It goes without saying that film critics and casual viewers don't always see eye to eye, especially when it comes to major blockbuster franchises. However, the divide between these two distinct sets of audiences is most evident in movie series that some would label as "critic-proof."
Simply put, critic-proof movies are films whose negative critical reception does little to affect its financial success. With that being said, here's a look at six enduring series of movies that are not only critic-proof, but are still creating financially successful movies.
1. The DC Extended Universe (#DCEU)
- Current Number Of Movies: 3
- Current Box Office Gross: $315,501,922
- Highest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Man Of Steel, 55%
- Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Suicide Squad, 25%
Hoping to beat the Marvel Cinematic Universe (#MCU) at its own game, #DC created its own shared universe to bring its heroes together on the big screen. Though Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad broke opening day records, they also received unforgiving criticism. DC was bashed for rushing their shared universe, resulting in clashing tones, misplaced priorities and wasted potential.
The heated polarization of opinions led to one of the most publicized schisms between fans and critics, with petitions from loyal DC fans to shut down the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes as a response to the abysmal critical reception of Suicide Squad.
Future Of The DC Pantheon:
This year, the DCEU will release two major movies that aim to inject new life into the currently lukewarm shared universe. #WonderWoman will introduce the Amazonian warrior Diana (Gal Gadot) during World War I, while #JusticeLeague will unite DC's biggest heroes on the big screen for the first time. As of right now, plans for future DCEU installments such as Suicide Squad 2 and Batgirl are also still in place.
The addition of humor and optimism are seen as the studio's answer to the criticisms, in an attempt to win back disillusioned viewers. Fans and critics have had an early look at this tonal shift with trailers for Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman.
Even if an air of doubt persists, Wonder Woman and Justice League are still expected to rake in millions on their respective opening nights.
2. The Jurassic Park Movies
- Current Number Of Movies: 4
- Current Box Office Gross: $3.683 billion
- Highest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Jurassic Park, 91%
- Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Jurassic Park III, 50%
The first #JurassicPark was a groundbreaking success at the time of its release, and it's still a widely popular blockbuster more than twenty years later. Naturally, Hollywood wanted to replicate the success of their dinosaur disaster movie, releasing three sequels that unfortunately never lived up to the original movie's impact.
#JurassicWorld may have rekindled the general public's interest in the dino-centric franchise, but critics and fans were left wanting more. While it was praised for being better than the franchise's previous sequels, Jurassic World was criticized for lacking the original's substance and for being outdated and cliché-ridden - especially in regards to the female lead, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who Joss Whedon described as "70s-era sexist."
Future Of The Dinosaurs:
After earning more than a billion dollars at the box office, a sequel has been inevitably prioritized by Universal Pictures. With a new director on board, Jurassic World 2 has been promised as the franchise's return to form, with an emphasis on the horror elements of the first movie.
Plot details are still scarce, but in response to the criticism leveled at Jurassic World, Howard has confirmed that her character will return - but with no high heels. While this may seem like an insignificant detail, viewers hope that this signals the removal of Claire's tendencies to be the outdated damsel in distress seen in Jurassic World.
3. The Pirates Of The Caribbean (#POTC) Franchise
- Current Number Of Movies: 4
- Current Box Office Gross: $3.730 billion
- Highest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl, 79%
- Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, 32%
Based on the Disney World ride of the same name, Pirates Of The Caribbean not only earned millions and catapulted #JohnnyDepp to newfound fame, but it is also credited for reviving interest in the long-dormant pirate genre.
But as the series went on, the love for Captain #JackSparrow (Johnny Depp) slowly waned. Fans would still flock to see the latest swashbuckling ride of the Black Pearl, but it seemed as if everyone else was getting tired of it all. Though far from flopping, the declining returns of each succeeding Pirates installment after Dead Man's Chest reflected the franchise's diminishing reception and the need to change pace.
Future Of The Pirates:
After On Stranger Tides gave the series its weakest opening to date, leaving many fans disinterested, Disney took its time with the Pirates franchise instead of rushing out another installment. Six years later, the fifth Pirates movie titled Dead Men Tell No Tales is set for a summer 2017 release with a surprisingly glowing reception from early screenings.
