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Some movie characters, such as the Minions from Despicable Me, capture the imaginations of movie-goers so much that there is a huge demand for a spin-off movie. Spinning-off from a beloved movie franchise is a bold move, and one that’s fraught with peril. Some of these movies are hugely successful, while others are mere pale imitations. Let’s take a look at how some of the most infamous spin-off movies fared.
Get Him to the Greek
When Forgetting Sarah Marshall was released in 2010, critics and audiences alike were surprised to find a thoughtful, laugh-out-loud funny romantic comedy that appealed to both sexes. With a box-office gross in excess of $100m (£65m), a follow-up was inevitable and Russell Brand’s scene-stealing performance as destructive, egotistical rock star Aldous Snow was deemed ripe for a spin-off. Fortunately, lightning struck twice: the story of Jonah Hill’s bumbling record company exec trying to chaperone off-the-rails Aldous Snow to his comeback gig at the Greek Theatre in LA proved to be wildly entertaining, featuring rectal heroin smuggling, a Vegas drug trip and cunnilingus with Peggy from Mad Men. A gem.
Bruce Almighty was an amusing distraction, but no-one was chomping at the bit to see a sequel starring Steve Carell as a modern day Noah, complete with handmade ark and CGI animals. My personal beef with the movie? The scene where Evan’s kids are CUT UP over their Dad missing a hiking trip with them. What kind of teens would actually care? Audiences didn’t seem to either: the film was a dud at the box-office and received universally bad reviews.
Right now it seems like a well-placed lampshade would get its own spin-off if it featured in a comic book movie. But way back in 2009, X-Men producers decided that after three successful movies, it was time to focus solely on one of the franchise’s most interesting characters. Neatly avoiding the potential trap of producing yet another sequel, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a prequel which looked at exactly how Wolverine came to have that darned adamantium skeleton grafted onto his own. It helped that Hugh Jackman had the acting chops to pull it off, and the film was a box-office smash. Luckily, this spin-off spawned its own franchise, with follow-up The Wolverine released in 2013 and another sequel due to begin filming next year.
The best scene in this miscast and badly executed Batman spin-off is the unintentionally hilarious sequence in which Catwoman gets an erotic thrill from some catnip. It’s all downhill from there, but what’s really worth checking out is Halle Berry’s appearence at the Razzies to accept the award for Worst Actress for the film. Quoth Halle “I want to thank Warner Brothers for casting me in this piece of shit”.
Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte
Half a century ago, sequels were rare and franchises were few and far between. But the surprise success of 1962’s ‘What Ever Happened To Baby Jane?’ proved that thinking outside of the box led to box-office success. When the aging divas and bitter rivals Bette Davis and Joan Crawford signed on to this low-budget thriller in 1962, no-one expected it to be a mega-hit. But the macabre tale of former child star Baby Jane Hudson torturing her crippled sister in a crumbling Hollywood mansion proved to be a hit with audiences, giving birth to the ‘biddy horror’ micro-genre. The follow-up ‘Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte’ reunited the same cast and crew for a jacked-up southern gothic tale with a bigger budget and more schlock. Despite a cursed production in which animosity between the two stars reached boiling point, resulting in the departure of Crawford and her replacement with Olivia DeHavilland, the follw-up did brisk business at the box-office and the movie was also nominated for seven Oscars.
Cineworld showcase all the biggest and best films in the UK. Find screenings of Minions plus all of this week’s newest releases over at the Cineworld website.