10 Movies That Set Up Nonexistent Sequels

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YouTube

Hollywood is the place of big dreams, but sometimes those dreams are too big—as in, “Oh crap, I thought I was directing a movie that would definitely get a sequel, only it turns out no one wanted to see this one.” Here are 10 such would-be franchise-starters that flew too close to the sun.

1. THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION (1984)

The end credits of cult favorite The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, a campy, bonkers homage to pulp sci-fi serials, famously promised a sequel. It’s now more than 30 years later, and Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League is nowhere to be found. “If the movie had gone out to make a fortune, we would have done it,” director W.D. Richter told Moviefone in 2011. But by now, “the paper trail for the rights is almost impossible to follow … PolyGram sold it to MGM as a big bundle—all these films move around.”

On top of that, Richter said late producer David Begelman “was a notorious double dealer,” who might have made deals that no one knows about; even if someone is “enthusiastic about doing a sequel, they'll say, ‘our legal department is saying we don't have a clear chain of title here, so we're not going to stick our heads up, invest money, and then discover that some guy says, ‘Oh, by the way, I have all the international rights.’” Still, Richter has not given up hope, noting that “Technically, we have not violated our promise to the audience. We try to keep the franchise and the brand alive, anyway, because we never know when somebody is going to say, ‘Yeah, make something else.’”

2. MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (1987)

In the days before Iron Man, post-credit scenes weren’t nearly as ubiquitous as they are today. Still, Masters of the Universe snuck one in back in 1987. In it, Skeletor (a facial prosthetics-laden Frank Langella), having been vanquished by He-Man (Dolph Lundgren), emerges from the pit into which he presumably fell to his doom and gleefully announces “I’ll be back!” He was supposed to be: Cannon Films fully intended to make a low-budget sequel to Masters of the Universe, but their licensing check to rights-holder Mattel bounced and, well, that was the end of that. The sets and costumes Cannon had already built were integrated into a different film, the Jean-Claude Van Damme-starring Cyborg (1989).

3. MAC AND ME (1988)

Mac and Me

, best known to some as the movie Paul Rudd keeps trolling Conan O’Brien with, ends with the cute/terrifying (mostly terrifying) alien Mac blowing a gum bubble with the words “We’ll be back!” on it. He never was. Critics hated Mac and Me, specifically its overt product placement. (Peter Travers described it as “A blatant commercial for McDonald’s and Coca-Cola disguised as an E.T. ripoff.”) It earned only $6.4 million worldwide and was nominated for four Razzies, two of which (Worst Director and Worst New Star) it “won.”

4. SUPER MARIO BROS. (1993)

Super Mario Bros.

wraps up everything quite nicely—King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) defeated, Daisy (Samantha Mathis) reunited with her newly non-fungoid royal father in Dinohattan, Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi (John Leguizamo) returned to their normal life back in New York—until, in the film’s final seconds, a weapon-toting Daisy busts into the brothers’ apartment and tells them, “You gotta come with me! I need your help … You’re never gonna believe this.” And … scene. The film was a famous disaster (and Hoskins’s biggest regret), so we never found out what, exactly, Daisy had gotten herself into until 2013, when fans Steven Applebaum and Ryan Hoss collaborated with one of the film’s screenwriters on an unofficial webcomic sequel.

5. GODZILLA (1998)

Roland Emmerich’s critically maligned version of Godzilla ends with ‘zilla dead, our heroes (played by Matthew Broderick and Maria Pitillo) reunited, and New York saved … plus one of Godzilla’s eggs, thought to all be destroyed when Madison Square Garden was bombed, hatching all by its lonesome. Presumably someone came along and stepped on Baby Godzilla before it got big enough to cause trouble, because a sequel never happened and the world stayed safe from big green monsters until director Gareth Edwards’s 2014 reboot.

6. ERAGON (2006)

The movie world is filled with teen and YA franchises that someone, somewhere thought would be a good idea, only for them to crash and burn after one movie. The Golden Compass (see below). Beautiful Creatures. Vampire Academy. The Last Airbender. I Am Number Four. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Some of these manage to tell a complete story, whereas others end on an epic cliffhanger fated to never be resolved. A particularly egregious example of this latter type is Stefen Fangmeier’s Eragon, a fantasy movie about a young boy who discovers he’s a “dragon rider.” With a little help from his friends, dragon and non-dragon alike, Eragon (Ed Speleers) defeats the evil sorcerer Durza (Robert Carlyle). This angers Durza’s boss, Galbatorix (John Malkovich), a despotic king who’s about to enter into a large-scale war against Eragon’s elfin allies. It’s revealed that Galbatorix has a scary-looking dragon of his very own, and then … the movie ends. Though it made a fair amount of money internationally, Eragon wasn’t successful enough for Fox to commit to a sequel; viewers who want to find out how it ends will just have to read the rest of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle.

