Whether you like it or not, Hollywood is built on franchises, where successful films get an endless supply of sequels, spinoffs, and reboots that invite audiences to experience the stuff they liked over and over again. Most of these franchises are successful: our current industry is shaped by the young adult fantasy adaptations and superhero blockbusters that dominated the 2000s and 2010s. Sometimes, though, a director or a studio will attempt to reverse-engineer that success, to disastrous results.

Filmmaking is just as informed by hits as it is by flops, and sometimes the flops themselves are even more illuminating when it comes to gauging what makes a movie good, and what audiences actually want to see. In the past twenty years, we’ve seen an untold number of huge, expensive movies that underperformed, losing money for their studios as well as any chance of spawning any sequels. Some of these movies were not that bad, and maybe deserve another shot. Most, though, were pretty terrible.

We’ve decided to look back on 12 of the biggest franchise-killing flops, movies whose initial plans were full of promise but eventually fell apart, whether by studio mismanagement, bad directors, miscast actors, cringey effects, oversimplified plots, overly complicated plots, or a combination of everything. These movies are fun to look back on not because we liked them (though we did like some of them) but because it’s wild to imagine what would have happened if they were hits. Would we be 20 entries into the Green Lantern cinematic universe by now? We’ll never know.

Blockbuster Flops That Ended Their Future Franchises

These movies were supposed to start massive cinematic universes... and then they came out.

Gallery Credit: Emma Stefansky

READ MORE: Remakes and Sequels That Were Actually Better Than the Original

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Classic Movies That Are Cringe Now

If you'd rather preserve the memory of how much you loved these movies, just don't rewatch them.

Gallery Credit: Emma Stefansky

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