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Movie Franchises That Refuse to Die

Movie Franchises that Wont Die Header

Be it through lack of fresh ideas or trying to cash in on nostalgia, the last few years have seen a number of critically panned movie sequels and remakes grace our screens. Many titles are simply unoriginal rehashes with the lead role recast with a popular face, and deservedly flop at the box office. Others breathe new life into a tired old idea. Read on to discover two entries that have happened or are definitely happening, some projects in the pipeline and a couple that are little more than rumors.

Bill and Ted 3

Last Outing: 1991 ( Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey )
Chances of Happening: 80%

Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey Storyboard Panel

The original bodacious duo haven't been seen in nearly two decades, but apparently original stars Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves have been eager to partake in a third film for some time.

The rumors originally broke when Reeves mentioned the possibility of a sequel at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2010. MTV's Adam Rosenberg wanted to confirm that it wasn't a joke on Reeves' part, and so interviewed Winter who eventually acknowledged the rumor, saying "Now the cat's out of the bag, and the truth is that, yeah, we have finally hit upon an idea that we think is pretty great."

To further cement the viability of the project, the original writers from the first two films (Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon) are on board to pen the script. However, it seems that no director or producer has taken the helm as of yet though Reeves has mentioned pitching ideas to Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Werner Herzog (we assume this is a joke, but one can never know). A third script was written in the early nineties but subsequently scrapped, although some of it was used in the critically-panned 1996 movie Bio-Dome.

The reason it has taken so long for the current project to go ahead is two-fold: firstly, nobody could decide on an central idea for the movie until recently. Secondly, the death of comedian George Carlin who played Rufus in the original movies has hampered progress. "It's really complicated. He was such a big part of the spirit of the originals, and we've been trying to be clever about making a new one that can handle the Carlin issue. It's actually stopped us in the past — why do it without Rufus? We've been delicate about moving around him," says Winter, and all parties involved have since refuted any notion of recasting the character.

When is it likely to surface: Sooner rather than later according to the team, but no details released as of yet.

Will it be Any Good: It sounds like a great deal of care has been taken with getting the script right and it's being handled by the best people for the job. Success seems likely, if only with its niche target audience.


Tron: Legacy

Last Outing: 1982 ( Tron )
Released: 2010

Original Tron suit from the Original Film

Starring Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan, the original Tron movie wasn't amazingly well-received but is notable as one of the very first films to rely heavily on computer graphics, and has maintained cult popularity over the long years. Interestingly, it was refused a nomination for special effects from the Motion Picture academy – according to director Steven Lisberger, "they said we 'cheated' when we used computers which, in the light of what happened, is just mind-boggling"

The sequel, originally entitled TR2N and later changed to Tron: Legacy, was announced by Disney back in 2005. Finally, after five years in the making the film was released in 3D for US theatres in December 2010.

Bruce Boxleitner is making a return, and Jeff Bridges is reprising his role not only as the original film's protagonist, but also as the sequel's computer antagonist – using digital de-aging, Bridges appears both as his 60 year-old self and as a 30-year-old computer representation. Unfortunately, Cindy Morgan (who played Yori in the original) will not be starring in the film, much to the disappointment of fans who have launched a Facebook campaign which came to the attention of Morgan herself. Alongside the new cast accompanying Bridges, Daft Punk make a cameo and supply the score.

When is it likely to surface: December 17, 2010.

Will it be Any Good: The film opened to warm reviews and was a big hit of the 2010 holiday season. DVD sales have been good too. You can also see the HD trailers on YouTube.


Ghostbusters III

Last Outing: 1989 ( Ghostbusters II )
Chances of Happening: 45%

Ghostbusters Logo on Black

The rumor mill has never stopped churning on this one, but as of the last year it appears there is some substance to the possibility of a third movie and seems to be in production for a 2012 release (even though the cast behind many key characters have not been confirmed).

According to reports, the franchise's original screenwriters and actors Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis have put the project on hold multiple times over the years due to a general disinterest. The closest it came before now was with a script in the mid 90s which was set in Hell, but this was deemed as low quality and subsequently scrapped.

Despite expressed half-heartedness from Aykroyd and Ramis since as late as 2009, the duo seem to have finally written a script they're happy with. Bill Murray also appeared hesitant to reprise his character in a third movie, but eventually agreed (Sigourney Weaver is also confirmed to make a return).

When is it likely to surface: No set date has been announced yet, as the script is being rewritten as of July 2012.

Will it be Any Good: Reading between the lines it doesn't seem like anyone involved is overly confident but someone is throwing enough cash at the project to make it happen. We're expecting embarrassing results, but perhaps we'll eat our words.




Video Camera Filming a Clapboard

Independence Day 2 (and 3?)

