These Movies Were Set Up For Successful Sequels (But Never Got Them)

As sequel-heavy and reboot hungry as Hollywood tends to be, sometimes sequels don’t happen even if a movie explicitly promises it. Most often it’s because the movie that’s supposed to spawn a sequel doesn’t do well enough to merit said sequel. It happens to superhero movies more often than you’d think. 

Sometimes the lack of a sequel is a pity because a follow-up might have been promising. Other times, the movie gods may be doing us a favor by denying us the sequel. With the help of Looper and Digital Spy, we picked out seven movies that left us hanging, for better or for worse. 

Theo James and Shailene Woodley on the red carpet
Theo James and Shailene Woodley | Luca Teuchmann/Getty Images

The ‘Divergent’ series

The first Divergent starring Shailene Woodley capitalized on the Hunger Games YA craze fairly well in 2014, so Lionsgate made plans to turn the other two books into movies as well. Then, ill-advisedly, Lionsgate tried to repeat its Hunger Games trick and split the last movie into two, but this time, no one bit.

The second movie produced reactions that ran the gamut from “OK” to “meh” and Lionsgate didn’t even finish plans to bring it back to TV. 

‘Airplane II: The Sequel’

The original Airplane, which seemed to crack at least a gag a minute, was one of the top-grossing films of 1980. Paramount asked for more, and we got Airplane II: The Sequel, which brought back some of the same cast, but not the original directing team of David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker. The result was only occasionally funny.

Nevertheless, a final title card did promise a third movie. However, the box office for the second movie was mediocre, and Series lead Robert Hays said no, and the sequel fell through. Must have still been dealing with that “drinking problem.” 

‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’

The post-credits scene of the movie promised a Sinister Six villains movie. But then Spider-Man banged against some poles that played “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and people held their noses until Tom Holland entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Now that Disney and Sony have agreed to renew their deal, perhaps some version of this can get going again. If not, there’s at least Venom 2 for next year. 

‘Fantastic Four’

This movie was undone by the Tweet heard ’round the world when director Josh Trank told everyone there was an awesome version of his film that we would never see. He turned out to be correct about the never-seeing part, with the finished movie being a jumbled mess with blatantly obvious reshoots.

Even a Stan Lee cameo didn’t happen. We’ll have to see how the MCU handles it, whenever that may be. 

‘Green Lantern’

This movie got one thing right. It promised that Ryan Reynolds would make a great superhero. It just didn’t turn out to be this particular hero. We saw a villain put on a yellow power ring that would never be used.

That’s one way to stop a villain, it at least paved the way for Reynolds to make fun of his former superhero life in Deadpool

‘Mac and Me’ 

Yes, this awful and absolutely shameless McDonald’s commercial disguised as an ET ripoff was going to get a sequel. Either that or the filmmakers were cruelly punking us.

We sort of did get a follow-up, but not in the way the filmmakers planned — it got roasted in Netflix’s new version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Look fast for Jennifer Aniston in her first film appearance as one of the dancers. 

‘Superman Returns’

Maybe this movie didn’t expressly promise a sequel, but come on. No one makes a Superman movie planning to make just that one. Even when the original Superman was made in 1978, the sequel was filmed at the same time.

So it was expected that director Bryan Singer could work the same magic with truth, justice and all that stuff, as he had with the X-Men. The movie came out and it did fine, but “fine” isn’t good enough to merit a sequel.

Exit Brandon Routh, enter Henry Cavill, for better or for worse.