Why Weren’t These 29 Hollywood Film Franchises Never Finished?

Without a doubt, we all live in the era of Hollywood franchises. Every single year, dozens of successful and high-grossing film franchises are released, many of which are made up of many sequels (sometimes even more than 10!). However, some movie sequels end up being total box office bombs, consequently causing the whole franchise to be canceled. Here’s a list of the 29 most famous movie franchises that started but never finished and the reasons behind it. Don’t miss #25, #13, and #4, they’ll leave you in awe!

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#29. The Last Airbender

Sometimes, films are not as good as the TV series they’re based on, and such was the case of The Last Airbender. I don’t know about you, but I was a major fan of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbenderwhich lasted from 2005 to 2008, but the film adaptation was a major disappointment.

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The series tells the life and adventures of a young boy with magical powers who is destined to save the world. During the first film, the producers decided to cram all the 20 episodes of the show’s first season into one movie, and the results were poor. Fans and critics were disappointed, and the other two sequels to the franchise were never created.

#28. Divergent

When the producers announced the release of the first film of the Divergent franchise, everyone expected the film to be the new Hunger Games, mainly because the plot of both novels are quite similar. But even though this action-drama film had a decent box-office opening, the overall results were quite poor.

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The post-apocalyptic film follows the life of Tris, a young girl who lives in a dystopian future where society is divided into castes according to human virtues but doesn’t seem to fit into any caste. 3 movies were released, but even though there was supposed to be a fourth one, the second and third installments received terrible reviews, causing the franchise to be canceled. Even actress Shailene Woodley refused to shoot another movie!

#27. Fantastic Four

For some reason, nobody has managed to create a successful film adaptation of the iconic comic series The Fantastic Four. The most successful film adaptation of the comic was released in 2005 and starred by Ioan Gruffudd, Chris Evans, and Jessica Alba. But 10 years later, Hollywood legend Stan Lee launched the franchise’s first sequel, which resulted in an epic fail.

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This superhero film was destroyed by the critics, mainly because the plot was incoherent, confusing, and way less entertaining than the first installment. The following year, producers tried to make a theater version, but it proved to be a total failure, too.

#26. The Spiderwick Chronicles

Out of all the franchises included on this list, the Spiderwick Chronicles is perhaps the most puzzling case. The series revolves around the lives of three young kids who live in a fantasy world inhabited by countless magical creatures, and the film was actually quite a success. But what happened then?

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Well, to be honest, nobody knows what happened! Even though the movie was critically acclaimed and earned good money, no sequels were ever made. Maybe, the problem was that the first film merged all 5 novels into one story, making it hard for writers to come up with a second script.

#25. John Carter

This epic fantasy movie is based on the popular novel John Carter, which tells the story of a Civil War veteran who is held prisoner in a mysterious planet by a group of barbarians and must set himself free while at the same time rescue a princess.

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The plot is kind of like a blend between Star Wars and Lord Of The Rings, and that’s the reason why everyone expected the film to be a major hit. But to everyone’s surprise, the film received terrible reviews both by critics and fans, thus ruling out the possibility of future sequels.

#24. Eragon

There is nothing more exciting than seeing your favorite book on the big screen, right? While many movie adaptations of famous novels have made it to Hollywood’s Hall of Fame, this was definitely not the case of Eragon.

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Similar to Harry Potter, the novels were about a group of children with special powers who lived in a fantasy world. The first film, which was based on the first book of the series, was released in 2006 and starred Ed Speleers, Sienna Guillory and Jeremy Irons. While producers were originally hoping to make several sequels, the audience and the critics didn’t respond well to the movie, so all hopes of future sequels were lost.

#23. Ender’s Game

After the release of the Harry Potter and The Hunger Games franchise, it seemed that everything related to teenagers saving the world was something that just couldn’t go wrong. Thus, when producers announced the release of The Ender’s Game, everybody thought it would become a huge blockbuster.

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The film goes around the life of a young boy named Ender, who must lead the war against an alien race who seeks to invade the Earth. Even though it counted with A-list stars like Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, and Hailee Steinfield, the movie was a failure. According to the critics, the story was way too complex and shouldn’t have been fit into only one movie.

#22. Percy Jackson & The Olympians

When we were teenagers, one of our dreams was to wake up and discover that we had new superpowers. Well, this was exactly what happened in Percy Jackson & The Olympians, ta novel about a teenager who one day discovers he’s the descendant of a Greek god.

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The film franchise wasn’t actually a failure since the first two films performed well at the box office. However, producers thought that creating a third film was too risky, since most of the actors had aged out of their characters and fans had apparently lost interest in the franchise.

#21. Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World

Epic movies are a perfect choice if you’re a history lover like I am, and they’re a fun way of learning about the world’s most crucial events for those of you who get easily bored by history books. In 2013, the epic film Master And Commander was released, based on Aubrey Maturin’s novel about the French-British rivalry during the Napoleonic Wars.

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The movie won 2 Academy Awards (for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing) and 8 other nominations. Furthermore, fans loved Russell Crowe’s performance in the role of the British captain. But despite the positive reviews and multiple awards, Peter Weir said that the movie didn’t earn enough money to do a sequel. What a shame!

