I'm not really a huge fan of John Carter, for various reasons, and yet I was actually ultimately hooked by the ending, which sets up the potential for sequels. Too bad the movie is a huge bomb and Disney very likely won't be moving forward with further adaptations of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series, at least for now. That's a shame coming from someone who wasn't sold on the whole first installment but thinks a franchise could improve over time. And it's a downright calamity for true fans of the film, especially those who've been into the property long before the development from page to screen was put into motion. Not that they're sitting around idly moping instead of starting a Facebook campaign titled "Take me back to Barsoom! I want John Carter to have a sequel!" (current membership: 5,158).
Can you feel their pain? I can, having been trough this before with Disney's attempt to turn Douglas Adams The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- as in the entire (then) five-book "trillogy" -- into a blockbuster success. Part of me knows how impossible it is to adequately adapt these hilariously exposition-heavy novels into movies and was unsurprised by its disappointing box office numbers. But another part of me really enjoyed what Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith were able to do with the material and wish I could see what they'd do with the rest of the story. I wonder if it's really even too late, now that seven years has gone by and much of the cast is more familiar and popular in the mainstream.
Yeah, I should continue to abandon all hope. And the same likely goes for fans of the books and initial film adaptation of the Eragon, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and The Golden Compass properties. Going back further, we can also include failed would-be franchise starters The Rocketeer, Howard the Duck and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. More recently, there were the unsuccessful reboot efforts with The Terminator, The Punisher and Street Fighter.
Obviously there have been a lot of these disappointments over the years, many of which I had forgotten about or initially failed to consider (I agree about the Jack Aubrey series, of which I was just reminded). So I took to Twitter for a Conversation Poll-like survey of the following:
"What franchise killed after one failed film do you wish could have kept going?"
Master and Commander - @mr_popcorn
Further O'Brien adaptations after Master and Commander: The Far Side Of The World - @johnneyred
The Golden Compass. Always had a soft spot for that movie, felt it was sad that story ended w/ them laying out next adventure. - @CharlesGustine
His Dark Materials (i.e. Golden Compass) - @ScottMendelson
His Dark Materials. My favorite books as a younger lad. I kind of dug Golden Compass, but needed more freedom to be itself. - @misterpatches
His Dark Materials. Though I think they'll probably try and make that happen again eventually. - @kateyrich
The Sword and the Sorcerer (1981). It even promised a sequel in the end credits! Totally trashy, sexy, thrilling fun. - @mattzollerseitz
Buckaroo Banzai tops my list. Where's that Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League movie? - @TPRCinema
Easy, Bryan Singer's Superman Returns. Now, Zach Snyder is going to butcher it worse than Burton/Cage could ever dream of. - @almostfilmcritic
Giving requisite nod to THE ROCKETEER and THE SHADOW because I clearly wish I lived in the 30s. - @MrKentAnderson
Speed Racer. Mach GoGoGo! - @jessecamp
Hitchhiker's Guide - @filmjunk
Serenity - @Count3D
Super Mario Bros. - @poritsky
Sophie's Choice - @EricDSnider
Lemony Snickett, Buckaroo Banzai, and The Golden Compass if they'd done it right. Also, Van Helsing 2 might've been stupid fun. - @DeusExCinema
I'll say Lemony Snicket, but we can probably assume there won't be another John Carter, which is a shame. - @mousterpiece
John Carter - @Kevcrain
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to join The Conversation.