The success of a movie franchise depends on so many things, and the script is most often the least of it; a cast with palpable chemistry, a suitable budget, a studio prepared to play ball and market the thing properly, and countless other factors.The one that stands head and shoulders above all others for me, however, is the choice of director, and if a movie franchise gets off to a surging start with a hot young filmmaker, why bother changing things up?Sadly, sometimes the directors themselves have other plans, abandoning their franchises after a few entries to pursue other artistic endeavours, while the hungry studio machine insists on a glut of (usually inferior) sequels. Whether these directors instigated their given movie franchise or simply came in and made it their own, it's safe to say that the presence of each was sorely missed in the installments that followed...
10. Sam Raimi - Spider-Man
Sam Raimi proved his big budget chops with 2002's enormously successful Spider-Man, and though Spider-Man 2 grossed ever-so-slightly less than the original (despite strong critical acclaim), the third movie smashed the box office, scoring $890 million and damn-near ensuring that a fourth Spider-Man movie was on the cards, right?
Work on a fourth Spider-Man film began in 2007, with Raimi and leads Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst returning, but a mixture of factors caused the director to eventually pass on the project.
Raimi reportedly wasn't happy with any of the four scripts rustled up, and butted heads creatively with Columbia Pictures constantly (which, when he's delivered $2.5 billion in revenue over three movies, seems pretty ridiculous).
With Columbia pressuring him to meet a tight release window, Raimi left the project, and the Spider-Man property was re-purposed as the grossly unnecessary reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, essentially a desperation move to ensure that the rights didn't revert back to Marvel, that ended up being so bad it went there, for all intents and purposes, anyway. We miss you, Sam!
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.