#20. Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events

A Series Of Unfortunate Events is a really fun movie with great performances, including Jim Carrey under the role of a goofy villain. The film follows the misadventures of three siblings who are left under the custody of their evil cousin Count Olaf after their parents die in a massive fire. However, little do they know that Olaf is secretly planning on stealing their fortune!

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The film was based on the first three books of the Lemony Snicket‘s 13-book series and people were completely sure a sequel was going to be released. However, producers changed their minds, not only because the franchise already has its own TV series, but also because all the actors have aged.

#19. The Golden Compass

The fantasy movie was based on Philip Pulman’s book series His Dark Materials and was released in 2007 starring A-list celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Dakota Blue Richards. Even though the film earned dozens of millions of dollars, the critics were far from good.

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While the original novel has a strong anti-religion stance, the film script seems to be way more trivial, and that’s why the fans were very disappointed. Besides, the movie didn’t gross as much as the producers expected, so we doubt a sequel will ever be made.

#18. The Chronicles Of Narnia

The first film of the Chronicles of Narnia franchise was a massive hit and fans loved it. It was so true to the original novel, that watching the film was almost like reading the book! However, while the franchise comprises 7 books, there are only 3 movies. Why do you think that is?

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Even though all the 7 books were bestsellers and everyone went crazy with the first movie, it seems that fans lost interest in the Narnia universe as soon as the book series The Voyage of the Dawn was launched to the market. As a result, producers changed their minds and any plans for funding future sequels were put off.

#17. The Host

We all remember the time when we were Twilight fans, right? And I bet we were all jealous of Kristen Stewart, because we were all in love with heartthrob Robert Pattinson both on-screen and in real life. But not only was the movie great; I’m sure most of you had Stephanie Meyer’s novels in your bookshelf!

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A few years later, Meyer wrote The Host series and in 2013, the first movie was released. Considering all the Twilight frenzy, everyone had big expectations, but these were never met. While Saoirse Ronan delivered a great performance under the role of Melanie, overall the movie was very poor. Partly due to the harsh critics, the cast refused to make a sequel.

#16. The Mortal Instruments

During the YA boom (a term that refers to the popularity of movies about young adults and teenagers with special powers), many movies with similar plots came out, with the hopes of enticing the teenage audience. This was not the case of The Mortal Instruments, a fantasy film released in 2013. The film goes around the life of Clary Fray, whose life changed when she discovers she descends from a line of warriors who are meant to protect the world.

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The film tanked the box office, and one of the reasons behind this is that many teens and young adults found the film way too fantastical and even childish. Luckily, producers came out with a better idea, to adapt the novels to a TV series. The final result, Shadowhunters, had moderate success and had its final season aired in 2019.

#15. Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time

Did you know that some of the most famous film franchises are based on videogames? Such is the case of the famous blockbuster Tomb Raider, where Angelina Jolie brought the videogame character Lara Croft to life. However, not all videogame films were equally successful. Let’s take a look at Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

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Gyllenhaal took on the role of the Prince of Persia, the character of one of the most famous retro videogames ever. Although many fans praised Gyllenhall’s performance, the script was quite poor and it was a box office bomb. Therefore, don’t keep your hopes up, cause it seems there won’t be any sequels in the near future.

#14. Hellboy

The Hellboy franchise, released in the early 2000s, became one of the greatest classics in film history. Under the direction of the talented Guillermo del Toro, his two Hellboy movies were a complete success. What is more, he performances of Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, and Selma Blair were unforgettable.

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The director wanted to film the third film, but unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. Although the real reasons have never been confirmed, it appears to be that del Toro didn’t come to terms with the writers and they disagreed about the script. Just recently, a reboot of Hellboy was released with new actors and without the Mexican director. What a shame!

#13. Amazing Spider-Man

Spider-Man is one of the most popular comics of all time, and the first film adaptations were equally successful. We all know what happens to shy Peter Parker after he’s bitten by an altered spider, and all of the films follow the steps of the red-masked superhero.

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In the 2002 film, actor Tobey Maguire took on the role of Spider-Man, and most fans believe he was the best Spider-Man ever. After that, The Amazing Spider-Man was released starring actor Andrew Garfield, but fans weren’t so convinced by his performance! It appears to be that Tom Holland will star in the next Spider-Man film, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet!

#12. 28 Days Later

We can’t imagine a better role for the Irish actor Cillian Murphy than that of Jim in the 28 Days Later franchise. The first movie of the franchise was a complete hit. It’s a classic zombie story with a thrilling plot and a great amount of suspense. After that film, he starred in the film’s sequel, 28 Weeks Later.

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The first two films were so successful that last year they announced the third installment, 28 Months Later. However, personal problems apparently arose between the producers, so the movie is currently on hold.

#11. Justice League

DC and Marvel have been competing head-to-head with each other over the past few years, and in 2017, DC released the first Justice League film with the hopes of becoming the highest-grossing hit of the year. Despite counting with A-list stars such as Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Jason Momoa, not may people went to see it and it tanked the box office.

