I’ve been running Moviehole for about 12 years now (God, am I that old!?), and during that time I’ve reported on so many movies, in particular a lot of sequels, that never came to fruition (at the same time, I’ve reported on so many sequels that I’m surprised came to fruition – for instance, “Showgirls 2”, “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”, “Freddy vs. Jason”, “Tron Legacy” and “Terminator 3 : Rise of the Machines”) – for better or worse.
Typically, the sequel is canned for financial reasons – if the original didn’t make as much as projected or hoped, then the studio will drop the franchise. Sometimes, as in the case of “Vega Brothers” and Spielberg’s “E.T” sequel, it’s the creative forces behind the film that decide not to follow through with their venture – most basing their decision to dump on fears of tarnishing the original film.
So, let’s have a look at some of the sequels that, in my twelve years here at Moviehole, I’ve reported on at one stage as being good-to-go projects. The same projects are now as dead as Lance Guest’s movie career, Marco Antonio Garcia and Open-Air theaters.
26. Bird on a Wire 2
In 1990 Mel Gibson could open a movie – any movie. How things change, hey!? ‘’Bird on a Wire”, which teamed the then-ponytailed charmer with comedy ditz Goldie Hawn, was a surprise success. Wasn’t much of a movie, but not that that’s ever stopped an exec from seeing dollar signs and roman numerals after the title. No surprise really that the studio began talking ‘sequel’ fairly quickly. With his career in overdrive at the time, and his schedule no doubt solid-booked for years ahead, Gibson may have been the blame for this one’s collapse. Probably just as well.
27. Good Morning Chicago
With “Good Morning Vietnam” (1987) the big hit it was (enormously successful, the film would preview a couple of weeks ahead of it’s release date – selling out near each and every session) Touchstone swiftly tried to interest star Robin Williams and director Barry Levinson in a sequel. What they proposed was a sequel set years after the Vietnam War where Adrian Croneur is now a D.J at a Chicago radio station. If it were 1982, and Williams had just done Bob Altman’s mega-flop “Popeye”, then “Chicago” might have happened, but this was 1987 and Williams was about to explode as a viable bigscreen commodity – he had his pick of the litter, if you will. He turned down the “Vietnam” sequel but stuck with Touchstone for 1989’s “Dead Poet’s Society”, giving the studio – and the star – another huge hit. It’s all money, hey!?
28. Cliffhanger 2 : The Dam
Sylvester Stallone hadn’t had a hit in a while, so when “Cliffhanger” hit big Sony was quick to pull the big guy aside and ask him for another – er, another “Cliffhanger” that is. It’s believed an idea (might have even got to treatment stage, not sure) concerning Sly’s Mountain-climber hero climbing back into the harness to help block a holy dam was tossed around. A couple of years later Stallone starred in Universal’s “Daylight”, the story of a heroic cab driver who must help a group of New Yorkers out of a flooded tunnel. Stallone has said in various interviews that any talk of “Cliffhanger 2:The Dam” went away when “Daylight” came out because that, for all intents and purposes, was the same film. A remake of “Cliffhanger” is now in the works.
29. True Lies 2
“True Lies 2” nearly came to fruition a couple of times. Shortly after the success of the 1995 hit, director James Cameron and stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis and Tom Arnold announced they’d all be coming back for seconds. Cameron was jotting down notes for a prospective second Harry Tasker mission when the planes hit the World Trade Center in New York. That was the end of the project (Though Tom Arnold never stopped championing it). Cameron – and he was probably right – didn’t want to make a movie about terrorists, not now that American had been gutted by villains not unlike the ones in his original film. Interestingly enough, Cameron’s now producing a “True Lies” TV series for ABC. Must’ve changed his stance on terrorists (unless all the rogues will be bespectacled shonky accountants or Backward-cap-wearing ticket scapers?).