Last Outing: 1996 ( Independence Day )
Chances of Happening: 80%

ID4 Independence Day Saucer

Independence Day (often known by the promo title ID4) is widely considered to have rebooted the disaster and sci-fi genres, and smashed box office records by taking over $100m in its first week. It wasn't the best film in the world, but its mainstream appeal and financial success meant that a sequel was always going to be discussed.

However, nearly fifteen years on and there is little in the way of verifiable news.  Back in 2004 we heard that attempts to write a sequel were going badly as continuing the story from the original film was problematic.

Contradictions have arisen from creators Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, too – the reports of giving up on sequel attempts followed a 2002 interview in which Devlin stated that the pair had settled on a great concept for continuing the story. In the same interview, Devlin stated that he had no plans for multiple sequels, yet there is now fresh reports of an Independence Day Trilogy.

"What we want to do in the next – it's actually two movies – we want to do a bigger arc," told MTV Emmerich back in 2009. However, there still doesn't appear to be a script and it is unclear whether Will Smith (whose movie career was effectively launched with the first film) is interested in the project.

When is it likely to surface: IMDB has a listing for 2013, but since there isn't even a script yet it is impossible to say.

Will it be Any Good: It'll take incredible creativity to pull it off, but since Emmerich has tentatively titled the sequels "ID4-Ever (parts 1 and 2)", we'll reserve judgment.


American Pie 4: American Reunion

Last Outing: 2003 ( American Pie: The Wedding )
Released: 2012

American Wedding Logo and Still Shot of Actors

After the three theatrical releases, a further four movies in the American Pie franchise were released directly to DVD. Worldwide, the cinema titles made over $750m in the box office yet were slated by critics as puerile, with the DVD releases ignored entirely – so what are the chances of a fourth theatrical outing?

Quite good, it seems. Universal Pictures have been planning another sequel since 2008, and the film has entered pre-production as of this year. Many of the original cast have expressed interest in reprising their roles, although Seann William Scott (whose first career break was playing the Stifler character in the original films) has spoken previously about his fear of being typecast, and stated in an interview earlier this year "I knew when I did [American Pie 3], I was like, 'I just want to complete this character'. It was like, what else can I do that's disgusting? What's the point of doing a movie if you can't do anything else to top the last one? There's nothing else to do."

When is it likely to surface: It was released in theaters April 6, 2012.

Will it be Any Good: The latest Rotten Tomatoes rating puts it at 44%. It has apparently been a hit with fans of the series but pretty much panned by everyone else.


Jurassic Park IV

Last Outing: 2001 ( Jurassic Park III )
Chances of Happening: 20%

Jurassic Park T Rex Chasing Jeff Goldblum

While the revenues of any of the three existing Jurassic Park movies are nothing to be sniffed at, as with many gigantic film franchises the appeal wore off with each subsequent sequel. But unlike other titles on this list, it was never a case of if there would ever be a Jurassic Park IV but when.

The movie has been boiling in development hell ever since Spielberg announced plans in 2002. Various staff have come and gone, scripts have been torn up and plans were revised when Michael Crichton (author of the original Jurassic Park novels) passed away in 2008. A year before Crichton's death, rumors were circulating that the movie's plot was to center around dinosaurs kitted out with guns by the Government – although this is almost definitely nonsense, this has not been officially refuted.

Earlier this year, director Joe Johnston again promised the release of a new Jurassic Park film and has even suggested it could be the start of a new trilogy. However, this is not the first time he has made statements concerning the probability of its release.

When is it likely to surface: Who knows? The release date keeps getting pushed back, and was originally supposed to surface in 2005.

Will it be Any Good: Historically speaking, third sequels are never known to perform brilliantly, so we hope that whatever is taking so long is worth the wait (and doesn't involve armed dinosaurs).


Star Wars: New Trilogy

Last Outing: 2005 ( Episode III: Revenge of the Sith )
Chances of Happening: 10%

Star wars Timeline Poster

Rumors of further films in the Star Wars canon will probably never die. George Lucas steadfastly denies a third trilogy ever being made, despite constant press rumblings suggesting otherwise. Since the creator himself has put paid to the notion, surely that's the end of the matter?

Not quite. While Lucas has recently stated that it was always meant to be a six-part series, this sits at odds with the fact that it was never originally intended to be a single trilogy, let alone two. The original trilogy was put into action only after being spurned on by the success of the first movie, and the prequel trilogy came about after Lucas lost much of his fortune in a divorce settlement.

So, given Lucas' tendency to make it up as he goes along despite pretending it to be all part of his masterplan, hope for further films is not completely extinguished. Also, Mark Hamill's take on the situation is interesting to say the least.

When is it likely to surface: If it does materialize, we can expect a decade-long wait for it to do so.

Will it be Any Good: Whether it rises to the heights of the first trilogy or runs as lukewarm as the second, it doesn't matter – the whole world will see it.

(All images from imdb.com)



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