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Movie Franchises With Only Rotten Scores On Rotten Tomatoes

There's no such thing as a guilty pleasure when it comes to films or movie franchises since it's okay to enjoy something that someone else might not. That being said, it's difficult to ignore that a tradition has been built around Rotten Tomatoes scores and how these aggregated numbers play a significant role in shaping the general discourse and sentiment around films. Filmmakers and studios, for example, would love nothing more than to utilize high scores and "Fresh" scores to promote a film rather than consider the dreaded opposite.

Look, it is entirely possible that a movie simply doesn't land with reviewers upon arrival and receives a "Rotten" score, but what happens when an entire franchise is deemed to be a giant flop? That's the reality for more than a few franchises — and no, "American Pie" is surprisingly not a feature on this list. There are some close-shave scenarios where a film or two in the series is on the borderline of the 60% threshold, while there are others that are nowhere near critical approval even if they doubled their scores.

Again, it must be emphasized, this should hold no bearing on anyone's enjoyment of these films; this is merely a reflection of these movie franchises' Rotten Tomatoes scores.

Fantastic Four

For a movie franchise that has the word "fantastic" in its title, the "Fantastic Four" movies should have rather been dubbed "The Mid Four." Starting in 1994 with the unreleased-but-everyone-has-watched-it "The Fantastic Four," the Oley Sassone-directed effort swan dived to the bottom of the review barrel with a 27% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The audience would need to wait for a little over a decade for the next adaptation of Marvel's First Family, and it arrived in the shape of Tim Story's "Fantastic Four." The 2005 picture boasts some terrific casting with the likes of Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards, Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, Jessica Alba as Sue Storm, and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm. However, it didn't fare too much better than the 1994 film, receiving a rocky 28% score. Surprisingly, the 2007 follow-up, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," which features Galactus as a giant flatulent cloud floating through space, is the most popular of all the movies, holding a 37% approval rating.

With those less-than-fantastic scores, the question is: Could it get any worse? The answer is yes, especially with Josh Trank's 2015 adaptation "Fantastic Four" being widely regarded as one of the worst superhero films of all time. As detailed by Polygon, there were trials and tribulations in getting the film made, as the tug-o-war between the director and studio resulted in a disjointed feature. The film sits with a measly 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.


There are horror franchises that are bulletproof to hack-and-slash reviews, and "Saw" is one of them. No matter if it's "Saw 3D" or "Saw 53," the audience will show up for the twisted features, even if reviewers would rather put their own heads in a bear trap than watch another second of the Jigsaw Killer, or his endless number of proteges, trying to torture their victims. Remarkably, though, not a single "Saw" film has received a positive Rotten Tomatoes score. In fact, the best-reviewed film of the franchise is still James Wan's 2004 original, which still holds just a 50% critical approval rating.

From there, the scores only get worse: "Saw VI" at 39%, "Spiral: From the Book of Saw" at 37%, "Saw II" also at 37%, "Jigsaw" at 32%, "Saw III" at 30%, "Saw IV" at 18%, "Saw V" at 13%, and "Saw: The Final Chapter" at 9%. Regardless of these ratings and complaints about the "Saw" franchise being milked to death, it is an unstoppable juggernaut at the box office. The films are relatively cheap to make, but the franchise has raked in almost $500 million in the U.S. alone, per Box Office Mojo. So, while John Kramer might be all about playing games on screen, no one is messing around when it comes to making bank.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

For anyone who grew up in the '80s and '90s, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is the equivalent of the "Citizen Kane" of the era. Those four turtle boys inspired a generation to eat pizza, say "Cowabunga," and to wonder if living in the sewer would be a feasible life choice. Despite the animated series, video games, and toys capturing the pop culture zeitgeist, the Heroes in a Half-Shell's ventures into cinema haven't exactly filled critics with a sense of turtle power.

The 1990 "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie is still top of the charts for the franchise, with 41% on Rotten Tomatoes. It's unlikely anyone involved cared too much about critical reviews, since the film became the highest-grossing independent movie at the time, per The Hollywood Reporter. The subsequent sequels never quite reached the same levels as the first film, with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III" securing scores of 35% and 19% respectively.

The franchise pivoted with the release of a CG-animated film titled "TMNT" in 2007, but it only managed to garner a 35% approval rating. Then came the Michael Bay-produced films, which received a lambasting from the start because of the peculiar designs of the Turtles — most notably their noses. 2014's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" received a 21% Rotten Tomatoes score, while the 2016 sequel, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows" fared slightly better with 37%.

