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October 05, 2009

Four major franchises look to make a fourth film — but should they? [Updated]

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They are four of the biggest franchises in Hollywood history and each is at a major crossroads. This week the Hero Complex will look at “The Lord of the Rings,” “Spider-Man,” “X-Men” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” and size up their future as they attempt to move past their original trilogies and into a new decade.

Tuesday “Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit“: How can Guillermo del Toro possibly match up to Peter Jackson’s magical conquests ($2.92 billion in global box office and 17 Oscars including best picture, best director and best adapted screenplay)? At least he has Jackson on his side …

Wednesday Spider-Man: Director Sam Raimi and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst are back for more and that’s no surprise considering “Spider-Man 3” had the highest-grossing opening weekend of the wall-crawling films — and went on to make $891 million worldwide. Still, the last film got decidedly mixed reviews, and some fans are wondering if the magic is gone.

Thursday: “X-Men“: The summer 2000 release of Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” truly signaled the beginning of the modern era of superhero cinema and its new ambitions. While the 2006 release of “X-Men: The Last Stand” led to commercial success ($459 million), the hero-snuffing plot, the finality of the title and those cruel reviews all suggested the run was over. Now, though, producers are looking for a return to the mutant chronicles…

Friday “Pirates of the Caribbean” : The fourth film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” hits theaters in 2011, but after a shake-up at the top of Walt Disney Studios, star Johnny Depp said he is feeling glum about the project. If he’s not excited, should you be?

Check back to read them all, but in the meantime, give us your opinion: Which franchise would be making the biggest mistake by continuing past the original trilogy? Vote below …

— Geoff Boucher

Photos from left, Ian McKellen in “Lord of the Rings,” Tobey Maguire in “Spider-Man,” Halle Berry in “X-Men: The Last Stand” and Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean.”  Credits from left: New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios.

UPDATED: Previous version of this post had an incorrect year of release on one of the X-films.

Return to: Four major franchises look to make a fourth film — but should they? [Updated]