And for good reason.
Following an interesting set of characters over the course of multiple movies can be a cash cow. The James Bond movies have earned over 6 billion dollars, while Harry, Ron and Hermione have raked in almost 8 billion since their series debut in 2001.
This weekend producers are hoping to kick off the Beautiful Creatures franchise. The supernatural romance has Twilightish overtones, a cast that mixes news stars like Emmy Rossum with established faces like Viola Davis and Emma Thompson and the kind of tale of good versus evil that propelled Harry Potter to the upper echelons of the box office.
But not all movies catch on with audiences in the way that the super spy and wizard have.
Recently I Am Number Four, starring Alex Pettyfer and Glee’s Dianna Agron fizzled. Rotten Tomatoes said, “familiar plot and unconvincing performances add up to one noisy, derivative, and ultimately forgettable sci-fi thriller.” Not really the stuff of ongoing franchises.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a 1984 film starring future RoboCop actor Peter Weller and John Lithgow, was so convinced of its sequel potential they announced the next movie in the closing credits. It’s a wild ride, but poor box office killed any chance of the proposed Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League hitting screens. Star Weller says he’d still suit up, if anyone asked. “I’d certainly do it if it all came together,” he says. “I don’t understand the movie myself, but people love it.”
With sales of over 60 million copies the book series Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events seemed to have natural franchise possibilities. With thirteen books in the collection—a “tridecalogy” author Daniel Handler called it—there’s source material galore, but even though the Jim Carrey movie did well no sequels emerged.
To skirt around the problem of having child lead actors whose looks change as they grow up, there has been talk of producing a stop motion animated sequel. “In an odd way,” said director Brad Silberling, “the best thing you could do is actually have Lemony Snicket say to the audience, ‘Okay, we pawned the first film off as a mere dramatization with actors. Now I’m afraid I’m going to have to show you the real thing.'”
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