11 Planned Movie Sequels That Should Be Canceled
If there’s one thing Hollywood loves, it’s a sequel. Even the worst sequels often wind up making a huge chunk of change at the box office, making it one of the most reliable genres—despite the fact that a “sequel” isn’t technically a genre of anything. But that doesn’t mean that every movie actually deserves one. We’ve pulled together a list of planned cinematic follow-ups we want to be shelved indefinitely.
On the one hand, it’s hard not to get excited about the possibility of Michael Keaton, Winona Ryder, and the brilliant cast of 1988’s Beetlejuice re-teaming with director Tim Burton for another movie. On the other, more realistic hand, we know it probably won’t be very good. For one thing, Burton hasn’t been close to the top of his game in years. His last good movie was, what, Sweeney Todd? To make matters worse, the recent nostalgic reboot trend has yielded a ton of mediocre products. The same would probably happen if Hollywood were to say Beetlejuice’s name three times again…
We’re The Millers 2
Nobody asked for 2013’s We’re the Millers in the first place, least of all the critics, which is why it’s sad that there are plans in place for a sequel. While the original made $150 million at the box office, does anyone actually remember what happened in that movie? On the bright side: there hasn’t been much talk of a sequel since it was first announced in 2014, meaning Warner Bros. may have finally fixed the gas leak in the building that prompted the sequel to be greenlit in the first place.
The sequel to one of the biggest movies of all time—James Cameron’s 2009 Fern Gully fan-fiction, Avatar—has taken years to make. Even more troubling: Cameron has said that he has plans for not just one sequel to Avatar, but three. However, after years of talk, none of these follow-ups have yet to be completed. That’s good news for fans hoping to see further improvement on the 3D effects. And it’s even better news for the rest of us, who want to see a major upgrade from the original’s weak storyline and lame characters. But really, they may want to just junk the whole thing. Cameron and crew are better off accepting Avatar as a flash-in-the-pan, once-in-a-moment hit, and should just move on to something else. Computer-generated blue people and a bad script is not the stuff franchises are made of.
RED from 2010 might not have been many people’s idea of a classic action flick, but it did give audiences the admittedly cool opportunity to watch a group of veteran stars—including Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Helen Mirren—wipe out bad guys with cool moves and heavy artillery. Sadly, instead of leaving well enough alone, the studio smelled a franchise. And even though 2013’s RED 2 was met with scorn and relative indifference, RED 3 entered development almost immediately. Here’s hoping it stays in limbo. If this movie does ever materialize, at the very least the filmmakers could choose a different color. Who wouldn’t want to see a movie called RED 3: YELLOW? Or maybe just: PERIWINKLE?
Blair Witch 3
The first Blair Witch Project captured lightning in a bottle. It used a clever promotional campaign and the novelty of its found-footage approach to wring a surprising amount of scares out of a bare-bones setup. Nearly $250 million in box-office receipts later, a sequel was inevitable. Although 2000’s Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 did poorly enough to put the franchise on ice, co-director Eduardo Sanchez still insists he’s putting out a third installment one of these days. Can someone lure him into the woods before he strikes theaters again?
National Treasure 3
There are times when Nicolas Cage’s unique brand of insanity can be a lot of fun on the big screen. But it’s been a long time since we were able to take him seriously as an action hero, and the National Treasure movies haven’t exactly improved with age. Disney has roughly 800 million reasons to press Cage back into duty for a third Treasure outing. But chances are good that a decent story isn’t one of them.
Bad Boys III and IV
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence were great together in the original Bad Boys—so great that people didn’t stop clamoring for a sequel until 2003, when Bad Boys II proved (yet again) that some movies really don’t need a second installment. Nevertheless, talk of a third chapter has persisted for over a decade, and current plans reportedly call for two more sequels. Great for Smith and Lawrence’s bank accounts. Bad for everyone else.
Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn were pretty funny together in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, and it’s one of those goofball comedies that always slides past your eyeballs painlessly when there’s nothing better on TV. But let’s get real: there’s no need at all for a sequel. What else needs to be said that the original missed? But this is the rule in Hollywood: when you gross more than $150 million on a reported $20 million budget, you just don’t say no. Still, in the wake of the supremely disappointing Zoolander 2, we’re hoping Stiller refocuses on original ideas for awhile.
Beverly Hills Cop IV
The Beverly Hills Cop franchise is a study in diminishing returns, both in terms of box office as well as general enjoyment. Yet the original was so great that people just can’t let go of the idea that a good sequel might actually happen someday. Bad movie director Brett Ratner has been reported as attached to Beverly Hills Cop IV, and he even got far enough that Paramount Pictures issued an official announcement putting it on the schedule for spring 2016. But it was eventually pulled from the calendar over script concerns. For the sake of what remains of Eddie Murphy’s legacy, it needs to stay off forever.
The original Wanted is one of those stylish action thrillers that makes it easy for you to forgive the knots and holes in its story through sheer fun and firepower, and it took plenty of people along for the ride, as its $341 million gross attests. But while the final act left a few things open-ended, it didn’t exactly cry out for a sequel, which is probably why the studio and the producers have spent nearly a decade trying to figure out what they want out of a Wanted 2. Our advice? Leave well enough alone.
The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2
For starters, there’s no question that we can’t wait to catch the big-screen version of Marvel Comics’ “Infinity War” story. But the reason we don’t want Infinity War Part 2 is that splitting a movie into two parts feels less like good storytelling, and more like a cash grab. Marvel shouldn’t follow the Hollywood trend of splitting a sequel in half, stretching its story out to cover two films. Movies like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, were all broken into two movies for little reason other than to inflate their respective studios’ box office receipts. Even The Hobbit franchise, which is based on a single, short novel, was supposed to be two three-hour movies…until the studio tacked on yet another three-hour movie. With no examples of good split-sequels, we have to wonder if Infinity War Part 2 is really necessary. Unless you work for Marvel, one Infinity War probably sounds like plenty.