Resident Evil

"Resident Evil" fans must be secretly side-eyeing "The Last of Us" and wondering why the film adaptations can't do something similar. After all, both franchises are essentially about zombies, so what's preventing Jill Valentine and friends from excelling, too? Unfortunately, "Resident Evil" films suffer from the video game adaptation curse, with the Tomatometer being unable to conjure up a "Fresh" rating for any movie to date.

The Paul W.S. Anderson-produced (and mostly directed) six films struggled to even garner 50% approval ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. The 2002 film notched up 35%, "Resident Evil: Apocalypse" hit19%, "Resident Evil: Extinction" earned 24%, "Resident Evil: Afterlife" sat at 21%, and "Resident Evil: Retribution" notched 28%, and "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" peaked at 37%.

When it was announced that the film series was being rebooted and would adapt the first two game's storylines, fans had every reason to be optimistic. However, while Johannes Roberts's 2021 reboot, "Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City," was a more faithful adaptation than its predecessors, it wasn't the godsend that many had dreamed of, settling for a 30% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This beloved franchise simply can't catch a break on the big screen — or Netflix, for that matter.


Look, let's be real here for a second: 2008's "Taken" proved to be a pivotal turning point in Liam Neeson's film career. It established the Northern Irish actor as a bona fide action star and he has gone on to carve out his own niche in the genre ever since. Sure, most of his movies since then have been notorious "Taken" clones, but facts are facts, and the quotable Pierre Morel-directed feature changed the course for Neeson.

Yet, while fans may get a kick out of the "Taken" franchise — even though it's about as deep as the shallow end of a splash pool — the critics all hope someone would take these films away from them. Interestingly, the first "Taken" film nearly avoided its Rotten status, scoring 59% critical approval. "Taken 2" wasn't as well received, though, drastically dropping to a 22% score. It was even worse for "Taken 3" as it only managed to secure 13%. The audience ratings weren't too kind to the sequels, either, but the viewers enjoyed the first film immensely, giving it 85% approval.


It's an outrage that a horror film franchise about an Irish folklore legend doesn't have all the Oscars and Golden Globes. However, reviewers haven't discovered the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow known as "Leprechaun." While most may talk about the genre-bending qualities of "Friday the 13th" or "A Nightmare on Elm Street," this series, too, has unforgettable entries such as "Leprechaun in Space" and "Leprechaun in the Hood," which should be saved in a time capsule so future generations can also enjoy the pinnacle of human creativity.

While the franchise has released eight films to date, none of them have tickled the fancy of professional critics. The first "Leprechaun" movie, which stars Warwick Davis and Jennifer Aniston, holds a 27% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The sequel nose-dived to 6%, while the third entry doesn't even have a score, though all reviews were negative. "Leprechaun in Space" garnered an unjustifiable 17%, while "Leprechaun in the Hood" and "Leprechaun Back 2 tha Hood" achieved 33% and 20%, respectively. 2014's "Leprechaun: Origins," which stars Dylan Postl (better known as Hornswoggle in the WWE), received a big fat zero in critical approval, while 2018's "Leprechaun Returns" achieved a franchise-high of 45%.


The "Twilight" franchise might be a punching bag for non-fans — and even the actors like Robert Pattinson — nowadays, but there's no denying the series had a heavy influence on the young adult genre in literature, movies, and television. Suddenly, everyone was falling head over heels for werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures all because of Stephenie Meyer's record-breaking vampire romance story about forbidden love.

Yet, despite the passionate Twihards who fought as valiant soldiers for Team Edward or Team Jacob and over $3.3 billion raked in at the global box office (via Box Office Mojo), the "Twilight" saga never received the proverbial thumbs-up on Rotten Tomatoes. The first "Twilight" film nibbled on a 49% critical approval, while 2009's "New Moon" had a stake put through its heart with only 29%. "Eclipse" brought back some normality to the saga with a 47% score before "Breaking Dawn Part 1" and "Breaking Dawn Part 2" had varying fortunes at 25% and 49% respectively. Without a shadow of a doubt, the filmmakers and producers must all be drying their tears over these critical drubbings with $100 bills.


