10 Sequels That Were Cancelled Due To Box Office Flops

When Hollywood overplays its hand...

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Hollywood likes to get way, way ahead of itself, so it's never surprising when studios set about commissioning sequels to movies that aren't even out yet.

Some of the time, this occurs in relation to films that end up doing great business at the box office, and so the foresight in putting a sequel into development as quickly as possible actually pays off in a big way.

It doesn't always work out like that however: studios can bet on the wrong horse to be a major hit and put a sequel into development, only for said horse to plummet over the first fence at the box office and be taken out the back and shot.

Occasionally the studio will bite the bullet and plough forwards, hoping that things change when the sequel swings around, but in most cases they're forced to concede embarrassing defeat and cancel.

Here are 10 sequels that were either shelved or found themselves shunted into development hell (forever) after their initial movies failed to entice the punters to the theatre. 

Learn your lesson, Hollywood: slow down.

10. The Lone Ranger 2

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"Hi-Yo, Silver!"

Or, uh, not. After the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, a film franchise based on a shoddy ride from the '60s, Disney asked themselves: "Hey, which other redundant artefact with minor cultural relevance can we update and sell to the masses?" Their gaze fell on The Lone Ranger, a western TV series from the '40s, known for its iconic theme tune and light-hearted antics.

Get Gore Verbinski to direct, and Johnny Depp to star... what could go wrong?

Well lots. The studio's first mistake was believing that casting Depp as Tonto would ensure the film as a box office smash. Disney also failed to realise that, in 2013, the western - as a genre - was done for and that lead actor Armie Hammer lacked draw.

And so the film, made for $225 million, grossed just $260 million (despite not being anywhere near as bad as the critics made it out to be).

Planned out as a major franchise with Hammer and Depp both signed on for multiple sequels, the disappointing returns meant that The Lone Ranger 2 had to take a bullet; Disney quickly halted development on the sequel, and then - to Depp's well-publicized chagrin - swiftly wiped it from existence.


Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.