Sequels are regarded as inferior films for a good reason—they’re really hard to make successfully. Yes, audiences want more of the same, but they also want something a little different. Balancing these needs for an audience is quite an undertaking, making mediocre sequels forgivable for most audiences (who assume that maybe the next one will be better). However, a bad sequel can hurt a franchise’s growth and a really bad sequel can kill it outright. Here are 15 filmmakers who, in one fail swoop, managed to ruin a beloved franchise with an ill-conceived follow-up.
If you want to thank anyone for Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, thank Joel Schumacher. Batman and Robin single handedly put the final nail in the coffin for the original series that began with Tim Burton’s Batman. The success of Schumacher’s Batman Forever gave him carte blanche to turn up the franchise’s campy, homoerotic overtones to new heights, making a comedic mockery out of a franchise that was well-received for its brooding seriousness. Disappointing box office and bad reviews across the board forced Warner Bros. to scrap Schumacher’s proposed follow-up, Batman Triumphant, in favor of the fresh take we got from Mr. Nolan in 2005.