30. The Bone Collector 2
Phillip Noyce and Columbia Pictures had both expressed interest in doing a string of movies based on Jeffrey Deaver’s books. “The Bone Collector”, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, was merely intended to be the first. Despite that film’s success, a new chief at the studio wasn’t keen on continuing the franchise. Can almost see Jolie mouthing the words ‘No biggie’ as she walked out of the office and onto the lot parking hub. Don’t be surprised if the franchise rears it’s head again sometime, though just not with Washington, Jolie or Noyce.
31. Under Siege 3
“Under Siege 3” has been talked about for years – unfortunately (don’t know about you, but I still think Casey Ryback is Steven Seagal’s finest character) that’s all it is and will ever be, talk. Problem here is that Seagal and Warner Bros had a bigtime falling out a few years back with both ultimately declaring they’ll never work with each other again. Seagal might like to reprise Ryback, but he can’t do so without WB. Seagal’s crowd are regularly presented with scripts and treatments for prospective “Under Siege” sequels (one, a couple of years ago, would see Ryback reunited with Jordan Tate, Erika Eleniak’s character from the original movie, to take down jewel thieves) but until someone buys someone a beer, such scripts will remain scripts. What’s likely going to happen is Warner Bros are going to reboot this series, having some fresh-faced pound of flesh take on the role of the kick-ass cook.
32. The Bodyguard 2
Kevin Costner had been trying to get a sequel to his 1992 hit off-the-ground for years, until forced to let the dream lapse a couple of years back. Though not a big fan of sequels (he passed on doing sequels to “Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves” and “Dances with Wolves”), the Oscar Winner thought he/we might like to learn more about Farmer (the bodyguard hired to protect Whitney Houston’s singer in the original) and more so, believed he had the perfect co-star lined up : Princess Diana. The late, great royal was said to be interested in giving acting a try, so Costner went to work on the script. Would’ve been a big hit, no!? People would’ve went simply out of curiosity. Unfortunately Diana had passed away before receiving any kind of official offer from Costner. Likely didn’t even get to read the script.
33. My Cousin Vinny 2
With Jonathan Lynn’s 1992 comedy tracking through the roof in the weeks leading up to it’s release, distributor 20th Century started talking sequel. Not quite sure why the talks died down (the film was the success they projected it to be) but it may have had something to do with the (‘holy shit! Surprise) Oscar Win of Maria Tomei’s – gal likely didn’t want to be pigeonholed. Joe Pesci also had enough going on at the time, too.
34. Daredevil 2
It probably goes without saying, but Fox were hoping their bigscreen adaptation of the Marvel comic series would be their next big franchise (they’d actually been working on “Daredevil” since the ‘90s, at which time they had Michael J.Fox (!) lined up to play Matt Murdock). The Mark Steven Johnson-directed film made enough money to warrant a spin-off, but when it (Elektra) didn’t exactly set the box-office on fire, all plans for further adventures of big red were put on hold. Two birds killed with the one lousy return. Pity, the sequel might have reunited golden couple Ben Affleck (actor) and Kevin Smith (writer), who was mulling over writing the script.
35. Masters of the Universe 2
Had the first film not turned out so woeful (but that would’ve taken a good budget, something the producers didn’t have), Dolph Lundgren might have found himself with a promising new film franchise. Lundgren (who only snagged the role of He-Man after his “Rocky IV” co-star Sylvester Stallone knocked it back) decided he didn’t want to be involved in a sequel to the 1987 blunder and was consequently replaced with surfer Laird Hamilton. Cannon had hired director Albert Pyun to direct both “Masters of the Universe 2” and “Spider-Man”, both of which would be shot on miniscule budgets and film back-to-back in Wilmington, North Carolina. Pyun told Ultimate Dolph that, “”Masters of the Unverse 2″ was based on my story. Sets and costumes were built. The film was fully cast. Mattel Toys had a great many approvals and it was a trying process getting everything okayed by the corporate giant. It had a budget of $4.5 million.” It was discovered that Cannon had bounced the rights check to Marvel, so the shingle suddenly found themselves up to their neck in monies owed. As a consequence, both films were canceled. Pyun ended up using a lot of the sets and costumes crafted for “Masters” for “Cyborg”, which would film with Jean-Claude Van Damme shortly after.