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After that, DC released the sequels Man Of Steel and Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, but unfortunately, neither of these films were well-received by the fans. The gloomy aesthetic never won over the audience and many critics claimed that the writers and directors were trying too hard to be just like Marvel.

#10. Tron

Did you know that the Tron franchise is actually based on an ’80s cult classic film of the same name? That’s the reason why many of the older fans were super excited when the release of Tron: Legacy was announced for 2010. Sadly things didn’t exactly turn out as everyone expected.

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On the one side, critics praised the movie’s art-visual effects. On the other hand, most of the audience claimed that the plot was too simple and the film didn’t do too well at the box office. Even though the director wanted to film the final part of the trilogy, the production crew decided to put an end to the franchise.

#9. National Treasure

When the mystery-action film National Treasure was released in 2004, Nicholas Cage was all people talked about. The audience was captivated by the thrilling plot and it was one of the highest-grossing films of the year. Three years later, the sequel, National Treasure: Book Of Secrets, was released. But what about the third part?

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According to Nicolas Cage and the production crew, the script of the third film is almost finished and they still haven’t settled on when to film it. Why won’t they hurry, we’re all dying to find out what was written on page 47!

#8. Kick-Ass

Released in 2010, Kick-Ass was surprisingly one of the highest-grossing Marvel films of the last decade. It goes around Dave Lizewski, an unnoticed high school student who decides to become a superhero despite lacking any real superpowers.

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Besides, the film starring A-list stars like Aaron Johson, Nicholas Cage, and Chloe Grace Moretz. The film was such a success, that everyone figured that the sequel would also become a hit. However, to the very contrary, the second installment deceived the audience, causing the producers to call off the series.

#7. Clash Of The Titans

Even though the 2010 action film Clash Of The Titans was slammed by critics, it was a surprise box-office hit. While the plot left much to be desired, the film counted with an amazing cast, including acting legends such as Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, and Ralph Fiennes.

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In 2012, the sequel Wrath Of The Titans was slammed by critics once again, but this time, the film didn’t win over the audience. As a result, the third and final part of the trilogy was canceled, since the producers weren’t willing to take the risk.

#6. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Stieg Larsson’s book trilogy The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was such a success, that it was given that it would be adapted to film at any moment. First, the Swedish version came out in 2009, and two years later, a Hollywood remake was made.

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Starring actor Daniel Craig and actress Rooney Mara, the Hollywood version was critically acclaimed and Larsson’s fans were waiting to see the sequels. Rumor has it that conflicts between scriptwriters and producers kept the sequel on hold, and in 2015, producers announced that the second installment would be rebooted with new actors.

#5. Inkheart

Released in 2008, Inkheart is based on a mystery-fantasy novel about a man who can “read” characters out of their books and bring them to life. But this doesn’t end here! Each time a fictional character is brought to life, a real-life person is read into the same book. Yikes!

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Even though the producers never planned on making the movie into a franchise, they bought the rights to all the three books of the Inkheart series. Nobody knows whether there are any plans to complete the franchise, all we know is that the only film released so far has been a major box-office bomb. Therefore, it’s touch and go whether a sequel will be made.

#4. Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker

What is it with Hollywood that they just love to make films about young teenagers saving the world? Even though these sorts of movies generally captivate the audience, this is not always the case. When the YA film Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker was released, most of the fans were completely deceived.

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The film tells the story of Alex Rider, a 14-year-old schoolboy who is recruited by the M16 – the British equivalent to the CIA – and trained for a world mission. According to fans and critics alike, the plot was unbelievable and far from the original. Ouch!

#3. I Am Number Four

Alex Pettyfer’s big break came with the action film Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, which we’ve just mentioned. Unfortunately, luck is not on his side, as the second movie he starred in also tanked the box office. In 2011, he took on the lead role in the I Am Number Four franchise, but the movie received harsh criticism.

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The critics claimed that the dialogues and script were “forgettable”. And, surprisingly, the audience didn’t seem to buy the plot either! This came as a shock to the production crew, as the Lorien Legacies novels which the film was based on were major bestsellers.

#2. Vampire Academy

The 21st century witnessed a sort of vampire and werewolf fever, and we have Stephanie Meyer to thank. This successful writer was the author of the Twilight book series, and the film adaptations were such a hit that suddenly, many producers decided to invest their money in movies related to vampires and humans falling in love with dark creatures.

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In 2014, Vampire Academy was released, but although the plot is quite similar to that of Twilight, the film was a total failure. It was destroyed by critics and Rolling Stone gave it 0 out of 4 stars. That can’t be good.

#1. Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures is yet another film franchise that failed to stand out, even though nobody understands why. The film is based on the Caster Chronicles book series, which comprises of 4 novels. The books were major bestsellers, but in spite of this, the film starring Alden Ehrenreich and Australian actress Alice Englert became one of the biggest box office failures of 2013.

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Apparently, the love story between Ethan and Lena was not at the same level as the one between Bella and Edward Cullen. However, it wasn’t all bad: the film had mixed reviews and some critics said it wasn’t the worst movie of the genre. However, producers decided to keep it safe, so a sequel was never made.

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