Category Archives: sequels

Why’d it bomb? Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass is arguably one of the most surprising box office bombs this year. While I don’t think anyone predicted that it was going to replicate the box office success of its predecessor, I don’t think anyone thought it was going to bomb just as badly (if not worse) as The Lone Ranger and John Carter.

But why did it bomb?

Here are my theories:

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Building my Movie Posters Puzzle: Creature From the Black Lagoon

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In late June I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

Up to this point in my coverage of this visual celebration of classic movies, what we’ve seen have been largely either legendarily great films, or top-notch examples of genre forms. Even something like Pillow Talk holds a significant place in the history of the romantic comedy and still stands as an excellent example of that kind of movie. Today’s entry Creature From the Black Lagoon, though plenty famous and possessing of some admirable qualities here and there is the first of a few flicks that will be part of this project which will mostly be considered memorable as just being fun.
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Rank the Oscar Winning Movies: the 1970s

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Maybe it’s because of when I was born, but to my eyes this looks like the most legendary group of Best Picture winners we’ve presented yet. There are at least three bonafide classics here, and there is very good overall quality. The Oscars gained some much-needed legitimacy in the ’70s, even if they made a couple of mistakes. They weren’t doozies. Even though fashion and television were terrible during the “Me Decade,” film in general was on an absolute hot streak. Last April, LeBlog spent an entire month celebrating all things polyester and punk, so if you enjoy looking back at these Oscar-winning movies, dig into our archives and have a nice day!

But first, rank these movies…
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Movies of 1986 Bracket Game!: The Fly vs Aliens

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In the first half of our action/sci-fi portion of this bracket we dealt with dangerous, and even deadly  situations, but today’s competitors contain some true horror elements that shocked and frightened audiences on a much deeper level. Both films were not just hits at the box office, but generally admired by critics and cinephiles, taking home a little bit of Oscar gold when awards season rolled around. The Fly won a statuette for its amazing and horrifying makeup effects, while Aliens grabbed two wins for its sound and special effects. Both films have also aged reasonably well due in part to those award-winning special effects and the genuinely emotional reactions they produce when you sit through them.

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Movies of 1986 Bracket Game!: Highlander vs Star Trek IV

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In today’s bracket game showdown, we have two movies that are parts of larger genre series. After Star Trek hung out on television for three seasons before being cancelled and then gathering a huge and devoted following mostly via reruns, it became a feature films series starting in December of 1979. It has since spawned eleven additional films and multiple spinoff television series. While there is some disagreement among fans, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is generally warmly regarded and considered one of the best Star Trek movies. Unlike with Star Trek, the Highlander series has no such confusion about which of the movies in the franchise is the best. The original film is widely regarded as the only one worth sitting through, with the second film Highlander II: The Quickening generally despised by fans. So much so, in fact, that when I was in college, “The Quickening” was a standard joke tag that we would add to any sequel we regarded as pointless or terrible in its very conception. For example- “Caddyshack 2: The Quickening,” “Rocky V: The Quickening,” “Godfather: Part III: The Quickening,” and later “Blues Brothers 2000: The Quickening.” It was the gift that kept on giving.

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Rocky Boxing Smackdown Explosion!: Lang v Dixon

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This Thanksgiving week, movie fans are being treated to the newest story from the world of fictional boxing champion Rocky “The Italian Stallion” Balboa. The film Creed will feature Michael B Jordan as Apollo Creed’s son Adonis, who is following his Father’s footsteps into the boxing ring. Apollo has already booted Adonis from our little competition here, but if you join us below the break, you can help us decide on the final member of our final four.
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Rocky Boxing Smackdown Bracket Explosion!


Bracket games have been a staple of Le Blog in the past, so when we were brainstorming something we could do based on the release of the new Rocky-inspired flick Creed, a boxing tournament starring all of your favorite pugilists from the universe of the “Italian Stallion” seemed like a natural. Now personally, I’m not that big a fan of Stallone’s signature series, but considering that a movie called Creed could have been about a truly lousy band, I figure I got off easy.