36. Dick Tracy 2
Not that we expected it to come swiftly, considering Warren Beatty’s leisurely way of working (he’s worse than Quentin Tarantino in that he only does a film every five or six years), but does anyone actually believe Warren Beatty when he says he’s still planning on sequelizing his 1990 hit? I mean, it was twenty years ago he last played the comic-strip detective! According to the 68-year-old, he still plans on bringing back ol’ Yellow Coat. About as likely as Al Pacino returning as Big Boy Caprice, me thinks!
37. Catwoman : Batman Returns 2
Yes, a “Catwoman” did happen – but it’s not the one we wanted to see. The one we wanted to see was the “Batman Returns” spin-off, with Michelle Pfeiffer reprising her role as foxy feline Selina Kyle, Tim Burton playing director, and Daniel Waters on storytelling duties. Though they tossed and turned over storylines (Burton wanted something that could be done for about $12 million and play more like “Cat People” than his “Batman” films), Burton and Waters (“Heathers”) ultimately decided on a story that would see Kyle (Pfeiffer) relocate to a small town in Arizona. With her arrival, the town’s rulers, three obnoxious superheroes, turn nasty. Waters’ dark script was handed into Warner Bros on the day that “Batman Forever” opened in 1995. Suit says “Sorry sir, this isn’t the kind of Batman movie we want to make now. Light is the new Dark!”. The Waters-written project remained in development for several more years (at one stage Ashley Judd replaced Michelle Pfeiffer in the lead role) until the studio lastingly canned it in favour of a fresh start.
38. The Godfather 4
There are always stories going around about a fourth “Godfather”. Leonardo Di Caprio was said to be involved in a prequel at one stage (playing Sonny Corelone, the character made famous by Jimmy Caan in the original). Another rumour had Andy Garcia coming back to reprise his role from “Godfather 3”, Vincent, for a sequel. There was even a suggestion that Anthony La Paglia might be involved in some sort of sequel that would film in Melbourne, Australia! All kinda laughable rumours. New “Godfather” stories have been released in literary form, but it’s anyone’s guess whether they’ll end up getting the big screen treatment. No “Godfather 4”, kids.
39. The Last Full Measure (The Last Detail 2)
This is how – sorry to be blunt – fucked-up our film industry is at the moment – a film starring Morgan Freeman, Andy Garcia, Bruce Willis and Laurence Fishburne, with some top-shelf talent involved behind-the-scenes, can’t get financing. For the better part of a decade, writer/director Todd Robinson has been trying to get off the ground this belated but welcome sequel to the classic Jack Nicholson flick “The Last Detail”. The film would tell of an ambitious government bureaucrat who must decide whether to give a fallen hero a medal of honor. He discovers some interesting things in his research. Would no doubt be a fantastic movie, just as the original was, but unfortunately, as a prominent director recently said, “Hollywood doesn’t make movies encompassing decent stories anymore, they make rides”.
40. Somewhere in Time 2
Lovely flick. Christopher Reeve goes back in time to romance Jane Seymour. Coin brings him wretchedly zooming back to his own time at film’s end. In August of 1999, Universal pictures announced they’d be sequelizing the ‘80s classic – the film, however, would be a cheap direct-to-DVD project and likely wouldn’t involve much of the original cast or crew. Still, it might keep fans happy. In 2001, Universal registered the domain SomewhereinTime2.com. Nine years later, still no sequel. I’d lay down some money on Uni remaking the original flick sometime in the future.
41. Seriously Dude, Where’s My Car?
Those running film websites for as long as I have will recall this being a constantly updated news item. This ‘’Dude, Where’s My Car?” Sequel sounded like it was as good as a go project at one stage. It never got to script stage though. Probably just as well, Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott never sounded too keen to be in it.
