The one complaint I hear more than any other about the movies these days: “Why do they make so many sequels? Is Hollywood totally out of ideas?”
First of all, yes they are. But there’s an even simpler and more important reason why the vast majority of the film studios’ productions come out of franchises these days: They make a lot of money. Of the top ten movies in the country last year, nine of the ten were either direct sequels or indirect ones as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (The only non-sequel on the list was Free Guy, a movie that contained numerous references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.)
So people may complain about sequels, but they also pay to see them — even when they’re awful. And that got me to thinking about bad sequels, and particularly about those franchises that have endured for years (or sometimes decades!) cranking out one crappy installment after another. What, I wondered, is the franchise has produced the most bad movies? I decided to find out.
First, though, I needed to set some ground rules. After a bunch of research, I decided to only include franchises that have generated at least one new film in the last 30 years. Crass sequalization is not a modern Hollywood innovation; the medium’s supposed Golden Age was littered with franchises that produced way more movies than is typical today. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a lot of those movies. In a perfect world, I would like to be able to tell you how many of the 24 Bulldog Drummond movies or the 51 (!) Three Mesquiteers movies are bad. But I think we are all well aware by now that this is not a perfect world.
I also decided to include only franchises (and movies from those franchises) that got released to theaters. No one expects much out of low-rent sequels that go straight-to-video, so it felt wrong to compare, say, the 13 Land Before Time movies that got dumped on VHS to a major tentpole series like Transformers.
Based on my calculations, here are the modern franchises with the most bad movies. (I also included the list of bad movies in every franchise so you see my picks and, no doubt, disagree with me about them.) Just remember: Every time you pay for a ticket to one of these you are helping to ensure they’ll continue a little bit longer.
The Franchises With the Most Bad Movies
Usually, when a franchise gets bad, that’s the beginning of the end. But some film series are too successful to ever truly die.
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