Christopher Nolan was understandably hesitant to make a third Batman movie after the enormous success of “The Dark Knight.” Nolan may not have been able to name any great third movies of a franchise, but he’s not the only one. When a franchise gets to part 3, that’s when everything falls apart; what was once innovative is now formulaic, and everything seems to be driven by greed instead of artistic reasons. Whether or not that third movie does well at the box office, audiences are quick to voice their disapproval over the lack of quality, and they won’t ever let you forget how much they hated what you had to offer.
These are the third movies which either torpedoed their respective franchises or put a serious dent in them they never fully recovered from.
Putting this one on the list was tough because I remember seeing this when I was 8 years old and thinking it was the best “Superman” movie ever for a long time (I now stand corrected). It was also one of the few Richard Pryor movies I was allowed to see back then as most were rated R. But regardless of what you thought of it, taking the “Superman” franchise into a comedic direction did not serve it well, especially when the two movies before it were so good. Christopher Reeve and company tried to steer things in the right direction with “Superman IV: The Quest For Peace,” but Cannon Pictures ended up putting the final nail in the coffin.
Even Roy Scheider laughed at the thought of doing this “Jaws” movie. This one came out at the height of the 3D craze in the 1980s, and that became the only reason to see it in a movie theater. Those same 3D effects did not translate well to television or DVD however, and that made “Jaws 3-D” a pointless exercise in futility. Still, that didn’t keep Universal Pictures from making “Jaws The Revenge” which is seen as one of the worst movies of all time.
Beverly Hills Cop III
This was the movie which reunited Eddie Murphy and John Landis for the first time since “Coming To America.” The results, however, were dispiriting as this sequel seemed to be made with little energy or enthusiasm. Even Landis admitted that the script was lousy at best, and Murphy forgot what made Axel Foley such a memorably hilarious character. On his episode of “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” Murphy didn’t hesitate to call this sequel “atrocious.”
Now this one has grown on me some since it came out, but that was a long time coming. The production history behind “Alien 3” was troubled to say the least, and it turned out to be one of the most depressing science fiction movies ever made. 20th Century Fox made the mistake of promoting this sequel as if it was “Aliens” redux, and instead we were treated to a nihilistic experience no one could have prepared themselves for.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch
You have to give John Carpenter and the late Debra Hill credit for not wanting to give audiences the same old thing like they did with “Halloween II.” Audiences, however, were not expecting a “Halloween” movie without Michael Meyers slashing oversexed teenagers. A film about an evil toymaker selling Halloween masks to kids that are designed to eradicate their brains to where bugs and snakes come out of it was not enough to please the fans. After this, producer Moustapha Akkad went back to basics with “Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Meyers” and the series has continued on the same path since.