New Movies – 10 Superhero Movies That Never Got A Sequel
Superheroes have been showing up on the silver screen almost from the moment they first hit the four-color page. Fawcett Comics was the first out of the gate with The Adventures of Captain Marvel, a 12-part live-action serial released in 1941, but it was a few months later when Fleischer Studios premiered the first of the animated Superman shorts that people saw just how great comic book heroes could be on the big screen.
With the 21st century, superheroes have taken over movie theaters in ways no one could have imagined. Marvel and DC have released a number of box office blockbusters, creating franchises based around lower-tiered heroes like the Guardians of the Galaxy and Shazam, with more to come in the near future. But not every superhero movie has led to a decades-long series of films. Some have sadly fallen to the sidelines, ending after just one movie.
10 Green Hornet
Directed by indie darling Michel Gondry and starring Seth Rogen, Jay Chou, Christoph Waltz, and Cameron Diaz, Green Hornet is an action-comedy that takes the basics of the 1930s pulp hero and brings them into the 21st century. In the movie, Rogen plays the titular hero who depends on his money, his gadgets, and his sidekick Kato – played by Chou – to keep him safe as he plays vigilante. While Green Hornet was financially successful, poor reviews by critics and the audience put the kibosh on any plans for a sequel.
After Superman III left audiences wanting, producers Alexander and Ilya Salkind decided to give the Man of Steel a rest, make a movie about his cousin, and Supergirl hit screens in 1984. With Helen Slater playing the hero, Faye Dunaway as the villain, and Marc McClure reprising his role as Jimmy Olsen from the Superman films, the Salkinds had hoped they could kick off a second successful franchise.
Instead of an action-packed movie filled with great special effects, audiences were given a meandering movie with bad dialogue, a confusing plot, and some shockingly poor effects. Supergirl bombed at the box office and became a scapegoat by studios to explain away the idea of making female-led superhero movies for decades.
8 The Incredible Hulk
The second movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Incredible Hulk is the only entry in Marvel’s stable to not get a direct sequel. Directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, and Tim Roth, The Incredible Hulk wasn’t as loved by audiences as Iron Man, but it was still financially successful.
The issue that Marvel has run into with making a sequel has to do with the rights; Universal Pictures has the movie rights to a sequel, and Marvel isn’t interested in teaming up with the studio again. That hasn’t stopped Hulk from appearing in further Marvel movies, although they replaced Edward Norton with Mark Ruffalo.
7 The Rocketeer
Released by Disney in 1991 and based on the comics by Dave Stevens, The Rocketeer was directed by Joe Johnston, who would go on to direct Captain America: The First Avenger. Sadly, Johnston’s first foray into superhero movie-making wasn’t as successful as the film he would make for Marvel, but there’s no denying that The Rocketeer is filled with fun, action, and charm.
In the movie, the Rocketeer, played by Bill Campbell, uses the jetpack he discovers to fight Nazis and save his girlfriend Jenny Blake, played by Jennifer Connelly. The Rocketeer flew into theaters with mixed reviews and failed to find an audience at the time, but has gone on to become something of a comic book movie classic.
Based on the 1960s cartoon, Underdog is a superhero comedy about a bomb-sniffing dog named Shoeshine who gains superpowers after being illegally tested on. Voiced by Jason Lee, Shoeshine decides to use his powers to protect the people of Capital City from the dastardly plans of Dr. Simon Barsinister, the evil scientist who gave Shoeshine his powers.
Also starring Peter Dinklage, Patrick Warburton, and Amy Adams, Underdog was panned by critics but went on to become a box office success. Despite making almost three times its budget, the superhero dog never got a sequel.
5 Superman Returns
After the success of the first two X-Men movies, Warner Brothers jumped at the chance to have Bryan Singer bring Superman back to the big screen for the first time in over twenty years. The movie wasn’t a reboot so much as a sequel to the first two Superman movies of the 1970s, and told the story of a Superman who was returning to Earth after a five-year mission to investigate the remains of Krypton.
While Superman Returns broke even at the box office, audiences didn’t connect with a more solemn Superman who was pining for a lost love. Plans for a sequel were shelved and the decision was made to go for a fresh take more like Christopher Nolan’s successful Batman reboot.
4 The Specials
While James Gunn is best known for his work on The Guardians of the Galaxy and the upcoming Suicide Squad, the director first took a shot at making a superhero movie when he wrote 2000’s The Specials. The movie, which stars Thomas Haden Church, Rob Lowe, Jamie Kennedy, and Paget Brewster, tells the story of the sixth or seventh best superhero team in the world as they prepare for the launch of their own toy line. Gunn’s comedic skills help make the low-budget movie stand out, as does the work of the actors and director Craig Mazin, who is now bringing the hit video game series The Last of Us to HBO.
3 Sky High
Released in 2005, Disney’s Sky High centered on the lives of superpowered teens who attend a special school for superheroes. Starring Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, Michael Angarano, Danielle Panabaker, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the movie is a comedic look at superheroes and growing up with famous parents.
Sadly, Sky High underperformed at the box office and a planned sequel was canceled. After the decision was made to forgo a theatrical sequel, there was talk of a TV series, but it also never came to be. While the movie has come to find a dedicated fanbase over the years, now that Disney has the Marvel Universe to play with, the chances of a Sky High sequel or reboot are pretty low.
A 2012 found-footage film directed by Josh Trank, Chronicle is unlike any other superhero movie ever made. The story follows three teenage boys who gain telekinetic powers after discovering a crystalline object in an underground tunnel. The three leads, played by Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell, and Michael B. Jordan, begin filming everything they do with their powers, starting with fun tests before moving on to being heroes and finally, one of them turning evil.
Chronicle helped kick off the careers of Trank & the three stars, and directly led to Trank directing 2015’s Fantastic Four, which co-stars Jordan. Chronicle was a critical and box office success, and while there was talk of a sequel, it never made it past the script stage.
1 Punisher War Zone
There have been three separate Punisher movies, and each one failed to find an audience. The last film made about Marvel’s most violent hero was Punisher: War Zone, directed by Lexi Alexander and starring Ray Stevenson as the former cop turned vigilante.
The movie was received a hard-R rating thanks to the gratuitous violence, but in 2008 audiences weren’t quite ready for a superhero movie with so much blood and cursing. While Punisher: War Zone has found a cult following, it’s unlikely Marvel will be making a sequel to the movie now that they have the rights to the character again.
NEXT: 5 Reasons Superheroes Belong On TV (& 5 They Are Better In The Movies)
9 Superhero Trilogies That Got Better With Each Movie
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New Movies – 10 Superhero Movies That Never Got A Sequel
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