The most popular movie franchises typically run for multiple installments, with some still going strong today. However, there are also times when franchises start out promising with their potential but unceremoniously end after their sophomore outing. Several reasons contributed to these franchises’ sudden pauses, whether because of a lackluster box office reception, critical backlash, or plans for a third movie falling apart.

These hopeful franchises could have kept going, but low reception of the second film or failed attempts at creating a third prevented that from happening. From Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy to The Amazing Spider-Man films starring Andrew Garfield, these franchises pulled the plug after two movies.

10 Independence Day

Independence Day

The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive.

1996’s Independence Day remains a quintessential summer blockbuster many families watch every July 4th. The movie had a simple plot of the military facing off against alien invaders, but it was still entertaining. Plus, it had the star power of Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Pullman to back it up. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, director Roland Emmerich created a long-awaited sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence.

While Resurgence delivered the action and special effects, it was an inferior sequel due to Smith’s absence and the overly nonsensical plot. By the end of Resurgence, it seemed clear that the franchise would have the humans leave Earth and take the fight to the aliens. Sadly, its poor reception and weak performance at the box office prevented that idea from being explored.

9 Percy Jackson

Percy Jackson (Movies)

A teenager discovers he’s the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods in this two film franchise.

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Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson book series is a staple in the fantasy genre for young adult readers. The adventures of a teenager discovering he is a demi-god caught in a war between the Gods enthralled readers. 2010’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief brought the first book to life on the big screen. Despite the backlash about its changes to the source material, it was still a box office success.

The franchise continued with Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, which received more unfavorable reviews than the first movie and underperformed at the box office. Sea of Monsters tried to cram in too much material from the books, leading to an uneven story. The outcome of this sequel ultimately put the franchise on hold, but it will get a proper second chance with a new Disney+ series.

8 Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

As a war between humankind and monstrous sea creatures wages on, a former pilot and a trainee are paired up to drive a seemingly obsolete special weapon in a desperate effort to save the world from the apocalypse.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim was an entertaining summer blockbuster and a love letter to the director’s fascination for kaiju creatures. The movie centered around human soldiers piloting giant robots to fight off against huge monsters that emerged from the Pacific Ocean. Pacific Rim became a huge hit with audiences, providing plenty of epic monster battles and chaotically fun action. Naturally, a sequel – Pacific Rim: Uprising – was released five years after the original.

However, behind-the-scenes problems caused del Toro to exit the project, leaving Uprising in the hands of the more unknown Steven S. DeKnight. While the robot vs. monster battles were still fun to watch, the severely mindless plot, absence of several characters from the first movie, and laughable villain twist hurt this hopeful sequel. Fans expected a third movie would turn the franchise around, but the sequel’s poor critical and commercial reception hindered those chances.

7 Sin City

Sin City

Based on Frank Miller’s comic books, Sin City is a crime anthology. This 2005 film was directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino. And due to Miller’s involvement, the movie is true to the comic books. This film blends crime, love, and action together to create a modge podge of exhilarating stories. In one story, an ex-convict tries to chase down the killer of his lover. In another, a serial killer is on the loose, wreaking havoc on everyone in their path. This Miramax film is everything you would hope it would be.

And not only are the plots sizzling with action, but the cast is also unbeatable. Sin City features well-known faces like those of Jessica Alba, Benicio del Toro, Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Elijah Wood. Some of the industry’s favorite creators teamed up for this film, and it shows. The music was composed by Rodriguez, John Debney, and Graeme Revell. And the tunes were designed specifically for this film.

If you are hoping to find a film that will have you on the edge of your seat for hours, Sin City is the winner. Featuring intense plots and grisly characters, this is one of the greatest comic book films. It is a creative masterpiece that blends a variety of flavors into one film. And the anthology design makes it fresh and new with every twist and turn. While it isn’t a kid-friendly film, the plots and characters are guaranteed to entertain almost any adult.

In 2005, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller collaborated to bring the latter’s comic book series Sin City to the big screen. The movie adaptation felt groundbreaking as its stunning visuals, talented ensemble cast, and incredibly detailed faithfulness to the source material won audiences over. People were clamoring for a continuation, but they had to wait nine years later to get it.

By the time Sin City: A Dame to Kill For came out in 2014, the landscape for comic book adaptations had dramatically changed, as superheroes were beginning to dominate pop culture. While the visuals remained outstanding and the cast still brought their A-game, glaring character recasts and a lack of the original’s intrigue hurt the sequel’s chances of being equally successful. If A Dame to Kill For came out a few years after Sin City, fans would have had more riveting stories in the titular city.

6 Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four (2005)

A group of astronauts gain superpowers after a cosmic radiation exposure and must use them to oppose the plans of their enemy, Doctor Victor Von Doom.