42. L.A Confidential 2
Fox-based New Regency Enterprises had been developing a sequel to Curtis Hanson’s 1997 hit. Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe, writer Brian Helgeland and director Hanson were assumed to be onboard. At the same time, director Joe Carnahan was developing his own semi-“L.A Confidential” sequel, “White Jazz”. New Regency had requested that Carnahan not use the character of Ed Exley (Pearce’s role) in his film though (despite Exley appearing in the book “White Jazz”), because he’d be in their film, he obliged. Links between Carnahan’s project and “L.A Confidential” significantly diminished. As it turned out, neither project came to fruition, anyway. Side Note : Remember asking Guy Pearce whether he was going to do it. He said No. He wasn’t interested. A couple of years later he was attached.
43. The Punisher 2
Another potential Dolph Lundgren franchise bites the dust. Lundgren was – as opposed to the ‘’Masters of the Universe” sequel that he refused to be a part of – quite prepared to reprise Frank Castle (saying at one stage it was his favourite role) but when prod co New World went belly-up, and the original consequently died a quick death when it was finally released (on VHS in most territories), all plans for further punishment were abandoned. The Punisher returned in 2004 with Thomas Jane wearing the Skull shirt.
44. Point Break Indo
It was announced a couple of years ago that we’d be soon seeing a sequel to Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 hit. Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves and Lori Petty would be sitting this out (as Petty told me last year, not by choice) and in their place a new band of characters. W.Peter Illif’s script would fix on a Bodhi-esque crim named Dali, and his team, who wear masks of “The Bush Administration” (George Bush, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, etc.) as they strip boats for loot. Dali’s sister, Teela, ends up falling in love with Billy Dalton, an undercover Fed working in Dali’s gang, which complicates matters. The script made references to Swayze’s character – who had famously disappeared at Bell’s Beach 20 Years prior to the events in this movie – but Swayze wasn’t going to make an onscreen appearance. No big names were onboard (Most familiar face would have been Aussie actor Damien-Walshe Howling, of “Underbelly”) – possibly an indication of the films fiscally-friendly budget; nor a big name director (‘’Never Back Down”’s Jeff Wadlow replaced Jan De Bont, who was attached to the project early on) and for that matter, no major company was involved (Fox was behind the original) in its conception and execution. The film fell apart a year or so back. Surfing conditions must have been down.
45. Rambo 5
Unlike ‘’Rocky Balboa”, Sly Stallone never intended 2008’s ‘’Rambo” to be the final in that series. In fact, he actually had another film in mind that would see the bandana-wearing big man taking on scum who’ve kidnapped women in Mexico. Assume some kind of subplot about ‘Rambo Sr’ would’ve been in there too. Though Sly never officially committed to the film, Nu Image announced it anyway – at Cannes. Partway through filming ‘’The Expendables”, Sly announced he no longer held much interest in making another ‘’Rambo”. The actor cum director said, “I was going to do it. I said I’d never talk about this, but I feel that with Rocky Balboa, that character came complete circle. He went home. But for Rambo to go on another adventure might be, I think, misinterpreted as a mercenary gesture and not necessary. I don’t want that to happen.”
46. Sultans of Africa : Wild at Heart 2
“Wild at Heart” sequel with Chris Isaak stepping in for Nicolas Cage as Sailor Ripley? Jennifer Tilly in the Lula role? Book’s writer Barry Gifford stepping in for David Lynch? Hmm. Now that could… What am I saying? No way this would’ve worked! Dunno how Isaak came to be attached as the star of “Sultans of Africa” – – but assume it’s got something to do with contributing his tune ‘Wicked Game” to the first films soundtrack.
No Cage? No Dern? No Lynch? No bloody Sherilyn Fenn emerging from a fierce car crash? no Dice! (Someone agreed. The project was canned).
47. The Dark Knight Returns : Sequel to Tim Burton’s Batman
By 1998 it was clear that the “Batman” film franchise, as we knew it, was not working. It needed a tweak. It needed less Schumacher and more… something. Warner Bros considered bringing Frank Miller’s famed graphic novel “The Dark Knight Returns” to the big screen. Michael Keaton, who played Batman/Bruce Wayne in the two Tim Burton-directed films, was approached to reprise his role. His involvement would signal a link to the first two “Batman” films but not necessarily the Schumacher-directed efforts. At one stage Clint Eastwood was even considered – or so the rumour mill says. Ultimately, Warner Bros decided to greenlight a prequel project. “Batman : Year One” was to be directed by Darren Aronofsky.
