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Article – Franchises: How Many Is Too Many?


Posted July 30, 2017 by

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Franchises: How Many Is Too Many?

Can you have too much of a good thing? Some would say yes, others would shut this question down as being ridiculous. When I think of this question my mind immediately travels to film franchises and I’d be lying if I said that The Fast and the Furious wasn’t the first one to pop into my head. What filmmakers and film lovers alike have been trying to work out for years is how many is too many? Should you stop at a sequel, a trilogy? Or should you just carry on until you run out of ideas

fast and the furious

Franchises almost always begin with one original idea that explodes at the box office and attracts millions of fans. This then gives the filmmakers visions of infinite possibilities within this film universe. The sequels, the prequels, the spinoffs, the television adaptations capture the minds of the big bosses in Hollywood. Some films were always destined to be franchises. It would not have made sense to leave the Harry Potter series at just the Philosopher’s Stone when there were so many more books to be adapted. Additionally, many films are made into franchises for the fans over the profit. It would have been ridiculous to leave Star Wars or Marvel as just solo films. If the studios had left the fans to fall in love with these characters without continuing their journeys, the uproar would have been insane. I don’t even want to imagine a world without The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. That said, I think I could have handled a world without the Star Wars prequels!

star wars

Some older franchises have recently been expanded for the modern day. Creed (2015) is the latest instalment to the Rocky franchise which ended in 1990 with Rocky V. The series was then brought back to life by the 2006 film Rocky Balboa and revisited once again in 2015. This makes the Rocky franchise 39 years old, and it’s not over yet! Creed II is set for a 2017 release, expanding the series even further. Many people aren’t happy with this and want film franchises to be shorter due to the trend of films getting worse the further through the series they are. The original Rocky (1976) has an 8.1/10 rating on iMBD whilst the 2006 addition has a much lower 7.2/10. However, the most recent instalment, Creed, received a solid 7.6/10 and was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (Sylvester Stallone). This does not support the idea that films get worse the later in the franchise they place.

rocky creed

Another of example of this is the Alien franchise. Beginning in 1979 with a film credited as being one of the best of all time the series quickly went down-hill with the third and fourth Alien films performing significantly worse that their highly praised predecessors. However, the series has started to pick up speed and regain its previous reputation as a mature, terrifying and stunning franchise with the prequels Prometheus and Covenant.


But then, of course, we have the fairly recent The Fast and the Furious franchise which began in 2001 as a fairly grounded film about car racing and masculinity. Everyone can agree that it went down-hill but it’s never quite got back on track. With its eighth instalment released just this year people have noticed that the series is becoming gradually more and more ridiculous. What started as joke by people on the internet mocking the franchise has now been confirmed as ‘not being ruled out’ by the head writer of the series. In case you are unware, this means we could quite possibly be seeing the Fast and Furious gang driving around in space in the near future!

The Rock

All things considered there seems to be a trend that if you change the characters whilst remaining in the film’s universe the franchise is more likely to receive positive feedback. Examples of this are seen in Alien and Rocky along with the incredible Christopher Nolan trilogy reboot of Batman staring Christian Bale. Introducing one of the best actors working today (Michael Fassbender) to the Alien franchise certainly helped the films improve towards the end of the series. Star Wars, however, is a sort of anomaly in this trend. The first trilogy is, as everyone knows, fantastic but when they changed the characters for the prequels it very quickly started falling down the rankings. This changed once again when new characters were brought in for The Force Awakens which did amazingly with fans and critics alike. The filmmakers once again introduced more new characters for the first in the spin-off series Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which received mixed, but largely positive reviews. Overall, it is up to the fans when it gets too much. Some people may never want the franchise to end so that they can live in that world for years to come whilst others would rather it ended quickly to ensure that the films avoid eventually reaching ridiculousness. Whilst the films continue to make money the studios will continue to build on franchises but the box office takes are likely to eventually begin to decrease.


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Written by:

Nanci Rawsthorne

Freelance Contributor

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