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2005’s Fantastic Four hoped to jump on the emerging superhero trend after the success of other 2000s superhero movies like Spider-Man and X-Men. The movie acted as an origin story for one of Marvel’s most famous families as a group of scientists become altered by a cosmic phenomenon that gives them superpowers. While it didn’t receive the best reviews from critics, the movie was still a decent box office hit that paved the way for a sequel.

2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer introduced new enemies, the Silver Surfer and Galactus, for the team to battle. However, the movie made some unwelcoming changes, like portraying Galactus as a giant space cloud. These changes to the source material and the rushed storytelling hurt the franchise’s chances of continuing in a third film. Furthermore, after a failed 2015 reboot, there is hope that The Fantastic Four will find its footing again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

5 Scooby-Doo

Scooby-Doo (Live Action)

After an acrimonious break up, the Mystery Inc. gang are individually brought to an island resort to investigate strange goings on.

Scooby-Doo is one of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time, as legions of fans grew up watching the titular dog and his friends at Mystery Incorporated solve spooky yet comical mysteries. The show received a film adaptation in 2002, which brought the franchise into the realm of live-action. Even with less-than-stellar critical reviews, audiences still flocked to theaters to see Scooby-Doo, which helped achieve its sufficient box office numbers.

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed hoped to maintain the franchise’s momentum. However, the sequel received more negative reception and couldn’t garner the same commercial success as its predecessor. The sequel’s failure dampened any chances of a third adventure with Mystery Inc., which still upsets fans who grew up watching the live-action films and still find them nostalgic today. Fans still hold out hope for a third Scooby-Doo film or a cast reunion in the future.

4 21 Jump Street

21 Jump Street (2012)

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

21 Jump Street came out of the blue in 2012 as moviegoers were hesitant about this film adaptation of a 1980s drama series. Audiences were in for a surprise when it became one of the funniest R-rated comedies of all time. The movie – which centered on undercover cops infiltrating a high school – was a non-stop laugh fest, complete with unexpectedly great chemistry between stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum.

The 2014 sequel – fittingly titled 22 Jump Street – was as uproariously funny as its predecessor, with the characters going to a college instead. To this day, fans keep going back and forth about which movie is better and funnier. The Jump Street franchise seemed destined to continue, even with a rumored crossover with the Men in Black universe. However, discussions on that film or a third installment have unfortunately faded.

3 The Raid

The Raid: Redemption

A S.W.A.T. team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs.

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With its extraordinary hand-to-hand combat and fast pacing, the Indonesian action film The Raid was a high-octane thrill ride that audiences had never seen before. The movie followed a team of police officers raiding an apartment building that turned out to be a sanctuary for dangerous criminals. The story was easy to follow, and the action hooked viewers throughout, as protagonist Rama had to dodge several adversaries to stay alive.

Considering the type of expertly crafted action that The Raid offered, fans were immediately excited to see a sequel. Even with a more complex story and longer runtime, The Raid 2 had the same nail-biting and hard-hitting action that fans loved. Some have even said that the sequel outdid the first movie significantly. The Raid 2 ended with the sense that a third film would be in the works, but the franchise seems to be finished.

2 Hellboy

Hellboy (2004)

A demon raised from infancy after being conjured by and rescued from the Nazis, grows up to become a defender against the forces of darkness.

Before the failed 2019 reboot, Hellboy was once a crucial superhero franchise in the mid-2000s, led by esteemed horror director Guillermo del Toro. Adapted from the Dark Horse Comics series, Hellboy chronicled a demonic hero and his fellow supernatural agents as they protected the world from dark forces. Ron Perlman was the perfect actor to play the titular character, and del Toro’s knack for horror and creature design made the film a critical and commercial hit.

Because of the original’s success, the hero’s adventures continued with Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Perlman’s performance, the fantastic creatures, and the imaginative worldbuilding wowed audiences again. However, the sequel couldn’t meet box office expectations, which was one reason the expected third film ended up getting shelved, along with a lack of studio backing. Considering that the sequel ended with new revelations about Hellboy and his growing family, fans have begged for a proper conclusion.

1 The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

When New York is put under siege by Oscorp, it is up to Spider-Man to save the city he swore to protect as well as his loved ones.

After Tobey Maguire’s tenure as Spider-Man, the web-slinging superhero got a 2012 reboot with Andrew Garfield in the titular role. While fans were unsure about the reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man managed to forge its own identity as Garfield made the character his own. Many fans got on board with this new iteration of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and were curious to see where the character would go next.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 attempted to keep moving forward but fell under the weight of its ambition. It crammed too many villains and subplots into one movie, resulting in a messy story reminiscent of Spider-Man 3, which ended Maguire’s run as the superhero. In the case of history repeating itself, The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s overstuffed plot and underwhelming critical response terminated Garfield’s tenure and canceled any future films. Even though fans were disappointed with the outcome, they were pleased by Garfield’s return in the MCU’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.

 Some franchises are unstoppable juggernauts and make movie after movie, yet some never made it past their second instalment.  Read More