10 great blockbusters that never got sequels

Only a town like Hollywood would green-light a Goonies sequel and leave The Incredibles and Roger Rabbit alone...

Roger Rabbit: A sequel would have cost a lot more than a shave and a haircut...

Hollywood is often accused of milking anything that moves, but there’s a collection of strong blockbuster movies that, for some reason, never got the franchise treatment. Should we be grateful? Judging by some of the follow-ups we’ve been watching of late, that’s a very definite yes…

E.T.: The Extra TerrestrialThis one got painfully close to being franchised, with a sequel mooted that would have seen Elliot head off into space and have to contact E.T. to dig him out of the proverbial shit. Fortunately, common sense prevailed, and Spielberg’s biggest hit remains a one-off, as the director decided it was best to leave the film standing alone.

GladiatorAgain, a franchise extension was mooted here, that would have been a prequel to Ridley Scott’s best picture Oscar winner. Wisely, this wasn’t pursued, but it does bring memories of Hollywood execs trying to drum up some kind of prequel to Titanic all those years ago. Whoever refuses to greenlight films like these deserves some kind of medal. Or at least a warm handshake.

The IncrediblesPixar – Toy Story aside – has been slow when it comes to sequels, with Toy Story 2 the only example to date. However, with follow-ups to Cars and Monsters Inc in the works, it’s perhaps worth highlighting what many believe to be its finest films, that thus far stands alone. That’s odd, too: arguably The Incredibles is the most franchisable of the lot, especially in the current climate…

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ArmageddonAh, I appreciate – not for the first time – that I stand alone on this one, and that Armageddon is as loathed as it is loved. Fortunately, so final was the last act of the film that a follow-up was never a possibility. What are they going to do? Raise Bruce from the dead somehow? Interesting, Touchstone didn’t make follow ups to any of its 90s action flicks, which leads us neatly onto…

Con Air/The RockOh, how easy it would have been. Convolute another plot to get Nicolas Cage on another plane with another cartload of convincts. Or why not do a Prison Break on Sean Connery and get him locked up in Alcatraz again, rather than trying to break in? The enduring popularity of both films suggests that you don’t need a franchise to keep people interested after all…

Minority Report/Total RecallIs this Tom Cruise’s best blockbuster of the last decade or so? This writer certainly thinks so, and the world that Steven Spielberg – based on the writing of Philip K Dick – brought to the screen could very well have been mined further. Likewise, the Arnie megahit Total Recall, also loosely based on Dick’s writing, had ceiling room for more. The latter is the one that got closest to coming to the screen, but filmmakers seem reluctant to make follow-ups to films based around PDK’s writing. We think this is probably a good thing…

Incidentally, one report suggests that Minority Report in fact spun out of a potential Total Recall sequel, and in its early gestation was known as Total Recall 2… 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Again, this is a film that enjoyed some sequel time in the years following its release, and when Roger then got unleashed on a series of shorts that played before certain films on the big screen, it almost seemed inevitable that he’d return. Yet for some reason, the seemingly-inevitable follow-up was never greenlit, albeit not without trying. Here’s a take on just what that was, and why we never saw a sequel. And just for once, that’s really quite a pity…

The GooniesWe may not have got off scott-free here, sadly. Now that Warner Bros is churning out cheap sequels on its direct to DVD label, a new Goonies film has become an increasing possibility (after all, look what happened with The Lost Boys, which is shortly to become a trilogy). Let’s, then, enjoy these potentially final moments where the likes of the truffle shuffle remain unblighted by the money men.

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True LiesOkay, this may be pushing the limits of the word ‘great’, but when True Lies hits form, it’s a very good summer blockbuster, and one that seemed ripe for franchising. Instead, James Cameron made Titanic, which threw his True Lies 2 plans into the air. And following September 11th, Cameron’s interest in reviving True Lies – as he had once planned to do – were all but ended.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate EventsWe’re up to 244122 Harry Potter films at the last count (give or take), there’s a third Narnia outing in the offing, and Hollywood is no doubt scouring the kids’ section of Borders right now in the hope of digging out a book aimed at the youngsters that it can turn into a series of films. Spare a thought, then, for the hugely underrated Lemony Snicket. A sparkling film adaptation, it was hoped that other books in the series would be explored. Yet despite a $110m box office take in the US, it never happened. Perhaps it doesn’t help that Jim Carrey rarely courts sequels.MaverickThey’d be nuts not to franchise this, argued Mel Gibson in the interviews leading up to Maverick’s release. And he was right, too. A fabulously entertaining action comedy, Maverick was twice the film of the later Lethal Weapons and proved – unlike more recent efforts – that Jodie Foster could do comedy. Maverick 2, however, was never close to leaving the drawing board. A pity.

Wild Wild WestEr, we’d better stop now.

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