No film has taken over the movie news cycle more than Batgirl in recent months, as the movie was canceled even after it had been shot, and new facts are still being revealed, such as the story having a Christmas setting. Warner Bros. has been absolutely cutthroat in its recent decision-making, as the studio has axed so many other movies and TV shows too, but it isn’t as if other studios haven’t been doing this for decades.
20th Century Fox has many fascinating canceled movies in its long history, many of which were tied to massive billion-dollar franchises. Between the follow-up to a $400 million Robin Williams comedy and canning a Zack Snyder movie set in a galaxy far far away, some of these had huge potential. Disney could possibly be to blame for many of these projects, as some were canceled after the studio acquired Fox in 2019. All box office statistics are according to Box Office Mojo.
Fantastic Four 3
In 2007, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that 20th Century Fox was developing a third Fantastic Four movie and a Silver Surfer spin-off film. It’s a shock that the franchise even got one sequel considering that the 2005 film was critically slammed and wasn’t the box office dominator that the studio hoped it’d be.
Nevertheless, any sequels or spin-offs of Rise of the Silver Surfer were canceled, and the studio even failed again when Fox attempted a dark and gritty reboot in 2015. However, the balance could soon be restored now that the rights to the characters belong to Marvel Studios, as the MCU Fantastic 4 will be the first Phase 6 movie.
Though the director’s cut is better than Daredevil‘s theatrical version, the 2003 movie received mostly negative reviews, and it only made $179 million, much less than what Fox was hoping for. And that box office result likely led to the studio canceling plans for the sequel.
Ben Affleck deserves credit for trying to bring fans a faithful portrayal of the comic book character, as, according to IESB, he only agreed to star in the sequel just so long as Fox would tell a much darker story, referring to the comic book Born Again. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but fans will get to see an adaptation of Born Again, as the 18-episode Daredevil: Born Again will be released on Disney+ next year.
While not a direct sequel, Fox was planning on expanding the X-Men series even further with the spin-off Gambit. The character first appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and was played by Taylor Kitsch, but it was a different actor who was attached to star in the movie. In 2014, Channing Tatum signed to play the mutant in a new X-Men-adjacent film.
However, after being stuck in development hell for five years, according to Collider, it wasn’t until Disney acquired the studio that it was finally officially canceled. Unfortunately, fans of the character won’t get to see him any time soon either, as the X-Men likely won’t be introduced into the MCU until Phase 7. And even then, there are a lot more popular mutants that Marvel Studios will likely be focusing on first.
Mrs. Doubtfire 2
Mrs. Doubtfire is one of the best Robin Williams movies, as it perfectly captures his greatness as a comedy actor, and his warm personality is channeled through the character too. And given that it’s one of the highest-grossing comedies of all time, it’s no surprise that Fox tried desperately to capitalize on its success with a sequel.
According to Collider, Williams stated that so many sequel scripts had been sent to him but he thought they just weren’t good enough. Fox had been trying to get the sequel off the ground from the original’s release all the way up to Williams’ death. According to People, in 2021, director Chris Columbus put to rest whether or not a sequel would be developed without Williams, noting that it’s “impossible.”
Assassin’s Creed 2
Assassin’s Creed didn’t get the best reception, as the video game movie was criticized for being dull and monotonous. But the studio completely believed in it. According to IGN, there were plans for not one but two sequels, the first of which was already in development while the 2016 film was still in production.
According to Tech Raptor, the sequel wasn’t canceled until Disney acquired the studio, but there’s an argument to be made that it was never going to see the light of day anyway. Given that Assassin’s Creed made $240 million worldwide, which certainly wasn’t enough to cover the budget and marketing costs, the sequels would have likely been in development hell forever.
Zack Snyder’s Star Wars Movie
Before Disney bought LucasFilm in 2012, 20th Century Fox had the distribution rights to the Star Wars movies and worked closely with the Lucas-led studio to develop them. And Zack Snyder was producing a film in the franchise for the studios, but it was canceled when Disney took over. Though it wasn’t a sequel, as it was a prequel that was set before the Clone Wars and the prequel trilogy, it was part of a huge franchise and it would have been fascinating to see a Snyder-directed Star Wars film.
However, according to Giantfreakinrobot, Snyder’s upcoming Rebel Moon has used a lot of that project’s concepts, so fans will get to see an altered version of that movie. And as the director has an extremely polarizing style, LucasFilm didn’t need Snyder in order to deliver the most divisive movie possible, as the studio achieved that with The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker.
Terminator 7 & 8
Before the release of Terminator: Dark Fate, the sixth movie in the Terminator franchise, according to Deadline, James Cameron announced that he had ambitious hopes for the series’ future. The producer claimed that there were plans for a new Terminator trilogy, with Dark Fate being the first of three movies.
It was a bold statement considering that there were more negatively received Terminator movies than positive ones at that point. And while Dark Fate was somewhat of a return to form, it was too little, too late, as fans had lost hope and the sequel bombed at the box office. The sequel lost up to $126 million (via The Hollywood Reporter), which quickly led to the cancelation of the two sequels.
Independence Day 3
Disaster movies might not be all that popular today. Moonfall was seemingly the final nail in the genre’s coffin, as the movie’s biggest disaster was its box office gross. However, the genre thrived in the 1990s, and Independence Day was the crown jewel of both alien invasion movies and disaster flicks, making a phenomenal $817 million (according to Variety), which was almost unheard of back then. Given its extraordinary success, it’s surprising that it took Fox 20 years to get the sequel off the ground.
But according to director Roland Emmerich (via Empire), it wasn’t going to take as long for the threequel to enter production. The director explained that he wanted to shoot the in-development sequel within a couple of years so he could keep the same group of characters and that it was going to be an “intergalactic journey.” However, Independence Day: Resurgence didn’t have the same success as the original, which is probably why the project has been stalled since Disney acquired the studio.
The struggle to get another Alien movie off the ground has been ongoing for years, and each one seemingly gets canceled in favor of another same-but-different Alien movie. Alien: Awakening was the name given to Neill Blomkamp’s project that brought back Ripley, but according to The Independent, that was canceled in favor of Ridley Scott’s next movie that followed on from Alien Covenant, which was also called Alien: Awakening.
However, unlike the other former Fox properties that Disney had completely shut down, there’s still a glimmer of hope for the Alien franchise. An Alien movie is in production that will be exclusive to Hulu (via The Hollywood Reporter), and as the universally acclaimed Prey was exclusive to Hulu, and the promising-looking Hellraiser was a Hulu exclusive too, horror movies are seemingly in safe hands with the streamer.
Die Hard is one of the most iconic action movies of all time, and though the franchise is spotty, Die Hard with a Vengeance is a genuinely great sequel that many think is even better than the original. The big appeal of the series is that a scrappy and untrained NY cop, John McClane, is thrust into these catastrophic situations totally unprepared. And the prequel, McClane, was going to explore his origin as a low-level street cop in the big apple.
Entertainment Weekly reported that it was going to be part-prequel, part-sequel, as it’d intertwine McClane in the ’70s and the character in the present day. But according to Entertainment, after Disney acquired the studio, they wasted no time in canceling it immediately. It seems like the most recent release with McClane and the last there will ever be, as Willis recently retired from acting, is the 2020 DieHard car battery commercial, in which Willis reprised his role.
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