Spin-off movies, even more so than spin-off TV shows, have historically not fared well, to say the least. Here are the worst of the worst, followed by the very few that have worked … somewhat.
Spun off from: Bruce Almighty
The most expensive comedy ever made is also one of the cheapest, thanks to the broad gags – the relatively few times gags were even attempted – and the overall made-for-TV feel. And the slightly religious subplot and undertones? Just plain weird.
Spun off from: Daredevil
Jennifer Garner was the high point of this superheroine dud, but that’s not saying much. We usually expect such fare to be mindless, not brainless like Elektra (and almost earnings-less: $24 million at the box office), so it makes sense that the “franchise” ended there – and that director Rob Bowman hasn’t done too much in the world of movies since.
The Scorpion King
Spun off from: The Mummy series
How do you take a really long-haired Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – at the time making just his second appearance on the big screen – seriously as a “Warrior. Legend. King.”? You simply do not. Cannot. And that’s before even seeing the terrible movie that was The Scorpion King.
Spun off from: The Fugitive
This half spinoff/half sequel to the megahit that was 1993’s The Fugitive show’s Hollywood greed at its worst: assuming audiences will pay to see a much, much worse version of what they’ve already seen. Or: assuming audiences are dumb. Predictably, the substitutions – Wesley Snipes for Harrison Ford; director Stuart Baird for Andrew Davis; suspenseless-ness for suspense – didn’t go over too well.
Spun off from: Batman series
Halle Berry, then hot off her first Oscar and granted a veritable pick of the litter (pun intended), can’t be blamed for choosing a splashy, high-profile role that would seemingly launch the rare, necessary female-driven franchise. But, uh, maybe she should have read the script? More than once? Could’ve saved her the embarrassment of being the face of hands-down the worst spinoff ever made – and possibly one of the worst non-spinoffs ever made.
...and a few that have worked
Get Him to the Greek
Spun off from: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
It’s far from perfect (see: the overlong, underfunny ending), but graded on the spinoff scale, Get Him to the Greek is pretty darn good – the “Jeffrey”-freakout scene is actually kinda memorable – and perhaps reason enough for Hollywood to continue attempting such films.
Saturday Night Live
The vast majority (i.e., It’s Pat, A Night at the Roxbury, Stuart Saves His Family, Superstar), but it’s safe to say that we all only remember the two great ones: Blues Brothers and Wayne’s World.