48. Con-Air 2 : Con-Airport
John Cusack was rumoured to be reprising his role as agent Vince Larkin in a sequel that, quite frankly, sounded more like a spin-off – in the same way “U.S Marshals” spun-off from “The Fugitive”. In the 15-page treatment, it’s revealed that Larkin oversees a new airport designed especially for Airplanes transferring criminals to land at. Crooks decide to make an in-air transfer onto another plane – a commercial airliner. Larkin would have to get to the rogues before they carry through on their threat to kill passengers on the flight. Surprisingly – if only because most of Jerry Bruckheimer’s flicks spawn sequels these days – “Con-Air 2” never came to fruition.
49. Spider-Man 4
Sony were still pushing ahead with a “Spider-Man 4″ as recently as this year. With the film penciled in for a May 2011 release, all thrusters were on ; Raimi, Maguire and Dunst had committed to the project, casting had begun (with John Malkovich and Anne Hathway in talks to play the villains, father-and daughter team The Vulture and The Vulturess), scouting had begin, and several of the kitchen’s cooks were greasing the pan that was the troubled screenplay. Raimi was always adamant that should he return to direct ¨Spider-Man 4” that he got a lot more creative control than what he had on the elongated toy commercial known as “Spider-Man 3” (one of the worst sequels ever made? Quite possibly!). I’ve met Raimi many-a-time. We get along well. He told me last year that he truly believed there was one more “Spider-Man” left in him. “I think I can do a good job, if not a better job, than I’ve done before”, said the filmmaker. “I really feel like I know the character in a way I haven’t been able to put on film just yet”.
Sony seemingly didn’t share Raimi’s vision for the new film, and pretty soon the horror icon found himself caught in a Web of Shit. With the studio vetoing Raimi’s proposal, and nobody seemingly on the same page, the two parties amicably parted ways. Sony are now rebooting the franchise.
50. Superman Lives
Was to be the fifth film in the money-spinning “Superman” saga. Tim Burton was directing from a Kevin Smith script (Jonathan Lemkin wrote the first draft), with Nicolas Cage (!) onboard to play the Man of Steel. The plan was to release it in theatres in 1998, to coincide with the 60th Anniversary of Superman.
The storyline, loosely based on the ‘Death of Superman’ comics, would see the big guy dying – in Lois’s arms no less – and returning to life in slightly unconventional form later on. For the majority of the movie Superman would be without his powers. Where’s the fun in that!?
So what happened? Well, what didn’t happen!? This thing was cursed from the beginning! Smith and Burton had a big falling out – Burton wanted to dump Smith’s script and start from scratch (making matters worse, Burton reportedly ripped the whole ‘Abe Lincoln’ ending from “Planet of the Apes” from an early ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ comic that Smith wrote. Today, whenever Smith signs a “Superman Lives” script he signs it “Fuck Tim Burton!”) and he did; those of us on the net following the project since it’s conception (as “Superman Reborn”) weren’t happy with what we were hearing, and having been partly responsible for the death of “Batman & Robin” at the box office, Warner Bros got worried; Producer Jon Peters, having pre-arranged merchandising tie-ins with Burger King and various other outlets, was seemingly more interested in making money, not a movie (always has been); and ultimately, having been stuck on the merry-go-round for years, Tim Burton decided to leave the project in favour of making “Sleepy Hollow”.
Oliver Stone would briefly replace Burton as the helmer of “Superman Lives” – still with Cage (who would later work with Stone on “Bringing Out the Dead” and “World Trade Center”) – but by the time his signature was on paper, the studio had already decided to make the film adaptation of the old telly offering, “Wild Wild West”. No winners here.