8 Surefire Ways to Ruin a Franchise

8. Start Off on the Wrong Foot

The Guilty Players: DaredevilThe PunisherMortal Kombat, BloodRayne.

Why it Always Fails: Because as bad as the films were, they were just the start of a franchise. This means we’re forced to suffer through at least one more movie before someone condemns them to direct-to-DVD hell.

However, sometimes studios see the writing on the wall in advance.

Who Should Be Careful: The Incredible Hulk. Don’t get us wrong; Mark Ruffalo is a freaking genius and should be allowed to play the character until the day he dies after what we saw in The Avengers. However, the Hulkfranchise has a checkered past, and Ruffalo is coming pretty damn close to being the third person to play him in as many movies. We are on our knees praying that third time is a charm.

It’s been nine years and we still have no idea what the hell this film is about.

7. Do Nothing for At Least a Decade

The Guilty Players: Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom MenaceIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullSuperman ReturnsTerminator 3The Godfather: Part IIIRocky Balboa, Son of the Mask, Tron: Legacy.

Why it Always Fails: Sitting on a beloved franchise for a few presidencies does a whole lot more than turn everyone from the original into old, grouchy grandpas. Franchises are like pets: If you leave them alone for a decade, odds are they’ll be dead the next time you find them.

The Eighth Amendment exists because of movies like this.

There appears to be an exception to this rule if you’re willing to shut your brains off and sit down for some spectacularly senseless R-rated action. That’s the route Stallone picked for Rambo, a film so violent that if they removed all the blood and f-words like in Live Free or Die Hard it would have probably consisted of nothing more than Rambo walking back to his house.

Who Should Be Careful: Ghostbusters 3 and the upcoming sequels to Blade Runner and Dumb and Dumber. As for A Good Day to Die Hard, here’s hoping the studios actually come to their senses and let John McClane say the words and spill the blood that made him famous in the first place.

6. Make it Campy

The Guilty Players: Batman & RobinSpider-Man 3Superman 2X-Men 3Die Another Day Why it Always Fails: Because it turns beloved heroes into John Travolta, action films into unfunny comedies, and director commentaries into apologies.

An unlikely victim to one or two too many dance sequences.

Who Should Be Careful: Batman. For all time.

Thanks to Joel Schumacher, we’ll be on our deathbed begging for these two hours of our lives back.

5. Replace Key Cast Members

The Guilty Players: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon EmperorThe Sum of All FearsDumb and Dumberer.

Why it Always Fails: Because moviegoers are not idiots: If the stars we fell in love with could not be secured for a sequel, it was probably because they knew a bomb when they saw it.

You know you’re in trouble when you make Keanu Reeves look like the smartest man in the room.

Who Should Be Careful: The Amazing Spider-Man for obvious reasons, and, once again, Hulk.

Seriously, one can’t be too careful after seeing this movie.

4. Let the Studios Take Over

The Guilty Players: Spider-Man 3Batman ForeverThe Godfather: Part IIIX-Men 3Superman 2, Pirates of the Caribbean.

Why it Always Fails: In case you haven’t realized by now, Hollywood is not in the business of making good movies. They are in the business of making as much money as possible with the least possible investment.

Case. In. Point.

Who Should Be Careful: While studio meddling is a fact of life that all filmmakers must face, we gotta go with The Avengers on this one. Walt Disney Pictures, we are saying this to you with nerd-tears in our eyes: please let Joss Whedon make his superhero films in peace!

3. Make a Spin-off Nobody Asked For

The Guilty Players: CatwomanElectra, U.S. Marshals, The Scorpion King.

Why it Always Fails: Nobody wanted them, expected them or asked you to continue making them for a reason.

Pictured: The reason.

Who Should Be Careful: J. K. Rowling, we are watching you very, very closely on this one.

2. Rewrite the Whole Fucking Mythos

The Guilty Players: Spider-Man 3Terminator Salvation, Star Wars, Episode IX-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Why it Always Fails: The reason we’re watching these films is because you already sold us on the world they take place in. Tinkering with their mythos is like trying to fix your car in the middle of a race: Yeah, you may pull of some neat tricks, but you are more likely going to crash into the stands and ruin the day for your audience.

Oh, what we would have given for one of those amnesia-bullets.

Who Should Be Careful: We got a pretty good feeling that Prometheus will be awesome, but as this Blade Runner sequel we keep hearing about… that could be dangerous.

1. Make Another Superman

The Guilty Players: Superman 2, 3, and 4Superman Returns.

Why it Always Fails: Superman is probably the one franchise in Hollywood history so impossible to manage that it actually pulls down other franchises around it. Such was the case with X-Men 3, which Bryan Singer quit just so he could spend millions of dollars reducing the size of Brandon Routh’s bulge. As a result, both movies kind of sucked.

Pictured: The George Lazenby of the Superman franchise.

 Maybe this is due to Superman being nearly impossible to relate to, or maybe this is due to DC Comics have more interesting villains than heroes… we don’t know. All we know is that Christopher Nolan is giving up making Batman movies so that he can give Superman a reboot. Unless this is part of some Marvel plot to get back at DC for forcing them to reboot the X-men franchise, what else can we say? Batman must die so Superman can continue to suck.

Who Should Be Careful: Christian Bale, who hopefully will go down for the count in The Dark Knight Rises if just to avoid the embarrassment of appearing in a Justice League movie.  

Jacopo della Quercia is now on Twitter.  Follow him

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