1. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Without the presence of star Keanu Reeves, Speed 2: Cruise Control, which swapped the original film's bus for a boat was, ahem, dead in the water, with co-star Jason Patric deemed a poor replacement. At the time people joked that the reason Reeves turned down the movie was that he'd read the script, but that is exactly what happened. Speaking about the decision years later, Reeves said, "I loved working with Jan de Bont and Sandra [but] I read the script and I was like, 'Ugggghhh’... I love you guys but I just can’t do it'". Fortunately, the movie didn't do co-star Sandra Bullock's career any harm, but it proved a bona fide franchise killer for the Speed movies.
2. Hannibal (2001)
When the long-awaited sequel to 1991's Oscar winner The Silence of the Lambs was announced, it was widely expected that Jodie Foster would reprise her role as FBI Agent Clarice Starling, alongside Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter. However, having read the book, Foster wisely declined, objecting to the fact that Clarice joins flesh-eating forces with her psychopathic rival Lecter. She told The Guardian, “That's a no-go. People believed in Clarice's heroism and I don't want to betray her.... I have a real deep connection to Clarice and know her the way I know my sister and my brother." Julianne Moore eventually replaced her and the film was a critical flop.
3. Predator 2 (1990)
After an alleged salary dispute, Predator star Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to participate in the sequel, forcing producers to come up with an alternate storyline. They settled on cop Danny Glover indulging in a deadly game of cat and mouse with the alien on the streets of Los Angeles. The film received negative reviews and was considered a commercial flop at the time, but it has since garnered something of a cult following. Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger has yet to return to the Predator franchise, which seems odd considering some of his other sequel-related career choices. (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, anyone?)
4. Evan Almighty (2007)
Bruce Almighty star Jim Carrey allegedly has a fairly rigidly enforced 'No sequels' rule, so he declined to be a part the Bruce Almighty follow-up, leading the producers to fashion the film around Steve Carell's character Evan from the first movie (to be fair, Evan Almighty is actually a better joke). At the time, co-star Morgan Freeman was on record as saying he'd only do the sequel if Carrey reprised his role, but something must have changed his mind, or maybe he just didn't like the idea of anyone else playing God other than him.
5. 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)
Given the phenomenal success of the Fast and Furious franchise (from the first movie onwards), it seems particularly bizarre that star Vin Diesel turned down the 2003 sequel. Reputedly offered $20 million for the part, Vin walked away from the project claiming that the script wasn't any good and he wanted to do The Chronicles of Riddick instead (stop laughing at the back there). Diesel later atoned for his acknowledged mistake by directing and starring in Los Bandoleros, a short film that explains his character's absence from the second movie.
6. The Huntsman: Winter's War (2016)
The idea that you could make a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) without Snow White is frankly baffling, particularly when star Kristen Stewart was widely considered to be the draw of the original film in the first place. In an interview with Variety, Stewart was pretty candid about her absence, saying, “I read a few scripts. None of them were good. None of them were greenlight-able. And I had a meeting with Universal about the places where the story could go. Maybe Chris [Hemsworth] was more into it. I actually don’t know.”
The Huntsman: Winter's War is available now on Virgin Movies
7. Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights (2004)
The original Dirty Dancing (1987) became a genuine pop culture phenomenon, spawning both catchphrases (“Nobody puts Baby in the corner”) and instantly iconic dance moves. So fans were understandably upset when the sequel completely ignored the original film (and stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey) and instead opted for a rehash of the plot with the setting transposed to Cuba on the eve of the Cuban Revolution. The film was a critical and commercial disaster, with star Romola Garai citing her negative experience on the movie as one of the reasons she declined to pursue a Hollywood career.
8. xXx: State of the Union (2005)
Vin Diesel appears to have made something of a habit of walking away from lucrative franchises in the early noughties. In the case of the sequel to 2002's action thriller XXX, Diesel's decision seems likely to have been motivated by the fact that director Rob Cohen (who, coincidentally, also directed The Fast and the Furious and, like Diesel, turned down the sequel) refused to return for xXx: State of the Union. The sequel eventually went ahead with star Ice Cube replacing Diesel, but the pair are teaming up for the upcoming third instalment in the franchise, xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
9. Son of the Mask (2005)
In 1995, after his experience of making Ace Ventura 2, Jim Carrey claimed that he was no longer interested in returning to characters he'd already played and pulled out of the proposed sequel to The Mask (1994). The film eventually went ahead, eleven years later, with Jamie Kennedy replacing Carrey and director Lawrence Guterman filling in for Chuck Russell. The result was widely derided (it has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Allegedly, Kennedy later claimed the entire thing was an elaborate practical joke for his TV prank show The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, which, if true, would be absolute genius.
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