7. THE GOLDEN COMPASS (2007)

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Fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy were shocked when the film adaptation of the first book in the series, The Golden Compass, lopped off the last few chapters of its source material. In the movie, young heroine Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards) and her companions set off to find Lyra’s father, Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig). In the book, Lyra finds her father only to witness him murder her best friend as part of his investigation into the mysterious particle known as “Dust.” In the final pages, she follows her father through a portal into another dimension.

The film’s director, Chris Weitz, later explained his decision to move this sequence (which was shot but cut out) to the beginning of the second movie: “My job is to make sure that all of Pullman’s story will be told, not to flame out gloriously with one film. The juncture at which to leave audiences hoping for more was before Lyra sets off to find Asriel. She has fulfilled the initial reason for her journey (to save her friend Roger), but there is a further tangible aim for her … [D]ifficult to handle/difficult to swallow material, which is to say dark material (no pun intended) can work perfectly well in the second film of a trilogy (cf. The Empire Strikes Back).” Ironically, given that “all of Pullman’s story” statement, The Golden Compass was reviled by critics and fans alike, and plans for a sequel were scrapped despite a fairly successful international run.        

8. THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)

The Incredible Hulk

kind of did get a follow-up and kind of didn’t. It’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in which The Hulk is obviously still kicking around, though there’s been no movement in terms of another standalone film. William Hurt, who played General Ross, was even brought back for a supporting role in this summer’s Captain America: Civil War. But it’s pretty clear that The Incredible Hulk intended to set certain wheels in motion that never actually started spinning. Chief among them: In the comics, Samuel Sterns, the character played by Tim Blake Nelson, eventually becomes The Leader, a hyper-intelligent nemesis of Bruce Banner/The Hulk. In the movie, Sterns is infected by Banner’s blood, and his head starts to mutate; Nelson has confirmed that he was supposed to be The Leader in subsequent films. But the MCU’s Hulk went in a different direction, with a different actor (from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo) and a different way of joining the Avengers than what The Incredible Hulk’s post-credits scene initially set up. And nary a peep from Sterns, whom your casual Marvel moviegoer probably doesn’t even remember exists. It’s not going too far out on a limb to say this particular dangling thread will likely never be woven back into the whole.

9. GREEN LANTERN (2011)

Midway through the Green Lantern credits, Sinestro, the mentor of hero Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), gets himself a new bauble in the form of a yellow power ring. It’s a sequence that was meant to act as “a nod to where the trilogy was intending to head to,” said Sinestro actor Mark Strong—namely, the comic book story arc where Sinestro goes evil and creates a sort of bizarro version of the peacekeeping Green Lantern Corps. But the critically despised Green Lantern tanked, barely earning back its $200 million production budget (and that’s not even taking into account all the money it spent on marketing). Movies two and three never happened, with Warner Bros. instead opting to reboot the property with 2020’s Green Lantern Corps. For Strong’s part, he says that “the putting on of the ring and the whole suit turning yellow would have been great fun.”

10. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (2014)

Over the course of two Spider-Movies, director Marc Webb teased audiences with hints that Peter Parker’s father, who supposedly died in a plane crash when Parker (Andrew Garfield) was a boy, was alive after all. The mysterious Man in the Shadows (later revealed to be criminal mastermind Gustav Fiers, a.k.a. The Gentleman) asked villain The Lizard (Rhys Ifans) if he told Parker “the truth about his father” in The Amazing Spider-Man’s mid-credit sequence, while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 actually had a deleted scene where Parker meets his pops. That was it for Papa Parker’s screentime, though, as a deal between Sony and Disney integrated Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with younger actor Tom Holland stepping into Garfield’s tights.

Chris Cooper, who played Harry Osborn’s father Norman in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, has since spoken out about the “huge role” he would have had in the third movie, had it been made. It involves his head in a box.

Amazon's Best Black Friday Deals: Tech, Video Games, Kitchen Appliances, Clothing, and More

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Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Black Friday is finally here, and Amazon is offering great deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40)

- Keurig K-Cafe Special Edition; $190 (save $30)

- Ninja OS301 Foodi 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer; $125 (save $75)

- Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville; $120 (save $60)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75)

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $80 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10)

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $16 (save $11)

- HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

- Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31)

- TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

- Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

- Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30)

Video games

Sony

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening; $40 (save $20)

- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity; $50 (save $10)

- Marvel's Avengers; $25 (save $33)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

- BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

- The Sims 4; $24 (save $20)

- God of Warfor PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

- Days Gonefor PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

- Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250)

