In an era of blockbuster filmmaking that’s totally designed around the long-term success of a franchise rather than an individual installment, every single studio in the world has wanted that particular property they could call their own. But not every film can be a Star Wars (yay!) or a Twilight (boo!), and the studios have cast their nets wide, gathering up tons of properties and praying that they’ll lay golden eggs.
In honor of the release of The Dark Tower this Friday (expect our review tomorrow), we decided to take a look back and find some of the worst examples of DOA franchise filmmaking, found, after release, by their studio owners face-down in shit-infested waters.
Enjoy, but you might want to wear a protective suit when handling these bombs.
This adaptation of the classic Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi series would perhaps have made a ton of money and received plenty of accolades for its originality, had it been released in the 1930s when it was first considered for the transfer from page to screen. After having been stuck in development hell for the better part of the 20th century, Disney decided it was a good idea to give it another go, and wouldn’t you know it, it actually came out! Directed by Pixar’s Andrew Stanton, John Carter isn’t nearly as bad as you might have heard — there’s a ton of fun action, and the cast really isn’t all that terrible (evil Mark Strong will always be our favorite Mark Strong) — but it was just too familiar to an audience who’d seen Burroughs’ stuff stripped for parts by other films. It flopped catastrophically at the box office, and pummelled Disney so badly that they fired their CEO, and people still talked about it potentially getting a sequel. Instead, Stanton went on to do Finding Dory, and Taylor Kitsch hasn’t been the same since. What a shame.