Very Confusing Film Franchises

by nikolayyeriomin | created - 28 Jul 2018 | updated - 28 Jul 2018 | Public

Some franchises are quite straightforward with a string of direct sequels and sometimes a spin-off or two or a reboot following the original succesful movies. There are cases however, when franchises are quite hard to follow with numerous spin-offs, reboots, sequels being apocryphal or in-name-only follow-ups, original plot continuing after ignored and averted remake continuity or TV spin-offs clashing with original continuity. Of such confusing franchises which one seems the most confusing to you?

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1. Psycho (1960)

R | 109 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin

Votes: 597,524 | Gross: $32.00M

Original Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece was followed by a direct if very belated sequel Psycho II (1983) which is not based on a sequel of the original novel of the same name. After Psycho III (1986) franchise attempted to enter television with a spin-off Bates Motel (1987) which never took off as a TV series and established that Norman Bates, central figure of the franchise, died. However, another direct sequel, 1990's TV movie Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990) debunked that despite primarily being a prequel. There are also a notorious shot-for-shot remake from 1998 and a newer TV series which also uses the name "Bates Motel" and, while it is inspired by movies, it is set in its own continuity.

2. Friday the 13th (1980)

R | 95 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

22 Metascore

A group of camp counselors are stalked and murdered by an unknown assailant while trying to reopen a summer camp which was the site of a child's drowning and a grisly double murder years before.

Director: Sean S. Cunningham | Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor, Robbi Morgan

Votes: 119,050 | Gross: $39.75M

Completely unrelated to a previous horror movie known as Friday the 13th: The Orphan (1979), movie spawned numerous more or less straightworward sequels and a TV Series which, while officially a part of the franchise, never established the direct connection. Things started to get very confusing when 9th movie titled Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993) not only cast actor John D. LeMay from the TV series as a differnt character, but also never explained how main antagonist reverted from the ending of the previous movie, while also adding a supernatural angle never before established and hinting at a crossover with another slasher franchise, Nightmare on Elm Street movies. Said crossover only happened after ten years and in the meantime, 10th movie was released, which, while seemingly continuing "Jason Goes to Hell", never mentions many of the aspects and rarely explains how Jason was able to escape Hell. 2009's remake is set in its own continuity and mixes elements from most of the previous movies in the franchise.

3. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

R | 83 min | Horror

78 Metascore

Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths and must survive the terrors of Leatherface and his family.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain

Votes: 136,143 | Gross: $30.86M

Followed by a direct sequel in 1986, but the third movie Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990) never touches upon the events of sequel, instead mentioning the only surviving member of the murderous Sawyer family named W.E. Fourth movie actually has a character with such initials for a name, but has no established connection to previous sequels and ignores many things established in them. After 2003 remake and its prequel followed the alternate direct sequel of the original movie which features some of the actors from previous direct sequel. A few years later, a prequel of an original movie followed.

4. Highlander (1986)

R | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

24 Metascore

An immortal Scottish swordsman must confront the last of his immortal opponent, a murderously brutal barbarian who lusts for the fabled "Prize".

Director: Russell Mulcahy | Stars: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, Roxanne Hart

Votes: 120,901 | Gross: $5.90M

As if direct sequel wasn't enough of an oddity, after succesful TV series started in 1992 (using some of the footage from the sequel in its opening sequence despite ignoring it in overall continuity, as well as Christopher Lambert appearing as an alternate version of his character from the movies) amidst its run there were also a third movie which only fits roughly with the first two movies (and not at all with the series) and an animated series which seems to be set in an alternative continuity on its own. spin-off series as well as following movies Endgame (in which Lambert returns to a TV series variant of his character) and The Source seem to be set in the TV series continuity, but it's currently unknown where to put a 2007 anime feature.

5. The Mummy (1999)

PG-13 | 124 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

48 Metascore

At an archaeological dig in the ancient city of Hamunaptra, an American serving in the French Foreign Legion accidentally awakens a mummy who begins to wreck havoc as he searches for the reincarnation of his long-lost love.

Director: Stephen Sommers | Stars: Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, Arnold Vosloo

Votes: 387,457 | Gross: $155.25M

Already a loose remake of 1932 horror classic, franchise followed with an animated series and a direct sequel. The latter launched a spin-off franchise with The Scorpion King (2002) which had three conflicting direct-to-video sequels in 2008, 2012 and 2015, which alternate from sequel to prequel. In the meantime, main franchise had a thrid movie in 2008. A reboot released in 2017 was seemingly a new remake of 1932 movie, but features distinctive artifacts from the 1999 movie, suggesting it might be set in the same universe.

6. X-Men (2000)

PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

64 Metascore

In a world where mutants (evolved super-powered humans) exist and are discriminated against, two groups form for an inevitable clash: the supremacist Brotherhood, and the pacifist X-Men.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen

Votes: 566,725 | Gross: $157.30M

Followed by two direct sequels in 2003 and 2006, in 2008 it did it's first spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It then followed with a prequel X: First Class which featured the same version of Wolverine and yet ignored some of the moments from previous movies. Then a sequel of a spin-off came, directly continuing both 2006 movie and 2008 movies while also hinting at sequl of a prequl, 2014 time travel movie X-Men: Days of Future Past which seemingly rebooted the franchise for good, now heading into an alternate timeline, continued in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse. However, Deadpool released the same year had alternate versions of some of the characters despite being set in the same universe and Logan seemingly continued both timelines with an alternate grim future. Deapool 2 re-visits the 2008 spin-off via time travel somehow, also featuring cameos by X-Men as they will be seen in the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Additionally TV series The Gifted is set in the same universe as the movies, while Legion was initally announced to be there as well, which was since revoked despite the hints were already dropped connecting it to X-Men: Apocalypse.

7. Superman (1978)

PG | 143 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

80 Metascore

An alien orphan is sent from his dying planet to Earth, where he grows up to become his adoptive home's first and greatest superhero.

Director: Richard Donner | Stars: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brando

Votes: 157,896 | Gross: $134.22M

While only restricting ourselves with the franchise started by this movie and not other adaptations of the comics, situation is still quite odd: apart from three sequels followed in 1980, 1983 and 1987 there were also a spin-off movie Supergirl (1984), but most puzzling of all is the existance of Superman Returns (2006), which is an alternate direct sequel somehow set in 2000's despite original was in 1970's.

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