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Top 10 Movies that Bombed so Hard They Had to Cancel the Sequel

VO: Matthew Wende WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

Script written by Nathan Sharp

These movies failed so badly they killed their own franchise. From Battlefield Earth, to Amazing Spider-man 2, to Batman and Robin, there are plenty of movies that tanked enough to squander all chances of a success. WatchMojo counts down the top movies that flopped so hard they had to cancel the sequel.

Special thanks to our user Moral Free for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Movies+That+Bombed+So+Hard+They+Had+to+Cancel+the+Sequel


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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Movies that Bombed so Hard They Had to Cancel the Sequel

Well, so much for that franchise. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies that Bombed so Hard They Had to Cancel the Sequel.

For this list, we’ll be looking at movies that were such massive commercial failures that their planned sequels were cancelled.

#10: “Battlefield Earth” (2000)

“Battlefield Earth” is infamous for being one of the worst movies of all time, filled with bad acting and curiously-angled shots. The movie also has its roots in Scientology. Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, wrote the novel on which the movie is based, and famous Scientologist John Travolta hoped that the novel would be adapted in two parts. Those hopes were soon dashed post-release. The movie dramatically fell off the box office charts after its opening weekend, eventually grossing just shy of $30 million on a $73 million budget. The commercial failure, coupled with the eventual bankruptcy of production company Franchise Pictures, meant that we never got to see the conclusion of Hubbard’s story onscreen.

#9: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014)

There wasn’t exactly a strong demand for a reboot of the Spider-Man franchise only five years after “Spider-Man 3,” and unfortunately, the mediocre quality of these films didn’t do much to win over audiences. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” received a mixed reception, and eventually grossed a disappointing (relative to the property) $709 million. While this iteration of the “Spider-Man” series was meant to spawn an entire universe, including more Spider-Man films, and Sinister Six, Venom, and Black Cat movies, these plans were indefinitely delayed after the performance of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” Sony then reached a deal with Marvel to bring Spider-Man to the MCU, effectively cancelling “The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise in the process.

#8: “Batman & Robin” (1997)

Like “Battlefield Earth,” “Batman & Robin” is known for being one of the worst movies of all time. And like “Battlefield Earth,” there were high hopes that it would pave the way for future installments. Warner Bros. had commissioned a sequel based solely on the dailies of “Batman & Robin.” It was to be called “Batman Unchained” and planned to feature Scarecrow as the main antagonist with George Clooney reprising his role as the caped crusader. However, Clooney decided that he was done with the cowl after the harsh reception of “Batman & Robin,” and the sequel was cancelled. Warner Bros. then hired Christopher Nolan to completely reboot the franchise, resulting in “Batman Begins.”

#7: “Fantastic Four” (2015)

Fox had big plans for their rebooted Fantastic Four. A sequel was announced before“Fantastic Four” even began filming, with a planned release date of July 14, 2017. However, the movie was a massive critical and commercial bomb, earning only $168 million at the worldwide box office and a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The future of the franchise was immediately thrown into question, although it wasn’t looking very good for the Marvel’s First Family. In December 2017, Dsney announced that it was purchasing Fox’s TV and film assets, a move that would place the future of the Fantastic Four in the hands of Marvel Studios. We saw how well it worked for Spider-Man, so fingers crossed.

#6: “Terminator Genisys” (2015)

There once was a time when the “Terminator” series was the pinnacle of action cinema. Nowadays, we get the likes of “Terminator Genisys” - which many people found to be a convoluted, watered-down mess. The film earned only $89 million at the domestic box office, which was considered a massive disappointment for the iconic franchise. Worse yet, “Genisys” was set to be the first movie of a new trilogy, but these plans were cancelled after the movie’s numbers came in. It was then announced that James Cameron would be returning to the series, and that the next film would serve as a reboot and continue the story of “Terminator 2.” Hasta la vista, “Genisys.”

#5: “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” (2013)

Hollywood desperately wants to find the next Harry Potter. While some young adult adaptations like “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” have found success, many others have failed – but few as spectacularly as “The Mortal Instruments.” “City of Bones” opened poorly and never recovered, earning only $90 million on a $60 million budget. Plans for a sequel, “City of Ashes,” were made before the release of “City of Bones,” but due to the disappointing box office performance, these plans were put on hold. It was eventually announced that the sequel was cancelled and that “The Mortal Instruments” would continue as a television series.

#4: “Superman Returns” (2006)

“Superman Returns” served as a reboot/sequel of the first two “Superman” movies and ignored the third and fourth entries (which, let’s be honest…. was for the best). Unfortunately, while many people considered it a decent movie, it was a disappointment at the box office, earning only $391 million against a $200+ million budget. A sequel was planned and set to star Brainiac and Bizarro as villains, with much of the cast reprising their roles, but it was scrapped after the underperformance of “Superman Returns.” A reboot was planned instead, and Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” was released seven years later.

#3: “The Golden Compass” (2007)

Warner Bros. was really swinging for the fences with “The Golden Compass,” but hey, like we said, you gotta find the next Harry Potter. It was made on a $180 million budget and starred various A-listers, including Nicole Kidman, Ian McKellen, and Daniel Craig. However, fans of the novel were incensed that the adaptation diluted the story’s anti-religious themes, and significant studio interference negatively impacted the finished product. The movie received mediocre reviews and grossed only $70 million in the domestic market. Due to the movie’s underperformance and alleged pressure from the Catholic Church, New Line cancelled the remaining two entries of the series, leaving His Dark Materials fans without a satisfying conclusion to the onscreen story.

#2: “John Carter” (2012)

Suffice it to say that Disney had big plans for the “John Carter” name. They allegedly put upwards of $350 million into the movie (including marketing costs), and the filmmakers reported that they were planning to make the series into a trilogy. The producers even began work on the second movie, “The Gods of Mars,” before “John Carter” was released to theaters. However, the film only made $284 million and plans for the remaining two movies were quickly cancelled, while director Andrew Stanton returned to the world of 3D animated films, directing “Finding Dory” instead.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few dishonorable mentions.

“The Last Airbender” (2010)

“Sahara” (2005)

#1: “Green Lantern” (2011)

Of all the superhero bombs, “Green Lantern” was the most spectacular. The film was yet another swing and a miss for DC, as it earned a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed only $220 million on a massive $200 million budget. When you consider that the movie needed to make $500 million to be considered a financial success (as speculated by The Hollywood Reporter), it’s clear that “Green Lantern” was a massive failure. The studio’s plans for an extended “Green Lantern” series were immediately scrapped, making its end-credit teaser more than a little embarrassing.

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