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Saddest Attempts To Reboot A Beloved Franchise

It seems like Hollywood is churning out more and more reboots these days, and perhaps that's because they're running out of ideas. In fairness, some of these movies are pretty awesome (check out Creed or Mad Max: Fury Road), but these gems often seem like the exceptions to the rule. After all, it's not easy resurrecting a popular film series. Need proof? Then let's look at some of Hollywood's saddest attempts at rebooting a beloved franchise.

Fantastic Four (2015)

Not every superhero franchise can be as successful as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sure, 20th Century Fox may be enjoying their success with the X-Men franchise, but there's no denying they're having trouble getting a proper Fantastic Four adaptation on the big screen. Years after Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer hit theaters, Fox attempted a gritty, reimagining of the series, with Chronicle director Josh Trank helming the reboot. Due to reported studio interference, Trank ended up cutting several scenes from the film, and all that meddling may have led to the movie's abysmal reviews and poor box office returns.

In a now-deleted Tweet, Trank insisted he made a version that people would love, but unfortunately, fans would never get a glimpse. "A year ago," Trank wrote, "I had a fantastic version of this. And it would've received great reviews. You'll probably never see it. That's reality though." At first, Trank just sounded like a disgruntled director, but as it turns out, actor Toby Kebbell actually agreed with the man's opinion. "I tell you," Kebbell said to The Daily Beast, "the honest truth is [Trank] did cut a great film that you'll never see....A much darker version, and you'll never see it."

But despite the poor performance, there's still the possibility of a sequel, although there's no telling if the cast will return for another installment. After all, coming back for another film may only spell...doom.

Terminator Genisys (2015)

The movies that made everyone fear artificial intelligence, James Cameron's Terminator films are some of the most iconic sci-fi flicks ever made. The other entries in the franchise, however, don't quite live up to the originals. Perhaps that's because Cameron wasn't involved, but regardless of the reason, the most recent attempt at reviving the Terminator franchise fell flat on its hyperalloy face.

Alan Taylor's Terminator Genisys had Arnold Schwarzenegger return in his role as the T-800. Co-starring Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, and J.K. Simmons, Genisys was meant to be the first installment in a new Terminator trilogy. However, those plans were curbed when the film flopped at the domestic box office, either due to the horrendous marketing (which gave away the movie's big twist in a trailer) or the fact that it was destroyed by a tidal wave of negative reviews.

Though there was a desire for another Terminator trilogy, it appears that all that hope was for naught. According to the New York Daily News, studio executives have pulled the Terminator Genisys sequel off the production table completely. Really, that's not much of a surprise considering Clarke had previously stated that she was done with the franchise. Plus, there's the planned 2019 reboot with Tim Miller directing and Cameron producing. If that actually comes to pass, then it's hasta la vista, baby, for the Genisys storyline.

Superman Returns (2006)

Long before Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi showed Hollywood the potential of superhero films, there was Richard Donner. His 1978 Superman famously starred Christopher Reeve as the Man of Steel, and it became a classic of the genre. After all, this was basically the first time anyone had seen a successful superhero film on the silver screen, and audiences absolutely loved it.

So when Warner Bros. decided to reboot the Superman series in the 2000s, they really wanted to get things right. Originally, McG signed on to direct a film called Superman: Flyby, written by J.J. Abrams. But the film was shelved after McG dropped out, and that's when Bryan Singer stepped up to the plate for Superman Returns. And after considering the likes of Jude Law and Josh Hartnett, the studio eventually cast Brandon Routh as Clark Kent.

Critics praised Singer's film, describing the movie as emotionally complex. But while the film was commercially successful (for the most part), Warner Bros. didn't think Superman had made enough returns to justify a part two. After all, sequels usually cost more than the original movies. So instead of following through on a Brandon Routh franchise, the studio opted to reboot the series with Zack Snyder's Man of Steel. And while Henry Cavill's Superman has his fair share of detractors, Man of Steel did manage to kickstart the DC Extended Universe...and it's only going to get bigger from here on out.