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $335 (save $64)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $120 (save $79)

- Seneo Wireless Charger, 3 in 1 Wireless Charging Station; $16 (save $10)

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

- DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

Headphones and speakers

Beats/Amazon

- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones; $120 (Save $80)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones; $175 (save $75)

- JBL Boombox; $280 (save $120)

Movies and TV

HBO/Amazon

- Game of Thrones: The Complete Series; $115 (save $89)

- Jurassic World 5-Movie Set; $23 (save $37)

- Deadwood: The Complete Series; $42 (save $28)

- Back to the Future Trilogy; $15 (save $21)

Toys and Games

Amazon

- Awkward Family Photos Greatest Hits; $15 (save $10)

- Exploding Kittens Card Game; $10 (save $10)

- Cards Against Humanity: Hidden Gems Bundle; $14 (save $5)

- LOL Surprise OMG Remix Pop B.B. Fashion Doll; $29 (save $6)

- LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle 92177 Expert Building Kit; $56 (save $14)

Furniture

Casper/Amazon

- Casper Sleep Element Queen Mattress; $476 (save $119)

- ZINUS Alexis Deluxe Wood Platform Bed Frame; $135 (save $24)

- ROMOON Dresser Organizer with 5 Drawers; $59 (save $11) 

- AmazonBasics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains; $26 (save $5)

- Writing Desk by Caffoz; $119 (save $21)

- SPACE Seating Office Support Managers Chair; $112 (save $116)

- Rivet Globe Stick Table Lamp; $53 (save $17)

- Christopher Knight Home Merel Mid-Century Modern Club Chair; $188 (save $10)

- Walker Edison Furniture Industrial Rectangular Coffee Table; $121 (save $48)

Beauty

Haus/Amazon

- MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light; $21 (save $12) 

- Cliganic USDA Organic Lip Balms Set of Six; $6 (save $4)

- HAUS LABORATORIES By Lady Gaga: LE RIOT LIP GLOSS; $7 (save $11)

- Native Deodorant for Men and Women Set of Three; $25 (save $11) 

- BAIMEI Rose Quartz Jade Roller & Gua Sha; $14 (save $3)

- Honest Beauty Clearing Night Serum with Pure Retinol and Salicylic Acid; $20 (save $8)

- WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Hair Conditioner Set; $30 (save $5) 

- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser; $15 (save $5)

- wet n wild Bretman Rock Shadow Palette; $9 (save $6)

- EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Face Sunscreen Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid; $25 (save $6)

Clothes

Ganni/Amazon

- Ganni Women's Crispy Jacquard Dress; $200 (save $86) 

- The Drop Women's Maya Silky Slip Skirt; $36 (save $9)

- Steve Madden Women's Editor Boot; $80 (save $30)

- adidas Women's Roguera Cross Trainer; $40 (save $25)

- Line & Dot Women's Elizabeth Sweater; $74 (save $18)

- Levi's Men's Sherpa Trucker Jacket; $57 (save $41)

- Adidas Men's Essentials 3-Stripes Tapered Training Joggers Sweatpants; $28 (save $12)

- Timex Men's Weekender XL 43mm Watch; $32 (save $20)

- Ray-Ban Unisex-Adult Hexagonal Flat Lenses Sunglasses; $108 (save $46) 

- Reebok Men's Flashfilm Train Cross Trainer; $64 (save $16)

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25 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in December

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ivanastar/iStock via Getty Images

Whether you're a holiday fanatic who wants even more to celebrate, or a Scrooge with a burning desire to buck tradition, we've got plenty of offbeat observances to put on your calendar.

1. December 1: Giving Tuesday

After indulging on Thanksgiving, and shopping on Friday, Monday, and probably the whole weekend in between, Giving Tuesday—which occurs annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving—encourages people to engage in charitable activities.

2. December 4: National Cookie Day

ThitareeSarmkasat/iStock via Getty Images

December isn’t exactly lacking in opportunities to indulge in sweet treats, but today it’s your offbeat-holiday-given right to mix, bake, and/or eat as many cookies as you can handle.

3. December 5: Bathtub Party Day

There's a lot to be done between now and the end of the year. Take a minute to breathe, relax, and take in a soak.

4. December 5: International Ninja Day

The official website of Ninja Day alleges this holiday not only honors all things stealth and nunchucks, but also combats the more nautical offbeat holiday Talk Like a Pirate Day, which takes place in September. Creep, sneak, or redirect all of your URLs to Ninja activity—as long as you forgo the “arrrr matey’s” and eye patches for ominous silence and masks, you’re correctly celebrating this international holiday.