Put Vin Diesel in a film, and the people will show up. It's a formula that has worked many times over. Look at "Fast and the Furious" as an example. The films were laughed at as brainless action flicks for so long, but after $6.6 billion at the global box office (via The Numbers), Diesel is likely referred to as "sir" and gets the red carpet treatment every time he visits Universal Pictures' offices. Another Diesel-centric franchise that hasn't quite reached the same heights as "Fast and the Furious" but still remains popular is "xXx."

However, much like many of the "Fast" films, the high-octane action-spy series hasn't left critics asking for more of Xander Cage. The 2002 film picked up a 48% critical approval rating, while the Diesel-less sequel, "xXx: State of the Union," plummeted to 17%. The third entry in the franchise, "xXx: Return of Xander Cage," was something of a return to form with 45%, but it's still a far cry from being an overwhelming or glowing recommendation.

Police Academy

Mention "Police Academy" to the average person, and most will smile as they think about the film series. From the over-the-top slapstick moments to Larvell Jones' unforgettable mouth-created sound effects, these seven comedy films left a comforting legacy and remain fan-favorite flicks to this very day. In fact, the movies even inspired a 1997 spinoff television series.

Yet, while "Police Academy" knew how to tickle the audience's funny bone, it seemingly kicked critics in the shins. The franchise has the dishonorable distinction of having four films with a 0% approval rating, as "Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol," "Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach," "Police Academy 6: City Under Siege," and "Police Academy: Mission to Moscow" all failed to hit the critical mark.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, the best-ranked films in the "Police Academy" series are the first one with 57%, "Police Academy 3: Back in Training" with 40%, and "Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment" with 29%. In 2018, Steve Guttenberg revealed on Twitter that another entry is being readied for release, but there has been no further news about it. It will be interesting to see if the film materializes and if it will be able to change the movie franchise's performance on Rotten Tomatoes.

Step Up

Humanity goes through certain phases — just look at the popularity of mullets in the '80s as a prime example. In terms of film, the same holds true, as the mid-2000s were chockablock with dance movies. One of the biggest was 2006's "Step Up," starring Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. The dance drama kicked off a plethora of disconnected sequels, as fans continued to turn up for all things "Step Up." Despite finding an ardent and loyal fan base and more than respectable box office hauls, as per The Numbers, the franchise never quite tangoed with the critics.

The first film in the series flatfooted itself to 21% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, while the sequel, "Step Up 2 The Streets," improved marginally with 28%. "Step Up 3" must have felt like the "Terminator 2" of the franchise with its 46% score, while "Step Up Revolution" and "Step Up: All In" kept it in the 40s with 41% and 42% respectively. By the time "Step Up: Year of the Dance" arrived in 2020, though, critics didn't even care enough to review it. Talk about harsh.

Scary Movie

The spoof genre is a slippery slope. Series like "The Naked Gun" or "Airplane!" are adored because the understand how to poke fun while not forgetting they need to tell a story and be compelling to the audience. On the other hand, the "Scary Movie" franchise has always been divisive, as some find it to be a lowbrow and slapstick satire of the horror genre, while others appreciate the endearing silliness of it all. Ironically, "Scary Movie" is essentially a parody of a parody, too, since "Scream" is also a tongue-in-cheek, self-referential exploration of the horror genre.

Expectedly, none of the "Scary Movie" films were embraced by critics with arms wide open. The first film still has the highest rating of 51% on Rotten Tomatoes. "Scary Movie 2" frightened (in a bad way) with a 14% score, while "Scary Movie 3" lifted spirits ever so slightly with 35%. It was all downhill from there, as "Scary Movie 4" notched up 34% and "Scary Movie 5" hit an all-time franchise low of 4%.

The Purge

On paper, the concept of "The Purge" is a fascinating premise for a thought-provoking horror, since it asks the question: What happens when human beings are allowed to run riot for 24 hours without consequence? Logically, the 2013 original film starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey should be the strongest entry in the series, as every sequel afterward is a deviation of the same idea. The critics don't agree with that sentiment, though, as the James DeMonaco-directed movie received only 40% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, it's the lowest-rated film in "The Purge" franchise.

The first sequel, "The Purge: Anarchy," has the highest score at 57%, while its follow-up, "The Purge: Election Year," received 55%. The franchise went back to basics in 2018, as it released the prequel titled "The First Purge," which debuted with the same score as "Election Year." The fifth film in the series, "The Forever Purge," fast-forwarded again to the original continuity, but it only managed to garner 49%.

It's not often that the first entry in a movie franchise is considered the worst from a critical standpoint, but "The Purge" bucks the trend here.