in 2008.

The film ended up going vastly over-budget and would finally hit screen needing to make an estimated $650 million at the box office just to break even.

Not only did the film bomb, and is currently the fourth biggest box office bomb in history, it was lambasted by the critics.

All of this contributed to Disney completely disregarding their plans to turn The Lone Ranger into a franchise like they had with Pirates of the Caribbean.

2. Battleship

After the success of the Transformers films, Hasbro thought it could turn Battleship into the next money-making blockbuster film franchise.

Unfortunately for them, the alien spacecraft war flick starring Rihanna, Liam Neeson and Brooklyn Decker, which was heavily influenced by the style of the Transformers films, failed to deliver on the North American box office (despite doing well in every other market).

Also being nominated for six Razzie awards spurred Hasbro on to drop the idea of a Battleship franchise, instead giving Michael Bay more money to blow even more things up.

1. Mortdecai

Johnny Depp outdid his previous work on The Lone Ranger with one of 2015's biggest flops in the form of the art dealer and swindler Charlie Mortdecai.

Adapted from the Kyril Bonfiglioli novels, the film focuses on the first instalment, 'Don't Point that Thing at Me' and stars Depp, Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow and Paul Bettany.

Unfortunately, Mortdecai was described by critics as 'wilfully unfunny’ and 'rated as the worst film of 2015, deservedly so' and made back half of its budget.

Lionsgate, who released the film, decided against developing any of the other three Mortdecai novels, for obvious reasons.

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