Some younger cinephiles may not remember, but there was a time in the not too distant past when a movie could be successful and make a lot of money, yet wouldn't have a release date for a sequel announced on the Monday after it got released. It may sound crazy, but its true.
The marketplace is so crowded with franchise pictures that studios are staking out release dates years in advance, in what is essentially planting a flag to let the competition know that they have claimed this day for themselves and nobody should dare attempt to take them on. Or something like that.
Nowadays, it seems strange when a project rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office and doesn't get a sequel, but it happens; whether it be through poor reviews, budget issues, creative differences, an unwillingness for the major players to re-sign or a simple failure to put the pieces together.
It is the widely accepted rule of thumb in Hollywood that if a movie is a hit, franchise the absolute sh*t out of it an attempt to make as much money as possible before audiences give up. It is this logic that has seen the summer become a tired succession of bland and formulaic sequels, and not the most exiting time of the cinematic calendar as it used to be.
But not everything gets to be a franchise...
10. Tron Legacy
Of all the movies to receive a belated sequel, Tron always seemed like an unlikely candidate. While the groundbreaking original opened up many filmmakers eyes to the potential of visual effects, it was a moderate box office success and was firmly entrenched in the category of 'cult favorite'.
28 years later Joseph Kosinski's follow-up arrived in theaters armed with a $170m budget, backed by a massive multimedia marketing campaign. While it did earn $400.1m worldwide, the profit margins were so thin that the previously-announced third instalment has been put on hold indefinitely. Which means we'll probably see it in another two decades or so.
From a technical standpoint, Tron: Legacy is stunning. The visuals, soundtrack, effects (with the exception of the de-aged and dead-eyed Jeff Bridges) and production design are all top-notch, but a weak script and some wooden acting lets the whole thing down. Given the lukewarm reception from both critics and audiences, Disney just didn't see the benefits of moving ahead with another eye-wateringly expensive return to the well.