10 Film Franchises That Successfully Recovered From Awful Entries

Proving the Law Of Diminishing Returns wrong.

James Bond

Hollywood attracts a lot of criticism for its lack of originality. Year after year,the film landscape seems to become dominated further and further by the latest entries in gargantuan blockbuster franchises. All of 2018 and 2019’s top ten grossing films worldwide, with the exception of Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, were part of such series.

It certainly helps that the majority of these films have been well received by critics and audiences. One bad entry can derail or even stop a franchise - burgeoning or established - dead in its tracks, as poor quality translates into negative word-of-mouth and internet marketing and in turn lower cinema audiences and revenues.

Such is the scale and marketing clout of some of these franchises and the studios behind them, however, that the occasional clunker is disregarded and not seen as a death knell.

Sometimes such a film is the beginning of the end for a series as it starts to bring in increasingly diminished returns, but sometimes such a film is the catalyst for a rethink of the series to bring it back to its former glory.

Here are ten series that bounced back from mediocrity in style on at least one occasion.

10. Mission Impossible

James Bond
Paramount Pictures

The Awful Entry – Mission Impossible 2 (2000)

It’s somewhat astounding that Mission Impossible has become one of the most successful and critically acclaimed action franchises of all time. After switching directors for each of the four films, locking Christopher McQuarrie into the chair for the most recent two has been a stroke of genius, enabling his vision and Tom Cruise’s barbaric wishes to come together like nothing else.

Whilst the financial returns of the series have always been strong and stable, the quality has been far more inconsistent. The original film in 1996 was a fairly formulaic action thriller that attracted significant criticism for its convoluted plot and mistreatment of the lore of the original 1960s television series.

2000’s Mission Impossible 2 then doubled down on the convolution and overdid the ‘it’s another character wearing a mask’ gimmick/plot twist to the point where it became more of a shock when somebody actually was who they appeared to be.

It’s a film that has now been all but forgotten in the wake of Ghost Protocol, Rogue Nation and Fallout dialling down the silliness and focusing on leaner plotting. Today it is more likely to come up in a pub quiz as the film Dougray Scott opted to do instead of play Wolverine in X-Men than in a discussion about the best Tom Cruise films.


Alex was about to write a short biography, but he got distracted by something shiny instead.