5. December 6: National Pawnbrokers Day

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If you thought good ol' St. Nicholas was the patron saint of reindeer and stockings, think again: The actual Nikolaos of Myra was the patron of things like the falsely accused and pawnbrokers, and on this day we acknowledge the latter.

6. December 9: Weary Willie Day

Professional clown Emmett Kelly created one of the more memorable clown characters of the 20th century: “Weary Willie.” Unlike many of his clown predecessors, Weary Willie opted out of white face paint and broad slapstick for the “tramp” look popular among Depression-era derelicts. One of his signature routines involved attempting to sweep up after circus acts, and failing in spite of himself—to the delight and empathy of the audience.

7. December 10: Jane Addams Day

December 10 is the day that the Nobel Prize Award Ceremonies have been held every year since 1901. Consequently, there are a lot of firsts that fall on this date, like the first American woman to be honored. That would be Jane Addams, founder of our current social work industry and prominent women's suffrage leader. On the anniversary of that award, given in 1931, we remember her life and work.

8. December 11: Official Lost And Found Day

Visit a thrift store, see if you can find that book you’ve misplaced, or invest in a memory-boosting regime so you’ll be losing things less frequently.

9. December 12: Poinsettia Day

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This day doesn't just celebrate the festive flower—it also marks the death of its namesake, Joel Roberts Poinsett. The botanist (and first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico) brought clippings of Euphorbia pulcherrima back to the States from southern Mexico, and grew the plant at his South Carolina home.

10. December 12: Gingerbread Decorating Day

Whether you’re a craftsman or an eater, today is the day for you.

11. December 13: National Day Of The Horse

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In 2004, the Senate signed legislation to officially make the second Saturday of December the National Day of the Horse. We really shouldn’t have to explain the reason horses need to be celebrated—just look at them!

12. December 13: National Cocoa Day

The weather outside is starting to get frightful, but what better cure for the temperature blues than a nice cup of hot cocoa? A down coat or a wool hat simply can’t compete in the taste department.

13. December 14: Monkey Day

Michael Warren/iStock via Getty Images

Officially, Monkey Day is an “annual celebration of all things simian, a festival of primates, a chance to scream like a monkey and throw feces at whomever you choose.” The origins of the holiday are unknown, though it has been observed since at least 2003.

14. December 15: Cat Herders Day

Technically this day is for all those who work jobs that could be described as like trying to herd cats, but it’s also probably acceptable to celebrate by trying to wrangle a cute feline.

15. December 16: Barbie And Barney Backlash Day

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Doesn’t seem like a coincidence that this holiday occurs in December: It’s the one day a year when you can tell your kids that Barbie and Barney don’t exist.

16. December 17: Wright Brothers Day

Made an official holiday in 1963 by Presidential Proclamation, this holiday marks the day in 1903 when Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved the first ever successful (documented) controlled airplane flight near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

17. December 18: Underdog Day

Observed annually on the third Friday of December since 1976, this is a reminder to honor the little guy. We’re always rooting for them, but there’s a holiday to celebrate, too.

18. December 21: Humbug Day

Michael Burrell/iStock via Getty Images

Get out all your bahs and scowls and growls now: no one will tolerate them come Christmas.

19. December 21: Phileas Fogg Win A Wager Day

In Jules Verne's 1873 classic novel Around the World in 80 Days, Phileas Fogg bets that he can travel the entire globe, between 8:45 p.m. on October 2, and 8:45 p.m. on December 21. Keep an eye out for him on this day.

20. December 22: Forefathers’ Day

On December 21, 1620 (it was a Monday) the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and since that basically kick-started our country's history since then, we celebrate it.

21. December 23: Festivus!

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For those who shy away from the more traditional December holidays, there’s always Festivus for the rest of us. Created by a Seinfeld writer's father and popularized by Frank Costanza, this secular holiday that involves gathering around an aluminum pole and airing your grievances has continued to gain a following since its introduction in 1997. If you haven’t seen the episode, there’s an entire website that spells out how to celebrate Festivus from start to finish. (Test your Festivus knowledge with this quiz.)

22. December 25: A’phabet Day

A pun on noel, this offbeat ce'ebration is designed to high'ight the arbitrary nature of many of the year's si''ier ho'idays. Whi'e you're unwrapping presents and eating your Christmas feast, 'eave a'' the Ls out of written and spoken communication for a festive activity that wi'' sure'y infuriate your 'oved ones.

23. December 26: National Whiners Day

Get it all out, whiners. Today is your day.

24. December 29: Tick Tock Day

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In case you needed another reminder of the inevitable passage of time and/or an occasion to reevaluate how those 2019 resolutions are going!

25. December 31: Make Up Your Mind Day

Tomorrow’s a new year! Time to fight that indecisiveness and make a decision—maybe even a resolution, if you will.