Despite the enormous success
of Fifty Shades of Grey
, director Sam Taylor-Johnson has announced that she is pulling out of the planned trilogy prior to the second instalment. Taylor-Johnson has said she hopes “nothing but success to whosoever takes on the exciting challenges of films two and three.” However, it is now widely known that tensions ran high between the director and the author of the Fifty Shades
books, E.L. James, during filming.
Taylor-Johnson spoke with Vanity Fair
in February, 2015 about the clashes on set, stating, “We battled all the way through — she’d say the same. There were tough times and revelatory times. There were sparring contests. It was definitely not an easy process.”
Yikes. Perhaps there are just some ideas that should not be brought to life from the page, at least not for such a long-term investment like with this franchise. But it looks like there’s no stopping this leather-clad train, as Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are locked down for the next two instalments.
The controversy made us contemplate some other high profile franchises and we reflected on a few that may have been better off getting the red light and a some we are sooo glad didn’t.
Whence the BDSM monster came! As we’re all well aware, the Fifty Shades
novels began as fan fiction for Stephanie Myers’ Twilight
series. Let’s hope they aim a little higher overall as the Twilight
films, despite great commercial success, were mind-numbingly dreadful. We can already draw one painfully annoying comparison and it revolves around the lead actresses mouths (not like that, get your mind out of the erotic novel!). If Anastasia Steel does not stop biting her chapped lips in the next films, like Bella Swan and her open-mouthed stare, we’re going to have to stage a Blistex-in-hand protest.
Marc Savlov, for The Austin Chronicle
, may have nailed it
with the following review for the first installment in the series: “I’ve had mosquito bites that were more passionate than this undead, unrequited, and altogether unfun pseudo-romantic riff on Romeo and Juliet.” As Bella probably said to Edward at some point when he finally bit her already…ouch.
Hey Michael Bay, did you know that a movie can be smart and/or funny in addition to having massive explosions? Clearly, you do not, or you do and you just don’t give an autobot … as the last four Transformers
movies have shown us.
franchise is yet another money guzzling blockbuster despite it’s generally poor critical reception. The late, great Roger Ebert said of the second film in the franchise
, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
, “If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.”
The experience was so dismal in Ebert’s eyes that it even inspired the title
of his third collection of reviews he really hated, A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length
. Brutal, but at least something clever came out of it all.
It’s truly a tragedy that Ebert will not be around to come up with such biting, yet accurate words for the next chapter in the series, Transformers 5
, which is confirmed for release
on n June 24, 2016.
The most resilient franchise in this list, Star Wars may have had both ups
but it’s been an undeniable commercial and
critical successful overall.
From its humble beginnings with Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
, released in 1977, the franchise only continued to gain excitement from audiences and nearly universal critical acclaim. While episodes I and II led the franchise astray temporarily, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
, brought many critics back to director and creator, George Lucas’ side. This writer must admit to getting a little teary eyed when certain Darth Vaders met their already known fate.
Time magazine reviewer, Richard Corliss, said of Episode III
, “A grave and vigorous popular entertainment, a picture that regains and sustains the filmic Force [Lucas] dreamed up a long time ago, in a movie industry that seems far, far away.”
Oh boy, tearing up again. Let’s hope the franchise can keep up or maybe surpass those heights, considering J.J. Abrams will be directing, with its newest installment, Star Wars: Episode VII
, due out December, 2015.
Bringing it back around to those books on film franchises, we’ll end on a high note with the Harry Potter
series. Based on the seven wonderfully creative books by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter
was a vast undertaking for filmmakers, but they didn’t crumble under the pressure.
Reception of every film was consistently good, with not one chapter receiving a critics rating of less than 78% on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences around the world also praised the franchise and rewarded it with record box office sales
to the tune of $7.7 billion in global sales for the series.
Perhaps it simply comes down to story. The story of Harry Potter and his magical world is original without being ridiculous, interesting without being too complicated and heartfelt without being cheesy. And luckily for all us, these qualities came through in the films as well.