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Failed Franchises

This weekend marks the US premiere of Hasbro’s special effects extravaganza, Battleship.  While the film has been generating terrific numbers throughout Asia, many question how Battleship will fare in its country of origin.  The film was meant to be the beginning of a series, but with a $200 million budget the film will have to turn out huge numbers in the US in order to keep the hopes of becoming a franchise alive.

Battleship will draw in moviegoers who like explosions but it lacks appeal in almost every other area.  The most obvious is the complete lack of star power.  Taylor Kitsch stars and we saw how insignificant his name is with him headlining a film with the complete and total flop that is John Carter.  Brooklyn Decker also stars yet her star power is still rising with her only other films being last year’s Just Go With It and this weekend’s fellow wide release What to Expect When You’re Expecting.  The special effects seem to be the film’s saving grace. 

Like many big budget productions before it, Battleship runs the risk of crashing and burning at the box office as it loses any chance of picking up a sequel.  Countless films have been plagued by this in the past and it won’t be stopping any time soon.  In honor of these major flops, let’s review some of the films that flopped and simply could not muster the appeal to start a franchise.

Here we go:

Godzilla

The perfect example of how a big budget does not equal big success.  The $130 million budget could not save this project from becoming one of the most laughably bad movies in recent history.  Sure, there was talent in front of the camera with the likes of Jean Reno and Matthew Broderick yet it was not nearly enough to salvage this train wreck.  Godzilla did go on to gross over $300 million worldwide but was unable to connect with critics and audiences which led to all plans for a sequel to be put on a permanent hold.  Unfortunately, there are plans to reboot the franchise so we may have to suffer through yet another film about the iconic Japanese monster.

If you’re never seen the 1998 film check out the trailer below and you will understand why it was a flop in every sense of the word.

Super Mario Bros.

Considering that Mario is arguably the most famous video game character of all time, a movie was bound to be based on the video game franchise at one point or another.  The Mario video games are terrific and this movie was a great reminder of why Mario should stay in his Nintendo realm.  Critics despised the film and it even turned off hardcore fans on the series.  Even with a $42 million budget, Super Mario Bros. could not even gross half of its budget in the US.

Eragon

A film that will go down in history as one of the most despised book adaptations of all time.  While it is not as horrific as many make it out to be, as a lover of the book series I must say I became extremely frustrated with how the film seemed to completely disregard its wonderful source material.  Eragon had every intention of becoming a movie franchise but after a less than welcoming reception Fox realized that any planning for future films would be money lost.  The book series has a dedicated fan base so don’t be surprised if the series is rebooted in a few years.

Superman Returns

While being the only film on this list that I genuinely enjoyed, it is also the only one that didn’t get panned by critics.  There was plenty of hype leading up to the premiere of the film as it would mark Superman’s return to the big screen after a 20 year absence.  It seems this hype only hurt the film.  Superman Returns turned out to be a good movie but it was nothing extraordinary and many fans left underwhelmed.  Being one of the most expensive films of all time the film was meant to turn out record numbers, but unfortunately the film tanked at the box office and grossed only $390 million worldwide.  Those kinds of number are minuscule for a superhero movie, especially one as famous as Superman.  The careers of Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey have yet to recover from this box office disaster.

Little side-note:  Let’s see if Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel finds more success when it premieres in 2013.

Sahara

Sahara was meant to be the next Indiana Jones but we all know that Matthew McConaughey is no Harrison Ford!  The A-List cast of McConaughey and Penelope Cruz was not enough to spark interest in the film and after poor reviews the film debuted to a meek $18 million.  The film had a reported budget of $160 million and after grossing a pathetic $120 million worldwide, Sahara has gone in infamy as one of the biggest box office disasters of all time.  After all these financial issues the bad news continued as the film’s producers were sued for a breach of contract and any last hopes for a sequel went up in flames.

Wild Wild West

Solid proof that not everything Will Smith touches turns to gold.  A critical and financial disaster, Wild Wild West is a major blotch on Mr. Smith’s record.  Save your time and watch the trailer below.  Every corny joke and cheap thrill is featured.

The Last Airbender

If M. Night Shyamalan’s career wasn’t tarnished enough after Lady in the Water and The Happening, The Last Airbender sure destroyed any legitimation he had left.  It was not too long ago when news of a new Shyamalan movie had movie fans everywhere buzzing.  Now those days are a distant memory and his name has become a joke to many cinephiles.  While The Last Airbender was a modest financial success, both audiences and critics loathed the film and it has become a film we try to forget as we revisit the old cartoon.

The fate of Battleship is still unclear.  With its overseas success, the possibility of a sequel all relies on the numbers it generates in the US.  We will simply have to wait till Sunday in order to see how it fared on opening weekend.  Happy moviegoing!

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