Help me think of movie trilogies that then continued unnecessarily...
June 26, 2019 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Films are made into trilogies (or, Pirates of the Caribbean, made into a trilogy after the success of the first). Then studios sometimes push it further... usually poorly but sometimes they end up good. In all cases they're unnecessary, though. Can you help me think of those cases? The ones I can think of are after the fold..

The three-act structure defines most modern filmmaking. This three-act structure extends to trilogies (and perhaps Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is to blame for popularizing that idea in modern times).

So sometimes films are made in trilogies (or, Pirates of the Caribbean, made into a trilogy after the success of the first). Then studios sometimes push it further... usually poorly but sometimes they end up good.


Can you help me think of those cases? The ones I can think of are after the fold..


Here's some Part 4s that were afterthoughts and unnecessary (though some are good):

Scream 4
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Ties
The Bourne Legacy
Alien: Resurrection

Can you think of others?
posted by arniec to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Star Wars
posted by MiraK at 10:12 AM on June 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


Fast and Furious is now on installment #100 it seems
posted by seesom at 10:12 AM on June 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


I suppose it's too soon for the jury to be in, but I've heard a number of people who've seen Toy Story 4 express those feelings about it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:14 AM on June 26, 2019 [5 favorites]


Would The Hobbit movies count? Desired by most fans after the LoTR movies? Yup.

Did The Hobbit need to be a trilogy? God no.

The Terminator movies just keep tacking on sequels hoping something sticks.
posted by Snuffman at 10:18 AM on June 26, 2019 [9 favorites]


I think we can all agree that Shrek spiralled wildly out of control.
posted by phunniemee at 10:20 AM on June 26, 2019 [9 favorites]


They made at least 5 sequels to Bring It On
posted by elvissa at 10:22 AM on June 26, 2019


I wouldn't consider the first three Bring It On movies as a trilogy though. Nor any of the long-running horror movie series (Halloween, Elm Street, Friday the 13th) as those weren't trilogies that continued.
posted by acidnova at 10:27 AM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I’d say the Thin Man series of movies went on a bit too long. The first three, yes. After those...eh.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:27 AM on June 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


Jurassic Park III
posted by SeedStitch at 10:28 AM on June 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Men in Black: International
The Next Karate Kid
posted by Automocar at 10:39 AM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, all of the Sharknado movies were unnecessary, but there were six of them. Certainly they got even worse after the first three.

The Chucky series is up to eight, but the last one is a reboot.
posted by ubiquity at 10:42 AM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


It's one thing to go into a project, like the LoTR that is one story broken into 3 parts and fits the story in 3 acts structure, and quite another to talk about a movie and its 2 sequels in the same way.
Take John Wick, for example. Sure there are now 3 movies, and they may be loosely connected, but i wouldn't expect much in the way of a coherent arc across all 3 that would map onto a story in 3 acts. So i would expect a JW 4, but not care about the coherence of the story.
so many franchises just put a 2 or a 3 after the title for recognition without those stories actually being part of a "trilogy", so expecting more from a 4th just naturally doesn't add anything.

So, are you asking for instances of an actual trilogy being extended too far by a 4th installment, or just instances of there being 4 (or more) movies in a franchise? lots of the latter, few of the former that i can think of.
posted by OHenryPacey at 10:43 AM on June 26, 2019 [8 favorites]


Lethal Weapon
posted by conscious matter at 10:46 AM on June 26, 2019


The Godfather III
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:46 AM on June 26, 2019


Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts II: Proto-Nazi Boogaloo
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:06 AM on June 26, 2019 [4 favorites]


Hellraiser
posted by JohnFromGR at 11:16 AM on June 26, 2019


It's rarely justifiable at any level other than pure filthy lucre to keep shitting out sequels. You almost never get good stories unless you set OUT to do a trilogy (like Lucas did with the original Star Wars films).

But even setting out to do 3 isn't always a good idea; you need enough story to make it worthwhile (which Jackson absolutely had for LOTR, and absolute did NOT have for The Hobbit).

The "John Wick" point above is interesting, because it teases out a difference between, say, Bond films and coherent-arc films (LOTR, the original Star Wars, and longer works like Harry Potter or the MCU).

Wick seems to be, loosely speaking, between those worlds in that you can absolutely enjoy the films as stand-alone works, but they're intended to be one story (though this is, I think, a retroactive idea -- I don't think they expected to do more, did they?).

I initially parsed the question as "tell me trilogies that were supposed to be trilogies and then went on too long after that," and I don't know there are many examples of precisely that. But there are LOTS of examples of franchises that dragged on past their welcome, like Lethal Weapon (which, by my lights, is only really worth your time in the first two films).

The Godfather is a special case, because while the final film was a mess, I feel like they earned the right to finish the story based on the strength of the first two.

I'm rambling a bit here, but this also points out that I think the MCU and Harry Potter are kind of their own category here. In both cases we had massive, multifilm undertakings that were intended to span years (at least a decade) and many films, but with an identified end to the overall arc, and in both cases they've generally succeeded both critically and commercially. I think this accomplishment is materially distinct from long-running and lucrative series like Bond (which lack a single arc), and absolutely distinct from the brutal sort of fan-mining bullshit that is Star Wars today (seat-of-the-pants storytelling with no unifying arc other than "give us your money").

Did Nolan always intend his Batman films to be a trilogy, or did it just work out that way?
posted by uberchet at 1:25 PM on June 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Rocky.

Jaws.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:26 PM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


I cannot think of a single example of a series of movies that were made to form a cohesive three part story, i.e. a trilogy, where due to the success of the trilogy, the producers decided to do a number four.
posted by Fukiyama at 1:43 PM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


And to add, no, I don't count George Lucas.
posted by Fukiyama at 1:44 PM on June 26, 2019


Several recent franchises have pulled the trick of turning the third chapter into two separate films, i.e. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2, etc. It always seemed like a naked cash grab to me that left the stories feeling narratively overstuffed.

Also, not a film, but I've been feeling this hard with the Halo series of video games. It was originally a trilogy of titles with a pitch-perfect ending -- then after the original studio went on to other projects Microsoft set up a new studio exclusively for Halo games that started a whole new trilogy (or more?) that was very... eh.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:42 PM on June 26, 2019 [3 favorites]


turning the third chapter into two separate films
Divergent tried this and then they never made the fourth movie. It was probably a good idea as the quality dropped off from 1 to 2 to 3.
posted by soelo at 3:02 PM on June 26, 2019 [2 favorites]


Saw
posted by Sassyfras at 6:17 PM on June 26, 2019


Die Hard
posted by Kosmob0t at 10:30 PM on June 26, 2019 [1 favorite]


Just a data point, but Deathly Hallows was the SEVENTH book, not the third. The adaptation was the 7th and 8th film in the series.

The book's enormous. I was okay with the split.
posted by uberchet at 8:37 AM on June 27, 2019 [1 favorite]


List of feature films with four entries. You can probably find some (not so) goodies in there. One that jumps out at me is Sharpay's Fabulous Adventure, a direct-to-DVD fourth film in the High School Musical franchise. Zac Efron and all those other people had left and they were trying to carry on with the adventures of one of the side characters. Penguins of Madagascar could also be a contender.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:02 PM on June 27, 2019


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