Planet of the Apes (2001)

Years before George Lucas blew people away with Star Wars, 20th Century Fox already had a successful film series on their hands with Planet of the Apes. Based on the French novel by Pierre Boulle, Apes quickly evolved into a multimedia franchise full of movies, comics, novels, toys, and TV shows. Basically, Planet of the Apes was a force to be reckoned with in the late '60s and early '70s.

But after Apes faded away for a little over a decade, Fox planned on relaunching the franchise in the '80s. However, it took over 20 years for Tim Burton's reboot to hit theaters. Starring the likes of Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, and Helena Bonham Carter, the movie wasn't lacking when it came to big names. But while the overarching story of the reboot felt familiar, there were key differences between the original film and Burton's take, most notably the twist ending. (You know, when Wahlberg returns to Earth, only to find the Lincoln Memorial has morphed into the General Thade monument.)

But while Burton's reboot earned $362 million worldwide against a budget of $100 million, critics did not go ape for the sci-fi flick. Even worse, Burton wasn't exactly enthused about working on a sequel, saying he'd rather "jump out the window." True, audiences might've been annoyed at the time, especially with that crazy ending lingering in their memories, but hey, if we did get a sequel, then Andy Serkis would've probably never donned the old mo-cap suit for the part of Caesar. Now that would be a truly terrifying twist.

The Pink Panther (2006)

When Inspector Jacques Clouseau stumbled onto the silver screen back in 1963, audiences fell in love with the bumbling police officer. The French detective (played by Peter Sellers) made his big debut in Blake Edwards's comedy, The Pink Panther, and while he was just a supporting player, the character became so popular that he reappeared in ten more movies.

Of course, it's hard to best the original, and the first Pink Panther film was selected for preservation by the U.S. Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant." Plus, the comedy has a whopping 90 percent over on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, with a franchise of this size, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood decided to give it another go.

Over a decade after Son of the Pink Panther (which featured Roberto Benigni as Clouseau), Sony Pictures rebooted the series with Shawn Levy directing and Steve Martin playing everybody's favorite French inspector. Although it became the highest-grossing installment in the entire franchise, the film still flopped, based off the idea that a movie needs to earn at least twice its production budget to break even. Furthermore, critics ripped the reboot to shreds, saying it lacked everything people loved about the originals. Unfortunately, that didn't stop the studio from attempting a sequel. You can probably guess how well that went down.

Godzilla (1998)

Kaiju films are nothing new. They've been a key component of Japanese filmmaking for decades, and they're not unlike Hollywood's monster films of old. And of all the kaiju out there, the most famous is Godzilla, the King of the Monsters. There have been over two dozen Godzilla movies throughout the years, including a handful American ones. But it wasn't until 1998 that the first Godzilla movie was fully funded and produced by a Hollywood studio, TriStar Pictures.

The result was Roland Emmerich monstrosity, starring Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno, and Hank Azaria. And while it earned quite a bit of cash, the studio wasn't all that eager for a sequel. Why? Well, the reboot cost too much to make. Plus, producer-writer Dean Devlin said the movie "didn't live up to expectations, creatively." That's putting mildly. The movie holds an abysmal 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. More embarrassing still, in an apparent effort to distance the reboot from traditional Godzilla flicks, Toho Studios renamed the creature "Zilla," dropping the "God" portion.

"Hollywood's Godzilla is just a normal monster," said Toho producer Shogo Tomiyama. "He's not a God." In fact, the folks at Toho hate Zilla so much that when they put the American creature in Godzilla: Final Wars, they had him go up against the O.G. himself. Care to guess who won that battle?

Conan the Barbarian (2011)

In addition to playing the T-800 in the Terminator films, Arnold Schwarzenegger has led a prosperous career in Hollywood. But while he was governing the state of California, Hollywood attempted to reboot one of his most iconic movies: Conan the Barbarian. Directed by John Milius (and co-written by Oliver Stone), the original action movie was based on the sword-wielding warrior created by 1930s author Robert E. Howard. The film's overwhelming success spawned a sequel, but plans for a third film never materialized, damning the project to development hell.

