10 Films That Should Never Have Become Franchises

One gimmick. Five movies.

Saw Puppet

Remember that episode of Family Guy where Peter steals the sequel to The Passion Of The Christ from Mel Gibson’s hotel room? Good news: Mel really is making a sequel and no, this is not a joke.

Called The Resurrection (which leaves little doubt as to the film’s plot), the film slots perfectly into modern multiplex filmmaking: an instantly recognizable brand based on a massively popular book with a built-in audience.

The question is, does it deserve to be a franchise?

If Hollywood asked itself that question more often, audiences wouldn’t now be bracing themselves for Ocean’s 8, Johnny English 3 and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. We wouldn’t be living in fear of the upcoming Transformers spin-offs, including the possibility of a G.I. Joe crossover movie.

Like McDonalds, Hollywood understands the importance of branding and franchising and recognizes that uniformity is key to a product’s success. People will always come back for more of the same, even if they got diarrhea the last time.

Here are 10 reasons why most audiences should have their viewing privileges revoked.

10. Robocop

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As much a satire as an action movie, Robocop owes a great deal to the verve of Paul Verhoeven, a Dutch director making his second Hollywood movie, who brings an outsider’s eye to what could have been a by-the-numbers sci-fi movie. Like the 2014 remake, you might say.

Verhoeven didn’t return for the sequels and it shows: the first one was mean-spirited and humourless, the other bland and unmemorable. Neither was particularly exciting and their attempts at satire seemed to have been filtered through a focus group.

According to Frank Miller, who co-wrote both sequels, that’s pretty much how it was. He’d turn in a draft and producers Orion would automatically demand rewrites until it no longer resembled his original story. Maybe that's why Robocop’s Directive #262 reads “Avoid Orion Meetings.”

Getting back to the 2014 remake, the makers of the next Robocop movie swear it isn’t part of their film’s timeline. Yeah man whatever.

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Ian Watson is the author of 'Midnight Movie Madness', a 600+ page guide to "bad" movies from 'Reefer Madness' to 'Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.'