Though the trailers claim that the latest movie would be "the final adventure," it's more likely that Disney is cautiously gaging interest in more Pirates Of The Caribbean movies before green-lighting more sequels or ending Captain Jack Sparrow's adventures on a high note.
Watch the trailer for Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales below.
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4. The Resident Evil Series
- Current Number Of Movies: 6
- Current Box Office Gross: $1.233 billion
- Highest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Resident Evil, 34%
- Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Resident Evil: Apocalypse, 21%
Video game adaptations are often seen as a gamble that studios would rather avoid, but this can't be said for the #ResidentEvil series. To date, Resident Evil is the most successful movie franchise based on a video game and was even given the chance to end with a proper conclusion.
Despite this, the Resident Evil movies have a less than stellar reception with critics. Each Resident Evil entry was mauled by critics and gamers alike, but still earned beyond the studios' expectations.
Future Of The Anti-Umbrella Resistance:
The narrative of #Alice (Mila Jovovich) may have ended with The Final Chapter, but the Resident Evil franchise has yet to die. Though there is currently no official announcement from either #Capcom or Constantin Films, rumors have been circulating that Resident Evil will come back to the live-action realm through a TV series.
It has yet to be confirmed if Alice's story will be continued or if the series will follow the story seen in the video games instead, but what's assured is that Resident Evil fans have something to look forward to outside of the canon computer-animated films.
Watch the trailer for Resident Evil: Vendetta below.
5. Michael Bay's Transformers
- Current Number Of Movies: 4
- Current Box Office Gross: $3.774 billion
- Highest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Transformers, 54%
- Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Transformers: Age Of Extinction, 18%
No other director embodies critic-proof movies more than #MichaelBay, and his #Transformers movies are the perfect example of the divide between critics and viewers. The Transformers movies may have some of the worst reviews read in recent memory, but they also have some of the biggest box office returns seen in the past decade.
To date, the weakest Transformers movie in terms of ticket sales is the first installment, which earned more than $700 million at the global box office. The most a Transformers movie has earned at the box office is $1.123 billion (Transformers: Dark Of The Moon), despite its generally negative reception. This solidified the robot-themed franchise's reputation as a critic-proof force to be reckoned with.
Future Of The Autobots:
This year will see the release of the fifth Transformers movie, #TheLastKnight, which is said to be the most outlandish entry to date, even including Nazis, King Arthur and Sir Anthony Hopkins. But despite the implications of the title, The Last Knight will not be the final Transformers movie.
While Bay is close to leaving the franchise after the fifth installment, he has confirmed that there are plans for up to 14 more Transformers movies (both sequels and spin-offs) that he may or may not have a hand in. One of the top priorities is said to be a Bumblebee spin-off movie, which is set to be released some time in 2018.
6. Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Movies
- Current Number Of Movies: 22 (only counting movies that starred Adam Sandler)
- Current Box Office Gross: $3.079 billion
- Highest Rotten Tomatoes Score: Funny People, 68%
- Lowest Rotten Tomatoes Score: The Ridiculous 6, 0%
After making a name for himself as a rising comedian in the '90s, #AdamSandler created his own production company, #HappyMadison, to bring his signature brand of comedy to the big screen with the help of his favorite comic collaborators,including David Spade and Kevin James.
Ever since debuting, Happy Madison's movies (especially those starring Sandler) were savagely ripped apart by critics, turning Sandler into the equivalent of an expensive, sentient critical punching bag. Yet despite all this, Sandler's movies always turned an impressive profit. This led to what is known as the "Adam Sandler Paradox," wherein the worst possible movies somehow earn the largest possible box office returns.
Future Of The Adam Sandler Saga:
The only reason why Sandler's name has disappeared from cinemas is because Netflix signed a multi-picture deal with him. To date, he has three successful Netflix-produced efforts, with The Ridiculous 6 making Netflix history by being the service's most viewed movie in a 30 day period.
In fact, the demand for Sandler is so large that Netflix claims that its patrons have spent a combined 500 million hours streaming his movies.
Sandler currently has two movies in the works, with Netflix's The Meyerowitz Stories set to compete at the 2017 Cannes International Festival and the upcoming Hotel Transylvania 3 currently in production. If the critic-proof Adam Sandler paradox continues its trend, it will be a long time before he stops making movies that critics will hate, and it will be an even longer while before audiences tire of Sandler's antics.