As most of us know and as I mentioned on multiple occasions, there are only few businesses in the world that come close to the contend industry, when it comes to an unlimited amount of pure, unadulterated greed. There are thousand ways of squeezing some more cash from the masses, but in terms of pure profit, nothing comes close to cashing in on an already successful franchise.
When it comes to the most popular ones, most of us have at least a vague idea as to how far a series had been exploited, but every once in a while I stumble upon further installations , reincarnations and spinoffs, that leave even the most knowledgable film freak surprised.
Let’s start with some of the smaller “Series”.
For many of us “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” remains a part of our upbringing. If you are approximately my age, then there has been a time in your life, when you wanted to be Ferris Bueller. There was also most likely a time, when you wished for a sequel. That never happened and will most likely never happen, even we got teased with a “Trailer” a couple of years ago, showing Ferris in his early 40s, that later just turned out to be a car commercial, BUT did you know that they made a TV series? Yeah, there was an insanely bad Ferris Bueller TV series, named after after our favorite school skipping protagonist. And it was baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad. Even the fact that they could convince Jennifer Grey to reprise her role could not help this shameless and amateurishly written, badly casted, badly acted disaster of a cash in. No wonder they packed this one in after a single Season.
Do you remember “Weird Science”? Of course you do. That John Huges film about every teenage boys dream of miraculously manufacturing the women of your dreams, which even comes with bonus superpowers? I bet very few of you have known though, that they also made a TV show out of it. Of course it had none of the original Actors in it and of course it could not come close to the film. It was kinda watchable though, in complete contrast to the Ferris Bueller TV show and therefore lasted at least a couple of Seasons, before eventually faded into obscurity.
Oh and while we are on memory lane. Who hadn’t had nightmares of Yul Brynner’s haunting Performance of a Robot gone mental in “Westworld”? Of course the Studios couldn’t leave this one alone alone, so we were given the inferior, yet watchable “Futureworld”, which is still common knowledge, but what’s lesser known is the fact that they tried to further cash-in with a TV show called “Beyond Westworld”, which tanked so badly that they took it off the air after only 3 (!) of the 5 Episodes they made. Will that be enough reason for the studios to leave it alone? Of course not, we will be seeing the next Reincarnation of the franchise in form of yet another TV series either this or next year, if it doesn’t end up on development hell.
So far this was all fine and dandy for the most part, but the next one is really mind boggling. first let me say, that there is really nothing wrong with writer/director Kevin Smith expanding his indie-cult-classic “Clerks” by a second and soon a third installment, as well as using his characters for further spinoffs. That’s not the puzzling part here. The interesting part is this: during the chaotic and fascinating success-story that clerks has been, then young and inexperienced film maker Kevin Smith was smart enough to secure himself the rights to his Characters Jay and Silent Bob, while everything else basically went to the Studio. The latter is standard procedure and of course those rights were used to make a TV show out of it, which even makes sense. The Film lived by the characters and the dialogue and since we, the viewers happily watched those characters do mainly nothing but talk for 90 minutes, why wouldn’t we want more of that? The sequels and the first cartoon Series prove very well, that a “Clerks Show” could just as easily have become a success, IF DONE PROPERLY and THEREIN lies the problem. They could have gotten Smith as a writer …FOR CHEAP at that time, but decided to use their own … EVEN CHEAPER … writers. They did not even notice him, until it was in full production mode. Since they did not involve him, they did not have the rights to use all of the original characters, namely jay and silent bob were out of the question. So what did they do? They used them anyways, but just slightly altered their names. All of this would be bad enough, but now comes the best part: both main actors from the film auditioned to reprise their roles and were rejected. Can you believe THAT shit? While the other examples I mentioned so far at least made it to broadcast, the Clerks Pilot wasn’t even picked up. Not only that, but it disappeared completely. No leak, no mysterious 3rd hand copies on eBay, yes not even on ioffer and if it ain’t on ioffer, you won’t ever find it ANYWHERE. Some Scenes are (or at least were) on Youtube and it is rumored that once a full 3 minute clip had been uploaded one day, that disappeared quicker than Tim Curry’s career. It has also been rumored that in the past there had been a homepage that had a full review with screenshots, which also has been said to disappear just as fast. Smith has confirmed, that at one point he had access any considered putting it on the Clerks X DVD as bonus material, but ultimately decided against it, because he wasn’t able to suffer through more than 5 minutes of it.
Neeeext. Ok, i admit it, i have yet to check out the horror cult classic “Sleepaway Camp”, but once I do it seems like I have to keep a whole weekend free to get the full “experience”, since in good old slasher manner it spawned an impressive 4 sequels, with a 5th one already planned. The plans for said 6th installment later became, how else could it be, the basis for a reboot/remake of the whole series. No plans for a TV show have surface YET.
The next franchise that seems to be just too tough to die would be Critters. Originally starting as kind of a more humorous Gremlins cash in, this one made at least made it to it’s fourth installment. BUT, whatever once was successful in the film Industry will so surely come back as Mike Mayers on Halloween, so just recently a short film named “Critters: Bounty Hunter” has surfaced, a second one called “Critters 3D” has been announced and if that wasn’t enough, it goes without saying that someone made his mind up to turn this into a TV series. we will take a further look into said projects and keep you updated at a later time.