I think we all know how this will shake out in the long run, but let’s see how much fun we can have getting there.
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Franchise Killers: Conan The Destroyer


In 1982, John Milius wrote and directed a very pulpy movie about Robert E. Howard’s fantasy character, Conan the Barbarian.  Knowing that physicality was more important to his movie than actual acting ability, Milius cast athletes in the lead roles rather than actors.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the time an ex-body builder who was struggling with English.  The success of the first Conan didn’t exactly make Schwarzenegger a star, but it did crack open the door for more acting roles.  Schwarzenegger was under contract to make three pictures for producer Dino De Laurentiis, so it makes sense that a sequel would follow.  What’s the one role you know audiences will accept the Austrian body builder in?  Conan.

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Readers Rank the Harry Potter Movies


I recently ranked the Harry Potter movies from worst to first and asked you readers to pitch in with your own opinions on the matter. We had some interesting discussion in the comments section, but when it came down to it, the readers pretty much agreed with my rankings. Either that’s because I’m a really persuasive writer, or it means after careful consideration I had managed to pretty much come to the right decisions.

Let’s take a look at how the readers rank the Harry Potter movies!
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Franchise Killers: Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

Blair Witch 2

It’s hard to overstate the impact that The Blair Witch Project had when it was released in 1999.  The no-budget found-footage horror movie became an overnight sensation.  Even if no-budget found-footage horror movies where young people get lost in the woods and are menaced by rocks and twigs weren’t your thing, there was no escaping the Blair Witch phenomenon.  The image of a runny-nosed Heather Donahue speaking directly into her camera became one of the most satirized moments in cinema.  The Blair Witch was up there with The Matrix and The Sixth Sense as one of the most influential movies of the year.

It was also among the most profitable movies ever made.  With a budget of less than a million dollars, The Blair With Project grossed close to a quarter of a billion dollars worldwide.  That’s some crazy return on investment right there.  So it’s understandable at that executives at Artisan wanted a sequel right away.  The pencil pushers had a plan for a series of Blair Witch movies released every October just in time for Halloween.  There was only one problem.  Absolutely nothing about The Blair Witch Project would work a second time.

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Franchise Killers: Blade: Trinity

Wesley Snipes - Blade: Trinity - 2004

Wesley Snipes – Blade: Trinity – 2004

The original Blade came along at a time when comic book movies were deemed “too risky”.  The year before, a hat trick of comic-based failure consisting of Batman and Robin, Steel and Spawn all struck out at the box office.  Marvel movies weren’t cool yet, so the first Blade was sold as a low-budget vampire movie rather than the adaptation of a comic book.  Blade was a decent enough hit to generate two sequels and a TV series.  Writer-director David Goyer clearly had plans to carry on the Blade franchise.  In fact he seemed to be using the third Blade movie to set up a series of spin-offs.  But instead, Blade: Trinity killed the series and ended up with everyone embroiled in a bitter lawsuit.

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Worst to First: Ranking The Harry Potter Films


In keeping with the Halloween-y theme Lebeau has been fostering this month, I’ve decided to offer up another installment in the popular new “Worst to First” series. Although the Harry Potter series might initially seem to have a less obvious link to everyone’s favorite horror-themed holiday, if you take just a moment to tally its Halloween credentials you will likely be convinced that it is a pretty clear fit. In fact, I’d argue that any need to second think such a consideration only points to the unique and personal qualities J K Rowling’s world of wizards, witches, trolls, charms, hexes, and horcruxes possesses. After all, this is a series in which magical people wear pointy hats. That’s about as cartoon Halloween as you can get. Harry and friends became so famous of their own accord that they seem to exist outside of any reductionist genre.

The Harry Potter series began with the modest kids book Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone (The American release would be switched to Sorcerer’s Stone) penned by British author Rowling, but strong word of mouth and a few excellent reviews gradually transformed the bespectacled young wizard into a household name on both sides of the Atlantic. The film series was a foregone conclusion by the time the second book in the series was setting up shop in the NY Times best-sellers list. All seven books have sold more than 50 million copies and there are plenty of people out there who will do a double take if you admit that you haven’t read them yet.

So let’s get on with ranking the film versions!
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Franchise Killers: Jason X

Jason X

I grew up in the eighties when slasher movies were going through their heyday.  The king of the slashers was Jason, the hockey-masked killer of the Friday the 13th series.  It was very common back then to hear that there was a plan to make 13 movies in the series.  Even as a kid, I knew that was ridiculous.  If the movies were still making money, they wouldn’t stop at 13.  If people stopped buying tickets, they wouldn’t make it to 13.  That’s just not how things work.

As it turns out, the Friday the 13th series made it pretty dang close to the magic number.  They got as far as Jason X.

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