Franchises dominate Hollywood in the present day. There are tons of franchises for viewers to feast on, including the MCU, Star Wars, James Bond, and Batman. Hollywood tends to go where the money is, and there is no doubt that franchises can be highly lucrative and earn studios lots of money.
Although franchises are financially successful, that does not mean that the content is always great. The MCU is the gold standard for movie franchises, but it stumbles from time to time. Unfortunately, some franchises continue to get worse as the entries pile up.
10/10 Transformers Kept Getting Worse Until A Spin-Off
The first Transformers movie starring Shia LeBouef and Megan Fox was released in 2007. Adapted from the classic cartoon, Sam Witwicky gets caught up in the battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons. The franchise spawned five Transformers films and a spin-off titled Bumblebee, with a few more projects coming in the future.
While the first film had mixed reviews, all the films after were received negatively. However, since the films continued to make massive amounts of money; and two entries grossed over $1 billion at the box office, they continued to get made. Bumblebee received praise from fans and critics, breathing new life into the franchise.
Sex and the City is one of HBO’s best series ever made, following four women in New York City who navigate their love lives as they enter their mid-thirties and early forties. The series spawned two theatrical films, Sex and the City and Sex and the City 2, which were nowhere near as successful as the show.
A third film in the franchise was planned, but canceled primarily due to star Kim Cattrall’s feud with her costar Sarah Jessica Parker. So instead, a sequel series, And Just Like That… was released on HBO Max with the whole cast returning minus Cattrall. It has since been renewed for a second season.
8/10 Terminator 2 Was The Last Good Film In The Terminator Franchise
The Terminator is a classic 1980s sci-fi that launched the careers of Arnold Schwarzenegger and director James Cameron. A robot is sent back in time to eliminate Sarah Connor, mother of future leader John Connor so that Skynet can win the war. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Schwarzenegger is sent back to protect John himself.
Twelve years later, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines led right into the war with Skynet as the franchise started to go downhill. Future entries dealt with the war between humans and machines, which lost the magic that made the first two films great. The latest entry, Terminator: Dark Fate, was meant to spawn a new trilogy but was quickly canceled due to underperforming in all areas.
7/10 Jaws Is A Classic…The Rest Are Far From It
Jaws is a classic that still holds up today. Released in 1975, the film follows a group that hunts a man-eating shark terrorizing a summer resort town. The film put director Stephen Spielberg on the map and is cited as one of the best movies ever made and the film that invented the summer blockbuster.
Jaws’ success led to a franchise that nobody really asked for. The film spawned three sequels that were all duds that did not come even close to reaching the heights of the first. Sir Michael Caine starred in Jaws: The Revenge, and, as a result, missed the Academy Awards the night he won an Oscar for his performance in Hannah and Her Sisters.
6/10 Taken Did Not Need Any Sequels
Taken was a surprise hit when it was released in 2008. Starring Liam Neeson as former CIA operative Bryan Mills, he goes after sex traffickers who have kidnapped his daughter in France. The film is most remembered for its classic phone call scene between Mills and the kidnappers, and for turning Neeson into an action hero.
Due to its success, Taken was greenlit for two sequels and a prequel television series. Unfortunately, the sequels were not well-received, earning 22% and 12%, respectively, and the series was canceled after only two seasons. The first was great on its own and really did not warrant any future installments.
5/10 The Hobbit Was Never Going To Live Up To Lord Of The Rings
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey takes place sixty years before the Lord of the Rings series, following Bilbo Baggins as he and the wizard Gandalf go on an adventure to reclaim Lonely Mountain. The film spawned two sequels: The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies.
The franchise had enormous pressure to replicate the success of the Lord of the Rings series, even having original director Peter Jackson return to helm the trilogy, but unfortunately, they did not come close to reaching it. However, following one of the greatest film trilogies of all time is no easy feat.
4/10 Die Hard’s Bad Entries Outweigh The Good Ones
Die Hard is one of the quintessential action movies of the 1980s. On Christmas Eve, NYPD detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) battles terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in a Los Angeles skyscraper. The film catapulted Willis into superstardom and was nominated for four Academy Awards. Some even consider it a classic Christmas movie.
Die Hard spawned a franchise, and despite having Willis return for each outing, none were as successful as the original. Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth entry released after a 12-year gap, was favorably received but Die Hard 2 was mixed, and Die Hard with a Vengeance and A Good Day to Die Hard were both critical failures. With Willis’ recent retirement from acting, fans should not expect another sequel.
3/10 Alien Vs Predator’s Two Films Were Critical Failures
Alien and Predator were both successful franchises that spanned the 1980s and 1990s that fans hoped someday would cross over. They got their wish with Alien vs. Predator, released in 2004, that pit the two extraterrestrial species against one another with humans caught in the middle.
The film was panned, but had enough success to warrant an even worse sequel. Alien vs. Predator: Requiem was even more loathed by fans and critics alike. Despite being two powerhouse franchises, they could not find success together, and even afterward, the respective franchises were on shaky footing.
2/10 Police Academy’s Sequels Never Reached The Heights Of The First
Police Academy, starring Steve Guttenberg, finds a police station looking to take anyone as a recruit due to the low number of police officers. Hilarity ensues when a group of misfits train to become police officers and display surprising resilience on the job.
The film spawned six sequels and two television shows, all panned by viewers and critics alike. The final four entries of the series, Police Academy 4-6 and Mission to Moscow, all have an astounding 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. As a result, the franchise was effectively killed in 1994, with talk of another entry going on ever since.
1/10 Shrek Has Gone Downhill After Shrek 2
Shrek is a modern-animated classic, and the first film to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Shrek, an ogre, and Donkey go on a daring quest to save Princess Fiona, who turns out to be an ogre herself. In Shrek 2, they travel to the kingdom of Far Far Away to visit Fiona’s parents. Both films were well-received by critics and fans.
The following two films, Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After, did not enjoy the same success as the first two outings. The focus was taken away from Shrek after underperforming in favor of a spin-off series following Puss in Boots. A fifth Shrek film is planned but has not seen any updates since 2020.
NEXT: 8 Animated Movies So Good They Ruined Their Franchise