I don't need to tell you guys that many franchises are being rebooted, getting sequels, prequels and all sorts of spin-offs in today's film market. As Hollywood runs out of ideas, it inevitably tries to stretch out the money they can make from previous properties. It's happening everywhere, as was highlighted recently when Pixar announced three of their upcoming films were "The Incredibles 2", "Cars 3", and "Toy Story 4". But I digress, point is that in 2015's list of franchise films, there have been winners, and there have been losers. Here are a few of each.
Winner: The MCU!
Without a doubt, the MCU has continued to knock it out of the park this year. The long awaited sequel to their original epic "The Avengers" arrived this year, and "Age of Ultron" truly kicked ass. Despite disappointing some, the film still made $1.4 billion, not exactly a loss for the company. Then they followed it up with "Ant-Man", the film that for years was meant to destroy Marvel's reputation, and yet it absolutely rocked! So far it has made $335 million, surpassing "The Incredible Hulk" and it is coming up on the first installment of the Captain America franchise as well! A great year for Marvel, and next year is only set to get better with "Captain America: Civil War" and "Dr. Strange".
Winner: The Jurassic Park Franchise!
This is an obvious winner for this year. Jurassic World was expected to do well, even if there were some fans doubting it's ability to succeed, but it exceeded all expectations, bringing the best film in the series out since the first film (or the best film in the series, depending on who you ask). Not only was this film received well critically, it has also become the third most highly grossing film of all time! That means it made more than the Avengers! That's certainly just about as much as you can hope for!
Loser: The Terminator Franchise!
The first loser on our list is a franchise that just won't die. After "Terminator: Salvation" failed to bring back the franchise, they thought bringing Arnold back and throwing in some hugely popular actors like Emilia Clarke would do it, but it appears that hasn't happened.
Winner: Mad Max!
After thirty years off of the big screen, Mad Max certainly wasn't guaranteed to do well with it's revival. However it really has. Incredibly well received by critics and fans alike, this incredible spectacle has made some serious cash, and plans for a sequel are already in place!
Loser: Fantastic Four!
I have to say, I feel great sorrow at this. Here is an article on reasons I think this team deserves a sequel, but no matter how much I enjoyed the film, it did bomb, and it is a poor year for Fox's Marvel films. Despite this, they are also likely to bounce back next year, with three films coming out! X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool and Gambit are all expected to do great, and Fox shouldn't worry about this blip in their schedule. I still really want another film from this team though.
Winner: Fifty Shades of Grey!
I know it's only the first film in the series, but it's surely the beginning of several films in the series portrayed on screen, especially with the massive box office earnings it made! I'll leave out my personal feelings about this film and just say that it was a massive victory for the studio.
Loser: The Divergent Series!
Looking at how most similar franchises are able to get a solid increase on the first film's earnings when they bring out a sequel, it has probably been a relatively disappointing year for the Divergent series. The film didn't gather much more than the original, and while it didn't bomb, the studio probably hoped for more.
The Despicable Me films made huge amounts, and the spin-off of the adorable, banana loving Minions is no different. It garnered no great critical reception, but was certainly another great success for the series.
Loser: The Insidious Series!
While horror films traditionally don't make as much as other films, the box office returns for the third chapter of this chilling horror series was still disappointing. The prequel film wasn't received all that badly by critics, but it still disappointed the studio with it's earnings.
Winner: Fast and Furious!
As if Jason Statham taking on the likes of Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel in one-on-one fights wasn't a big enough draw, and the two excellent films preceeding this one didn't excite you enough, this film was also Paul Walker's (Rest in Peace) last film, and the emotion shown by the cast when he died really sold them as a family, on and off screen, and that helped this installment such a huge success. It is now the fifth highest grossing film of all time, behind Jurassic World and The Avengers, certainly good company to be in!
Loser: The Taken Series
While Taken was an incredibly well-made action film, it set the issue of making itself very hard to follow. While the second installment failed to do so, the plot of the third showed a huge amount of promise to do better, so when it came out and proved to be a mediocre action film at best, many fans decided not to bother, and it made significantly less than the first film.
Winner: Mission Impossible!
The Mission Impossible franchise has been hit and miss over the years, and there's more on that in my article about The Mission Impossible Formula, but the fact is that they are finding a rhythm after Ghost Protocol, which was the best in the series, and now Rogue Nation has proved itself another great addition, with all the traditional Tom Cruise swagger about it that we have come to expect.
Don't forget that these films are not the only franchise films of 2015! Look out for the next winning and losing franchises, especially with these films:
- Spectre- The next in the long line of James Bond films, this one looks set to bring the epic organization Spectre into the present, bringing back the very worst of Bond villains with it!
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens- Set to start Disney's reign of Star Wars, this film could be A New Hope for the franchise, or it could be a (Phantom) Menace to the box office.
- Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2- After the failure of the first part of the finale, this part promises much more, like the better half of the book it is based on. Also, since it ends the epic series, expect a huge flood from fans.
- Maze Runner:The Scorch Trials- After escaping the maze (which should end the series, right?) the adventures of this rag-tag squad continues in this sequel.
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