When movie cliffhangers are pulled off correctly they can have a massive impact, which is evidenced by the likes of The Dark Knight or The Empire Strikes Back (and maybe even The Force Awakens). A good cliffhanger is designed to break the story at an organic moment of high drama, and leave the audience wanting to come back for more. So theres nothing worse than a movie that ends on a cliffhanger note and sets up a future conflict, only for the sequel to completely ignore it. This has happened in a lot of big franchises, where fans have invested in the story and characters, only for the rug to be pulled out from under them when the next instalment arrives. There are plenty of reasons this can happen; the movie might have underperformed, a key actor might have left the series or - in some cases - the cliffhangers were flimsy and sequel baiting to start with, so ignoring them was probably the right move. Whatever the reasons they ended up leaving major franchises with messy loose ends, and no amount of retroactive fan theories can patch up the holes. Here are some movies that are guilty of this particular sin.
It feels like a long, long time ago that people were excited for Termination Salvation. Sure, it had McG directing, but it also had Christian Bale as John Connor, the story was set post-Judgement Day and the trailers looked great. Then it came out and was revealed to be a turgid mess with a confused story and that rarest of gems; a terrible Christian Bale performance. The film was set to launch a new trilogy centered on Bale, and the movie ends on a clear To be continued note. In fact, Salvation originally contained a ballsy ending where Connor was killed, and to keep his legend alive his skin was grafted onto Sam Worthingtons Terminator character. This planned ending leaked and fans had a meltdown, so was replaced with the silly heart transplant idea. Maybe if they went with the original plan people would have been intrigued, but since nobody wanted to see more adventures of grumpy John Connor (least of all Christian Bale) the next film Genisys rebooted everything from scratch. The only achievement of T3, Salvation and Genisys is they form a unique trilogy of failed trilogy starters, which has to be a cinematic first.