So far so … weird, but a film does not even have to be good to begin with, which very impressively proofs to us: the leprechaun franchise. This one never even took a break and keeps spitting out Sequels and Prequels ever since 1993. So far we have made it into the impressive Number of 7 Installments and as long as even 2 people rent a copy, this series will not die. TV series anyone? xD
And while we mention Films that feature haunting little shits, we need to mention “Ghoulies”. If you could not stand the critters films, because you considered them “too well done”, well then I am sure that you watched this reoccurring madness. miraculously they stopped after Ghoulies 4 in 1994, but as they say “it ain’t over until the fat lady sings”.
The Puppet Master series is another one that I always planned to check out, but never found the time. You can imagine my surprise, when I found out that not only did they spit out 10 of those films, but also 2 comic miniseries and an unofficial crossover with the characters from demonic toys. Trust me, we haven’t seen the last of those either.
Speaking of the devil, the demonic toys series only made it to a glorious 2 movies plus 2 crossovers, which still is impressive in a way. Will it be enough to compete with the other Puppet Horror Franchises to guarantee a remake/reboot/TV series? Sure it will. There is always at least one idiot in Hollywood desperate and greedy enough to try.
And what would the world of evil toys and puppets, if it wasn’t for “chucky” from “child’s play”? despite being one of the most iconic horror figures, we have only seen him in 6 reincarnations, but don’t worry a 7th on is already on it’s way.
Just by accident a promo copy of Gingerdead man 3 recently fell into my hands and I was delighted to find about about this franchise, because it is hilaaaaaarious. Lucky for me, there are obvious the other 2 films for me to check out, but also a crossover with … you will not believe this …. EVIL BONG. Yes, EVIL BONG, which is not only a one hit wonder horror comedy, but OF-FUCKING-COURSE a franchise. Duh!!!! As of now we can count 3 regular ones, said 1 crossover and it’s far from over.
Next in line is the “Tremors” legacy. Starting as with the original cult classic featuring nobody less than Kev in Bacon and Fred ward, this lighthearted Films dug (pun intended) it’s way into our hearts with none lesser than a 5 installments and a TV Series. I doubt that this baby will go away anytime soon.
Ok, a short break from all the lo-fi horror.
Most likely the most overrated Comedy in History, American Pie was the film that ignited the Spark for a Series, whose death has been delayed waaaaaaayyyyy beyond expiration day. If it was for the 3 Sequels, then that would have been bad enough, but from it’s womb also sprung a spinoff series, called “American pie presents”, that itself already has gotten to the 4th round and to add insult to injury, the AP5 is also on it’s way. Don’t they have any sense of mercy or remorse?
If you like this kind of light entertainment teen comedy, then I would instead recommend to you “National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze”, because first of all it is a laugh riot and more importantly it does not involve someone sticking his pecker into any pastry. You could also check out part 2, which is still good, but it takes true hardcore fans of the series to find any good in the next two ones they made.
Same genre, more succeful: Van Wilder. Love it or hate it, the original was an enormous hit for Ryan Reynolds and the sequel had all the funniest moments of Kal Penn in it, BUT even as someone that has enjoyed both films many many times, I have to admit that a) all the potential that the franchise had to offer was made good use of and b) without either actors to carry such a silly concept on his back, this could not go on. That did not keep the Studio from keeping on keepin’. The third and last one was so bad and tanked so miserably, that they gave it up. This happens rarely. Let’s not fool ourselves though, I give it 3 more years until someone feels the need to reboot it. mark my words.
We all know that Dukes of Hazzard was a major success on tv with a gazillion of episodes and multiple tv feature films, but not everybody knows about the box office horror of the reboot flick, which included Johnny Noxville as Sean William Scott as the Protagonists. So, when the film tanked, the Studio Execs came to the conclusion “wow, that one burned some major cash, soooo … let’s do another one”. sure, what other conclusion would one come to? Of course, this one tanked even worse. Will they stay the wiser? Only History will tell. Fun fact: Jonathan Bennett, the dude that was dumb enough to get himself casted for this disaster also played Van Wilder in the final installment that literally killed the series.
Back in the days, when Highlander came out, Highlander was THE SHIT and Cristopher Lambert who played him was a huge name in Hollywood, a teen idol and generally a sheer energy source of awesomeness. 5 full length films, 2 tv series, multiple short films, animated films, animated series video games and graphic novels, all of that had changed. Nobody, really nobody had any more need for any more “highlander”. In food terms we were “full of highlander”. One more spoon of Highlander and we would burst. Did that keep anybody from having the brilliant and truly oddball idea of planning a remake? Nooooooooo. ^^
It could work though. It has been 1986, when the first one came out and since then the franchise had died and rotten enough for millions of young people growing up, without having ever heard of it, so there might be a target audience for this.
Alrighty people, enough for today. But don’t worry, a Sequel of this article is already in the making. 😉