Sometimes the easiest way to guarantee a story is told is to set it in a world that already exists. Studios are always on the lookout to expand established franchises, but because of the ever-evolving machinations of the film industry or perhaps the strength of a script, proposed sequels can often find their footing.
Whether it was a concept scrapped during the writing process or a film that studios tried to shoehorn into a franchise before abandoning it, a handful of films started as sequels or spinoffs before becoming projects in their own right. Though not every ccsu film was a critical , some have become franchises rivaling the ones they never became a part of.
1 ‘A Quiet Place’ (2018)
John Krasinski‘s critically acclaimed horror film was almost swept into the orbit of the Cloverfield universe. Co-writer Scott Beck said, “We were actually talking to an executive there about this film, and it felt from pitch form that there might be a crossover, but when we finally took the final script to Paramount, they saw it as a totally different movie.”
At the time, 10 Cloverfield Lane was already at Paramount, and they were looking to expand the franchise, but the script’s strength allowed writers Beck and Bryan Woods to develop A Quiet Place into its own film. John Krasinski came on to rewrite the script, eventually directing and starring in the film. It has since become its own franchise, with a sequel in 2020, and two more films in the pipeline.
2 ‘Snow Day’ (2000)
Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi were responsible for Nickelodeon’s hit show The Adventures of Pete and Peteso when Nickelodeon Movies was founded in 1995, they were the first pair to be commissioned to write a film. They wrote Snow Day as Pete and Pete: The Movie; however, after it was submitted, it was forgotten. Years later, the project was revived, but the lead actors had gotten too old to reprise their roles.
Snow Day was retooled into a new film with a younger cast. However, fans of the original series are quick to point out parallels between the characters of the film and those of The Adventures of Pete and Pete. The film stars Chevy Chase, Chris Elliott, Schuyler Fisk, and Emmanuelle Chiriqiand despite its lukewarm reception, earned a musical remake in 2022.
3 ‘Solace’ (2015)
Written in the early 2000s, Solace found a home at New Line Cinema, where executives sought to recreate the success of david Fincher‘the s Se7en. The studio bought Solace to be retooled into a sequel entitled Ei8ht, but none were too thrilled about a sequel to a seemingly perfect film. Fincher said about the project, “I would have less interest in that than I would in having cigarettes put out in my eyes.”
Without Fincher’s support, the sequel fizzled, and the film was reverted into a stand-alone project. Though Solace garnered an all-star cast with Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell, and Jeffery Dean Morganit failed to win the critics or shake its association with the ill-fated proposed sequel.
4 ‘The Hateful Eight’ (2015)
After Quentin Tarantino found his groove with Django Unchained, he wanted to use what he learned to make another western, but rather than another film, he poured himself into writing a novel titled Django in White Hell. The novel would have followed Django to a cabin with the characters from The Hateful Eighthowever, Tarantino began to realize the audience’s trust in Django was a problem for his story.
“I literally say to myself, ‘You know what’s wrong with this piece? Django.’ Django’s got to go,” Tarantino said. “This piece shouldn’t have a moral center. It shouldn’t have a hero.” He converted his novel into a screenplay and rolled the qualities of Django’s character into the Samuel L. Jackson character Major Marquis Warren. The film stars Jackson, Kurt Russelland Jennifer Jason Leigh as a few of the eponymous eight outlaws trapped together during a blizzard.
5 ‘Die Hard With A Vengeance’ (1995)
In the early ’90s, Jonathan Hansleigh wrote a spec script called Simon Says.It was offered to Brandon Lee as a sequel to his film Rapid Firebut after his untimely death on the set of The Crowit ended up in the hands of Warner Bros. The studio wanted the script rewritten to serve as Lethal Weapon 4however, Mel Gibson was not ready to make another Lethal Weapon film so soon after the third.
The script was eventually sold to Fox, who had the script retooled into Die Hard With A Vengeancewith the first half mostly intact from spec. The film was met with mixed reviews but has since become a fan favorite in the franchise.
6 ‘Speed 2: Cruise Control’ (1997)
After the massive success of Speedexecutives sought to cash in on the success by greenlighting a sequel, though none of the cast was contractually obligated to return. Fox fielded hundreds of sequel pitches but eventually pieced together a script from concepts developed and abandoned by Die Hard director and producer John McTiernan.
In a 2001 Movieline interview McTiernan said, “After we made Die Hard 3the studio used most of the material we’d developed for the other sequel and turned it into Speed 2: Cruise Control. The ocean liner going on the beach and stuff? That’s what we’d written for Die Hard“Eventually, execs abandoned the ocean liner concept because it was too similar to the film Under Siege. Speed 2 Was a box office bomb and a massive critical failure.
7 ‘Cyborg’ (1989)
In 1987, Cannon Films had moderate success with their He-Man film Masters of the Universe, based on the Mattel toy line of the same name. The studio and director Albert Pyun had started production on a sequel along with a Spider-Man film to be shot back to back. However, Mattel and Marvel canceled their deals with the studio two weeks before shooting after the studio had spent over $2 million on costumes for both features.
“I wrote a first draft of what became’Cyborg‘ over a weekend and brought in a young actor, who wanted to be a screenwriter, to do polishes,” Pyun said. The film was a modest hit for the studio, earning two sequels and a cult following.
8 ‘Minority Report’ (2002)
Based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick, Minority Report was originally optioned in 1992 as a sequel to Total Recall (also based on a short story by Dick). However, Total Recall’s studio, Carolco Pictures, couldn’t secure funding before it filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 1995. A few years later, after being redeveloped into a stand-alone project, it reached the hands of Tom Cruise and Steven Spielbergwho had been looking for a project to collaborate on.
It took five years for both Cruise and Spielberg to find time between commitments to make the film. It was a critical and box office success and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Sound Editing.
9 ‘Colombiana’ (2011)
Plans for a sequel to Leon: The Professional took place immediately following the hit film. Luc Besson wrote the script for Mathilda, which would follow Natalie Portman’s character as an adult, and planned for Portman to reprise her role. Director Olivier Megaton has said, “Ten years ago we decided to make ‘Mathilda,’ which was the ‘Professional‘ sequel, but we couldn’t do it because of the evolution of a lot of things.” One of those things was a rift with Gaumont Film Company which owned the rights to The Professional.
“When we decided to change the script and to make another movie with a revenge story like’Mathilda,’ he had to give up everything about Mathilda,” Megaton revealed. Besson and Megaton reworked the film into a standalone project that became Colombiana. The film failed to find an audience but remains the closest thing to a Leon: The Professional sequel audiences will get.
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