Hollywood loves a bankable franchise, doesn't it? By hook or by crook, every moderately successful intellectual property seems to get milked for everything that it's worth. Be it with an endless onslaught of sequels, or by repeated attempts to resuscitate a franchise via remakes and reboots, studios love finding lazy ways to keep their properties alive.
But, you may argue, as long as audiences want to see them, what's the problem? Well, there's only so much you can do until the inevitable franchise fatigue creeps up on you. With X-Men and Men In Black the latest in a long list of franchises to fizzle out, it appears it's only a matter of sequels until audiences get bored of seeing the same story play out on screen time and time again.
It doesn't always go this way though. Sometimes, in a moment of uncharacteristic inspiration, studios decide to give franchises on life support to filmmakers whose creativity is only matched by their talent. In these cases, many changes are made to "flip the script", where perhaps the most fundamental of which is shifting the tone and feel into something refreshingly different. Here are the ones that managed it with remarkable success.
10. Rocky Is No Longer About Rocky (Creed)
Ok, so this is a different kind of saving here. Rather than being knocked down from critical bashings and public infamy, the Rocky franchise was on the ropes (pun intended) due to the narrative corner the story got backed into.
Rocky Balboa put a full stop on the series, with Rocky's story being tied up perfectly. So where do you go from there now Rocky's journey has come to the end?
The answer was shifting the focus to a new protagonist. The introduction of Michael B. Jordan in front of the camera and Ryan Coogler behind it injected fresh new life. Contrasting the light-hearted enjoyable romps of its predecessors, Creed brought grit and realism that put you right in the middle of the Philadelphia streets. The new urban feel made the city feel like it's a character if its own, allowing Adonis' journey to mirror Rocky's in an emotionally satisfying way that was still fresh.
The best thing about the major changes from Rocky Balboa to Creed is that it facilitated so much of the great elements the film brought to the table including some jaw-dropping fights and an impeccable performance from Stallone that even the Academy had to acknowledge.