Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise has to be one of the most criticized, scrutinized, and laughable film franchises in the history of the big screen. And yet, here we are, one day away from the release of a pointless fourth installment, which will undoubtedly be critically panned and yet bring in enough money to buy Michael Bay his fifth mansion. As we prepare to endure a weekend of internet rage, perhaps it will ease the collective cultural mind to remember that while it might be the most inexplicably and dishearteningly profitable, Transformers isn’t the first film series to wear out its short welcome by offering too many sequels. Below, I’ve provided examples of the most exhausted film franchises of all time.
Final Destination – Five Movies
In 2000, the year of the first film’s release, the teen centered horror flick was notable for its lack of a concrete villain that could be uncovered and destroyed. The concept of predestination and cheating death made for some creative killing scenes, which suggest that Death him/herself can manipulate household objects to secure its grip. This abstract villain presented plenty of wiggle room for creative freedom and many directors have stuck their hands in the Final Destination pot, but the subsequent installments are more recognizable for their increasingly preposterous death sequences than any resemblance of actual horror or entertainment. The best thing to come out these sequels was the hesitation it caused every teen girl that uses a tanning bed.
Step Up – Five Movies
Step Up fits perfectly into the cookie cutter mold that is the teenage melodrama dance movie that has saturated the movie scene for years. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl come from different worlds and don’t get along. Boy and girl bond and fall in love through dancing together. We’ve not only seen it, we’ve seen it done better (I happen to prefer Save The Last Dance). What makes this one so special it deserves four more installments? Maybe it’s the perfectly sculpted Channing Tatum. Wait, he doesn’t star in any of the others? Color me completely confused then.
Scary Movie – Five Movies
Although the Scary Movie franchise is primarily known for spoofing horror flicks, each one of these insultingly stupid movies doesn’t stop there. This harvest of low hanging fruit takes cheap shots at everyone from Michael Jackson to people with disabilities. There’s nothing witty or funny about any of these parodies, and the fact that each movie has done relatively well at the box office is baffling. Turn off your Blu-Ray player and listen to a Weird Al album instead.
American Pie – Six Movies
It’s easily to forget how shocking and funny 1999’s teen comedy American Pie was. Although it established the high watermark for group virginity pact movies (a prestigious cultural honor if ever there was one), my current apple pie phobia, and my fear of attending my first year of band camp, the two sequels and four spin-offs that followed were less than memorable. When your central characters get married and you have to come up with younger siblings to carry the torch of teen vulgarity, that should be the signal to quit while you’re ahead.
Saw – Seven Movies
From 2004 to 2010 Halloween wasn’t complete without the newest Saw movie release. The ever popular Scream ghost face began to be replaced with the creepy clown on the tricycle as the mask you were guaranteed to see at every costume party. Although most of the sequels can be easily lumped into the booming torture porn genre, the original Saw actually did come with an intriguing storyline and a complex character with the potential to be both loathable and sympathetic. However, the increasingly unlikely gruesome traps along with a convoluted backstory that traced through seven movies managed to ruin the potential of the earlier films.
Fast and Furious – Seven Movies, Two Short Films
A campy action franchise revolving around fast cars, hot girls, and budding bromance is one of the last movies I ever expected to have a six going on seven installment series. There just isn’t enough substance here, but that’s never stopped Hollywood before. Increasingly absurd stunts, action sequences, and accessorized vehicles have largely taken the place of the more enjoyable racing scenes that used to be the core of the storyline. The Rock’s supporting role in Fast Five managed to breathe a hint of energy back into the series, but at this point he’s the only one who’s still having any fun.
Halloween – TEN Movies
Of the ten films within the Halloween canon that blossomed from John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher classic, one is completely absent of Michael Meyers, one has the iconic killer defeated by Bustah Rhymes, and two have the killer conceptually disgraced by self-proclaimed horror master Rob Zombie. After the surrealistically bad Season of the Witch, the wheels steadied in Halloween IV and V, but then the vehicle embarrassingly fell apart in around the time Jamie Lee Curtis started worrying more about her regularity than her mass murdering older brother.