Sometimes reboots are better – but other times they’re unfortunate disappointments. Here are the worst franchise reboots of all time.
Anything you can do, I can do better – but not always. Television and movie franchises have existed since the beginning of Hollywood and have only become more prominent as the decades have flown by. Some of those franchises have gone on to become universal successes while others were dead upon arrival. Regardless of how the franchises might ultimately end up doing on their first go-around, there’s usually a director, writer, or producer out there that thinks they could have done it better – and they’re very rarely correct.
Reboots have become a typical standard within the confines of Hollywood over the last couple of decades and, unfortunately, have given audiences some of the worst movies in history. Whether it be a lackluster script that entirely mimics the project they’re trying to recreate or an out-of-touch creative who completely ignores the source material and makes a “reboot” that has absolutely nothing to do with it’s predecessor, reboots are usually a horrible gamble (regardless of what big studios will throw money at). So, with that in mind, let’s takes a look at some of the worst franchise reboots in Hollywood history.
Fantastic Four (2015)
Let’s call a spade a spade – the first two Fantastic Four movies weren’t exactly the greatest superhero movies ever. Even so, they helped pave the way for future franchises like the MCU and DCU and weren’t nearly as bad as people tend to claim. Then there was the 2015 reboot. Despite Marvel being in the middle of creating their massive multi-film universe, they felt the need to reboot a franchise that hadn’t even been gone for a decade and botched the hell out of it. An A-list cast of up-and-coming stars combined with known characters should have been a no-brainer, but turned into an absolute dud. The script lacked emotion or motivation and the end result was a CGI mess that had critics and fans running from theaters.
Men in Black: International (2019)
Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson had just created a hit-movie with Thor: Ragnarok in 2017 – so the higher-ups of Hollywood put them together in an already established film franchise and assumed that would be enough to make audiences swoon. It was not. The unnecessary reboot brought nothing to the table in terms of adding any substance to the original Men in Black trilogy and, just like all the other reboots on this list, had a completely forgettable plot and simply tried to cash in on Hemsworth and Thompsons’ bankability.
Say it with us from the back – audiences and fans want new original female characters, not copies of old male ones. Despite the majority of the Internet believing that movie-goers are sexist and only want strong, male-led projects, it couldn’t be further from the truth. So, when a movie like 2016’s Ghostbusters came around and was nothing more than an attempt to shift an entire franchises’ fanbase to one gender, it only added fuel to the ignorance-fire. The reboot took the comedic-gold of the original films and turned it into what seemed like just goofy/cheesy improv and created a project that will forever feel like a hollow-shell of it’s predecessors.
Ocean’s 8 (2018)
You can basically just copy-and-paste the Ghostbusters article here – a film that followed the exact same premise and had the exact same plot-twist as the original and the only creative addition was making the cast all female rather than all male. We’ll say it once more to get the message through – audiences want new original female characters, not copies of old male ones.
The Mummy (2017)
Marvel was on the brink of breaking the Hollywood code by combining dozens of different movies into one giant franchise, so naturally every other studio tried to hop on that wagon. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work for Universal as they attempted to create a “monster” universe with a bunch of their existing characters. The end result was a reboot of The Mummy franchise with Tom Cruise as the A-list star that would have fans sprinting to theaters to see it. Instead, the franchise completely ignored any attempts at a memorable or emotional plot and simply banked on audiences wanting more and more giant franchises shoved down their throat. Needless to say, fans responded in kind, as this monster franchise was never able to recover from the failed reboot.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Call it a reboot, call it an original interpretation of the book, call it whatever you want – just please don’t pull it up for us to watch. Johnny Depp may have been at the height of his popularity in 2005 and he has several memorable acting performances that have left audiences floored, but even he wasn’t capable of saving this absolute mess. Perhaps it was the over-the-top effects or the need to cash in on childhood nostalgia, but the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a masterpiece with Gene Wilder giving a career performance and it should have just been left alone.
Superman Returns (2006)
Fans can say what they want about Zack Snyder’s failure at attempting to create the Snyderverse, but at least his movies were nowhere near as bad as 2006’s Superman Returns. After a 20-year hiatus from the big-screen, Warner Bros and DC finally felt the timing was right to bring back their largest superhero and cash in on the hype. While the movie itself wasn’t a financial failure, the plot was so boring and the movie had so few action sequences that the studio still chose to cancel a sequel despite the reboot making a decent amount of money. If you aren’t familiar with the Hollywood formula, a film has to be truly horrible for it to make money and still warrant the studio cancelling a sequel.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Another franchise where a big studio just wanted to cash in on childhood nostalgia. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hold a special place in the heart of every kid that grew up in the 80s and 90s as the unique spin of the characters being teenagers, mutant turtles, as well as having ninja abilities is something that has still never been matched. So, naturally, fans sprinted to theaters to see this reboot when Nickelodeon bought the rights to the characters. Unfortunately, the end result was a CGI abomination that took the four mutant brothers and made them all as one-dimensional as possible with no emotion behind the forgettable plot. Nostalgia was enough to make this movie a financial success, but the franchise crashed and burned when fans refused the bait of the sequel and it tanked. In case you were wondering, another reboot is already in the works.
The Karate Kid (2010)
This entire film could have been saved if the studio had just changed the damn title. While the film itself was already a completely unnecessary reboot of a beloved franchise, this rendition of The Karate Kid lacked one particular thing – karate. While the original films payed homage to karate and those who truly practice it, this reboot focused entirely on Kung Fu and did not have a single scrap of karate in it. If the film has been called The Kung Fu Kid, audiences would have accepted it more. But as it was, the laughably obvious tactic to cash in on the franchise just made the film impossible to get behind. Jackie Chan did give a stellar performance though, but still not enough to save it.
Power Rangers (2017)
Remember what we said about a studio canceling a sequel for a film that made money? This isn’t one of them. Power Rangers, just like TMNT, was a franchise adored by millions for anyone that grew up in the 90s. After countless seasons of bringing in new and exciting Power Rangers, Lionsgate felt that a movie was the perfect direction for this franchise to go in. Sadly, the creators of the film botched the process and completely ignored what made the Power Rangers so popular and instead made another CGI mess that bombed so hard at the box office that a sequel was scrapped almost immediately after the first released. Shocker, another reboot is already in the works.
Last 3 Terminator Movies (Salvation,2009/Genesis,2015/Dark Fate,2019)
A franchise that was once the pinnacle of Hollywood success now feels like the Simpsons “Stop, it’s already dead!” meme. The first two Terminator movies are still considered masterpieces to this day and while the third wasn’t exactly a stellar sequel to those, the reboots have been nothing but abysmal. Salvation, Genesis, and Dark Fate have all tried to give the Terminator franchise a fresh new spin on characters and events that audiences were already familiar with, twisting the Terminator timeline beyond recognition and (regarding Dark Fate) completely ignored the events of prior films just hoping that fans would do the same. Instead, Terminator has reached a point of no return and will likely never return to the levels of success that the first two films in the franchise achieved. Regardless of this, James Cameron stated back in December that he (once again) has plans to reboot the franchise.