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    13 Movies That Were Supposed To Launch A Franchise But Failed

    The 2017 remake of The Mummy starring Tom Cruise was supposed to launch a cinematic universe of connected classic monster movies. However, after it lost a whopping $95 million at the box office, those plans came to a screeching halt.

    Every great franchise starts with a strong original movie, like how Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, not every film that's intended to be the first in a new franchise is successful enough for the studio to justify continuing the franchise.

    Here are 13 movies that were supposed to launch a new franchise but failed:

    1. The Last Airbender, M. Night Shyamalan's widely criticized 2010 live-action adaptation of the popular Nickelodeon animated series, was initially supposed to get a "much darker" sequel. Time said that "the promise of a sequel at this movie's end feels more like a threat" — and Paramount Pictures never carried out that threat, letting sequel plans fall to the wayside.

    Aang and Katara in the live-action Last Airbender

    Netflix announced a live-action series in 2018.

    2. Released in 2007, The Golden Compass was intended to be the first installment in a film adaptation of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. However, both a global recession and criticism from the Catholic church (in the form of boycotts and claims the film promoted atheism) contributed to the ultimate cancellation of the planned sequels.

    A bear in armor growls at a girl

    It was rebooted as the BBC One and HBO series His Dark Materials in 2019.

    3. 2011's Green Lantern was initially poised as the launching pad for a new DC movie universe, but after an underwhelming box office performance and mostly negative reviews, Warner Bros canned plans for a sequel. Two years later, they found a more successful start with Man of Steel.

    Ryan Gosling as the Green Lantern

    4. The 2003 live-action adaptation of The Cat in the Hat was so poorly received that Audrey Stone Geisel banned Hollywood from ever adapting her late husband's works into live-action productions again.

    Mike Myers, Dakota Fanning, and Spencer Breslin in the Cat in the Hat

    5. The Mummy (2017) was supposed to helm Universal's Dark Universe series, but after it lost about $95 million, the franchise was canceled in favor of standalone classic monster movies.

    Tom Cruise in The Mummy flop

    6. Following criticism that Fantastic Four (2015) was "the cinematic equivalent of malware" and "worse than worthless," the planned 2017 sequel was pulled from Fox's release schedule.

    The Fantastic Four glances at an electrical surge into the sky

    The film rights to the Fantastic Four characters have since reverted back to Marvel Studios, who currently have a reboot in the works.

    7. After decades in development hell, John Carter finally came out in 2012. Based on the novel A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, it was supposed to be the first installment in an adaptation of the Barsoom series, but audience interest declined before the first film's release. Despite strong reviewers, there was never enough enthusiasm to warrant a sequel.

    John Carter ready for battle

    8. Eragon was meant to be the first installment in an adaptation of Christopher Paolini's The Inheritance Cycle series. Director Stefen Fangmeier intended to shoot the next two "as one production," but due to criticism that the original was a "shabby Lord of the Rings ripoff," he never got to make them.

    Eragon rides his dragon, but the series didn't take flight

    As of 2022, a new Eragon series is in development at Disney+.

    9. Released in 2010, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was supposed to launch Disney's next Pirates of the Caribbean-esque franchise. Despite being the highest-grossing video game adaptation at the time, it didn't make enough money or generate enough audience interest to garner a sequel for the "mildly entertaining and immediately forgettable" film.

    Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince of Persia

    10. Daredevil (2003) had an alright box office performance, but after how poorly the spinoff Elektra performed, Fox put Matt Murdock on the backburner. In 2006, lead actor Ben Affleck called the role a "source of humiliation" and said he'd never do a sequel.

    Ben Affleck as Daredevil, a role he wasn't proud of

    Netflix released a successful Daredevil series in 2015, which is set to be rebooted on Disney+.

    11. Playtone optioned the first two installments of Jeanne DuPrau's Books of Ember series. After City of Ember grossed a measly $17 million globally, the production company canceled The People Of Sparks.

    Saoirse Ronan in the City of Ember

    12. 2013's The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was meant to launch a franchise based on the series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. However, after its disappointing performance at the box office, the sequel The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes was pushed back indefinitely.

    The crew from Mortal Instruments was ready to fight, but didn't make it past the first film

    It was rebooted as a Freeform TV series called Shadowhunters in 2016.

    13. And finally, King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword (2017) was supposed to set up a six-film franchise. However, it reportedly lost $150 million, and Warner Bros executive Jeff Goldstein said that "the concept missed." The other five movies were canceled.

    Charlie Hunnam as King Arthur

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