October 11, 2012

The List: 10 Film Franchises That Won't Die, Part 2

To see Part 1, go here.

I continue this two part series with a look at five more franchises that, despite all forms of disaster or disinterest (or because of amazing, never-ending popularity) continue to this day ...


Series: Batman
Total Films: 9 (One Adam West film, two separate mythology films (Burton-Schumacher-4 films, Nolan-3 films), one animated theatrical release)1966 to present
Total Box Office: $1.8 billion (domestic) (highest grossing $533.3 million, lowest $5.6)
Other Spinoffs: Comic Books, Toys, TV series, costumes, pretty much anything ...
Status: Currently Hibernating After a Massive Success

Grade: D+

Though I am not necessarily a huge champion of The Dark Knight, like many are, it still is a great movie to watch, if not think about too hard. Plus, it has Heath Ledger and that is a performance of a lifetime (as is, with less fanfare, Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent).

The series itself has its ups and downs. The first movie called Batman: The Movie, in 1966, is campy fun but definitely not any good on a serious level. Tim Burton's version, simply called Batman, in 1989, was revolutionary, at least production wise, but hasn't aged well and, under the surface of the hype, isn't all that impressive.

Burton's sequel, Batman Returns, is simply terrible if still visually intriguing while Joel Schumacher's reboot (sort of) Batman Forever is a loving nod to the television series of the 1960s but, continuing my odd man out existence with Batman, is mostly hated. And I think we can all agree Batman and Robin should be wiped from existence.

*beware: Bat-crotch, Bat-nipples, Bat-smirking, and Bat-Silverstoning.

The reboots by Christopher Nolan are hit and miss to me, at least the two I've seen. Batman Begins is fine, I guess, and I've already spoken about The Dark Knight. I have yet to see The Dark Knight Rises or Mask of the Phantasm. I just generally hate Batman movies so. . .this grade may be biased, if not incomplete.


Series: Planet of the Apes
Total Films: (five original films, two separate reboots, one of which has a sequel in production); 1968 to present
Total Box Office: $438 million (domestic) (highest grossing $180 million, lowest $8.8)
Other Spinoffs: Comic Books, TV series, cultural cache, an original novel
Status: Rising ...

Grade: B

A series that never quite gets the love it deserves mainly because the first film, a true sci-fi classic, simply titled Planet of the Apes, changed cinema forever in 1968. It's immediate sequel is one of the worst films ever made (Beneath the Planet of the Apes) but the two immediate follow-ups, Escape from the Planet of the Apes and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, are underrated classics with impressive mythology, rich plots, and shocking allegory.

Things got rough for a bit, both in 1973 with Battle for the Planet of the Apes, which isn't as bad on its own but suffers in comparison to the rest, and the Tim Burton remake that makes me want to jump off a bridge and kill myself. The second attempt at a reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a surprise hit, both commercially and critically and a sequel is on the way.


Series: Leprechaun
Total Films: (All considered one big story, I guess ... except for a reboot which will be released by the WWE); 1993 to present
Total Box Office: $???? million
Other Spinoffs: There Better Not Be Anything Else ...
Status: Apparently Still Alive

Grade: C+

Do I really have to do an in-depth look at the Leprechaun series? Fine.

The first film, Leprechaun, has Jennifer Aniston in it. The most known (and boring) bit of trivia on the film I have bothered to remember. I didn't look up anything else.

There was a sequel called Leprechaun 2 which I didn't see. I think we've all seen it in our psyches though. Leprechaun 3 I did see, sadly, and it has Leprechaun in Vegas and I do remember a man getting ridden like a horse by a hooker who turns out to be a robot. Or I just dreamed that and I am horny now. I mean ...

Leprechaun 4 decided to bring the little dude to space while Leprechaun in the Hood and its sequel Leprechaun: Back 2 Tha Hood did nothing to improve anything in life except suicide rates.

There is an origin prequel coming out called Leprechaun: Origins.

Go away. YOU made me do this.


Series: Superman
Total Films: (one film in the 1950s, the more canonical four films with Christopher Reeve, the pseudo-sequel directed by Bryan Singer, and yet another reboot coming out soon); 1951 to 2009
Total Box Office: $513 million (domestic) (highest grossing $200.1 million, lowest $11.2)
Other Spinoffs: Comic Books primarily, TV series, film serials before 1951, animated films, toys, etc.
Status: Still Going ... Strong?

Grade: D

Did anyone like Singer's Death Cab For Cutie inspired dour-fest Superman Returns? That was the film Singer made that ignored Richard Pryor's Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace but remained a faithful sequel to Superman in 1978 and Superman II in 1981.

The most recent reboot, still due out, will try once again to hack it with a character who is legendary but rather boring and untestable. As for my take on these films, Superman II is pretty awesome. The rest kind of blow ... even the old 1950s film Superman and the Mole Men.


Series: Saturday Night Live films
Total Films: 11; 1980 to present
Total Box Office: $346.5 million (domestic) (highest grossing $121.6, lowest $60,822)
Other Spinoffs: A television show as a hub, soundtracks
Status: Like a Shit Snowball Going Downhill . . .

Grade: D-

The best films in the series, Wayne's World and The Blues Brothers, kind of stank up their legacies with average (Wayne's World 2) to crappy (Blues Brothers 2000). The rest of the films, in chronological order, just got worse and worse:

--Coneheads in 1993 (B-)
--It's Pat in 1994 (F-)
--Stuart Saves His Family in 1995 (D)
--A Night at the Roxbury in 1998 (D-)
--Superstar in 1999 (F)
--The Ladies Man in 2000 (C-)
--MacGruber in 2010 (super F minus)

Got any others?

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