FOUR FRANCHISES AT A CROSSROADS
Talk about heroic: Four film franchises, one decade, more than $10 billion worth of theater tickets sold.
And more than that, in their very best moments, each of these franchises shown above delivered sparkling adventure and escapism for moviegoers. Now, though, with the decade winding down and all four franchises sitting a nice tidy trilogy, the question must be asked: Isn’t three the magic number? Do we really need a fourth movie from any of these aging popcorn enterprises? Clearly, all of them will be written up in the Hollywood history books but right now the indelicate must be asked: “How can we miss you if you won’t leave?”
Last week we gave you an in-depth report on this quartet of mega-franchises and their quests for a fourth visit to theaters. We told you how “The Hobbit” must escape the the towering shadow of “The Lord of the Rings,” while Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” series needs to get back to its roots to thrive. We also explained that the “X-Men” future looks especially uncertain while the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise might be facing a one-man mutiny with Johnny Depp’s distress over recent changes at Disney.
We also put the question to you: Which of these franchises is making a mistake by adding a fourth film?
You made it clear that “The Hobbit,” with director Guillermo del Toro taking over with a new vision, is in a class by itself – the other franchises may tack on new editions to cash in, but fans are expecting nothing but magic from Del Toro’s arrival in Middle-earth. The remaining three franchises got a frostier reception. For five days last week, more than half of our reader voters named “Pirates” as the cinematic series that should walk the plank. Over the weekend that changed and (with a lot of late-arriving Depp fans?) the surging “X-Men” became the top choice as a franchise hitting bottom.
It’s not too late, though, we’ll take votes for the next 48 hours before declaring our, uh, winning loser. In the meantime, thanks for reading, commenting and voting.
– Geoff Boucher
VOTE: WHICH FRANCHISE IS MAKING A MISTAKE WITH A FOURTH FILM?
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Photos at top, 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. Bottom photo of Sam Raimi by Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times