6 Movies Franchises that Kept Going Long After People Stopped Caring
Some movie series enjoy success after success (“Star Wars”). And some movie series have been around so long they’re cultural institutions (“James Bond,” “Godzilla”). And then there are those movies that have initial success or interest and then piss away that goodwill film after film until people are shocked to learn the crew is still showing up on set. Here are just a few of those movie franchises…
Leprechaun (6 Films)
While not exactly a huge hit, 1993’s horror movie “Leprechaun” did find its audience (and introduce a then-unknown Jennifer Aniston a mere year before “Friends” would make her regret every previous professional decision). However, unlike such horror series as “Paranormal Activity” which grow their audience by expanding their mythology, the producers of “Leprechaun” instead opted for the equivalent of “Let’s send the Expedia lawn gone on a killing spree.” And so they flew their creature from North Dakota to Los Angeles to outer space to eventually “the hood” where it actually smoked a crack pipe, causing the one person who rented the direct-to-DVD sequel to beat the crap out of the Redbox machine from which they got it.
Bring It On (5 Films)
While the idea of addressing the racial gap by way of cheerleading at first seemed odd, 2000’s “Bring It On” proved a sizeable success in theaters. In fact, it was such a success that the studio decided to nix the movie’s entire cast and even movie theaters in favor of a series of lower and lower budget DVD follow-ups that addressed such pressing social issues as “college cheerleading,” “inner-city cheerleading,” “upper-middle-class cheerleading” and “cheerleading by way of ‘West Side Story’.” As of this writing none of the sequels have focused on “intergalactic cheerleading” but that may only be because the producers have yet to raise the money to buy a Flip camera and green body paint.
Police Academy (7 Films)
The first “Police Academy” movie had everything you needed to be a comedy smash in the 80’s—a ragtag team of misfits, contempt for authority, and someone getting their head shoved inside a horse’s a**. The second movie then decided to up the ante by proudly proclaiming “Now starring Bobcat Goldthwait!” And so the long, slow decline began as even the Stonecutters couldn’t convince series star Steve Guttenberg to do a fifth film and the cops battled such typically ridiculous 1980’s movie gangs as tunnel dwellers, ninjas thieves, and Russian mob video game programmers. By the seventh and final film there was just a one person on the screen and one person in the theater, starring at each other as original cast member Michael Winslow made helicopter noises with his mouth.
Air Bud (11 Films)
1997’s successful “Air Bud” told the story of a golden retriever named Buddy who escapes an alcoholic clown to lead a middle school basketball team to the championship (which oddly enough was also the original plot to the film “Rudy,” minus the dog and basketball but keeping the clown). Buddy then went on to play in the school’s football, soccer, baseball, and even volleyball team in a series of movies that kept upping the ante of some student athlete getting viciously mauled. But before he could take the field to school the students in cricket (“Air Bud: It’s Like Running Bases but Not and with Tea”), Buddy was replaced by his puppies in films that sent them to Alaska, Egypt, and space in what one could only imagine was the worst collection of pet training videos ever.
Jaws (4 Films)
“Jaws” wasn’t just a hit. It was a phenomenon, creating the very idea of the summer movie blockbuster at a time when the season was reserved for such kiddie fare as “Herbie the Love Bug Rides Again” and “Hooray for Butterflies!” So naturally a sequel was bound to happen. While not a critical hit, 1978’s “Jaws 2” was the most successful movie follow-up ever until some movie about a kid learning that James Earl Jones is his father. And then everything went to hell. “Jaws 3-D” unleashed the shark at SeaWorld, causing people to scream, “These cardboard 3-D glasses are making us nauseous!” And so by the time of the final film “Jaws: The Revenge” (0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes), not only had the audience given up but so had the film crew, judging by the number if scenes in which you can see the shark’s propeller system.
The Land Before Time (13 Films)
Thirteen films! Thirteen films about a dinosaur named Littlefoot and his friends surviving bullies, prejudice, bad luck, loneliness, height-ism, and all the things we learned the extraterrestrials actually used to kill off the dinosaurs and cross-breed with man thanks to that very special episode of “Ancient Aliens.”
What other franchises went on way too long? Let us know in the comments!