Things got even more complicated when Schwarzenegger went into politics, but after years of languishing away, Lionsgate picked up distribution rights and decided to go with a full-fledged reboot. As a result, audiences ended up with Jason Momoa and a film that ignored the Schwarzenegger mythology, instead focusing more on Robert Howard's stories. Still, its overwhelming negative reviews and horrendous box office performance made the reboot a total flop. Of course, if you need your swords-and-sorcery fix, you can always revisit the originals.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014)

Everyone loves a good spy story, especially when Tom Clancy is involved. As a novelist and video game designer, Clancy has created some of the most iconic spy and military-science stories out there, such as The Hunt for Red October, Ghost Recon, and Rainbow Six. But at the center of some of his best stories is the character of Jack Ryan.

Though he's received numerous backstories, Ryan is typically depicted as a former military officer who joins the CIA and then later becomes a career politician. Alec Baldwin first played Jack Ryan in the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October. The role later passed to Harrison Ford, who played the character in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Finally, the job fell to Ben Affleck for The Sum of All Fears.

Though all those movies were released in a 12-year time frame, it took another 12 years before Kenneth Branagh's Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit hit theaters. With Chris Pine in the title role, the film earned more than double its production budget at the worldwide box office, but critics thought the movie wasted its opportunity at reinventing the action genre. So instead of pursuing a sequel, Paramount is looking to make a Jack Ryan Amazon series, with John Krasinski playing the lead this time. Here's hoping Rainn Wilson will play his archenemy.

RoboCop (2014)

Science fiction movies are uniquely qualified to depict dystopian societies. Need an example? Well, then check out the RoboCop series. The franchise exhibited themes of corruption, gentrification, totalitarianism, and more. Why else would the government rely on an enhanced cyborg to enforce the law?

The cyberpunk action series got its start in 1987, with director Paul Verhoeven and actor Peter Weller. It was a financial success, and critics loved it, praising its use of violence to satirize American culture. Sadly, that's a far cry from what happened with José Padilha's RoboCop reboot, starring Joel Kinnaman as Detective Alex Murphy. Rounding out the cast were stars like Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, and Samuel L. Jackson. True, it was an impressive list of stars, but when the ill-advised RoboCop reboot hit theaters in February 2014, it faced a bit of backlash.

Though the movie was commercially successful, critics argued the reboot failed to understand what made the original movies so special. However, let's be fair. The general consensus is that Padilha's reboot was better than people expected, but that might be thanks to all the recent remakes that didn't live up to expectations. Still, three years have passed since Joel Kinnaman began cleaning up the streets of Detroit, and there's still no word on a sequel. In other words, it seems even Hollywood wouldn't buy that for a dollar.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

If there's any genre that tends to be rebooted (or remade) the most, it's the horror genre. After all, these freaky films are cheap to produce and easy to market. Plus, if a franchise consistently attracts audiences, then why not continue churning out sequel after sequel? The problem with that is, eventually, people stop seeing the new installments in theaters. So the only way to get butts in seats is to reboot the series, usually with a unique take or a new twist. Or you could just straight-up remake the original, which is exactly what Warner Bros. did with Wes Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The studio got Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller to produce the reboot, along with Michael Bay. As for the director, that job went to Samuel Bayer. But most importantly the studio cast Jackie Earle Haley as the iconic Freddy Krueger. And sure, might've raked in a hefty sum at the box office, but critics detested the reboot, saying the movie couldn't compare to the original fright fest. Adding fuel to the fire, Craven himself didn't like the idea of Hollywood rebooting the series to begin with. Even Robert Englund, the man who made Freddy Krueger so scary, admitted the reboot was something of a "miscalculation." It seems the only place you'll see a sequel starring Jackie Earle Haley is in your dreams...so don't fall asleep.