Can franchises be restarted?
Restarted, rebooted, remade, reimagined. Whatever you like to say the question is can franchises that have already had their shot really be restarted?
We've seen number of franchises revisited this year with Die Hard, Rocky and Rambo, but these have really been a continuation albeit with a fair passage of time.
Now though we're seeing one of the biggest truly being restarted, Star Trek. Can it really be a success?
Now I'm not talking about the individual film, in the cases I've already mentioned of Die Hard (Filmstalker review), Rocky (Filmstalker review) and Rambo they've been successful. No I'm wondering about the entire franchise and if a new film could spark of a new group of sequels.
If one studio has its way we may well be seeing Rocky and Rambo attempting it, but at the moment the films have been pretty strong end pieces for the characters.
As far as I can see, despite the talk around Rambo, Mad Max, Back to the Future and The Karate Kid, there aren't any serious attempts to restart a franchise other than Star Trek, and again, these could all be individual films.
So can a franchise really be restarted? We've seen it work with Batman Begins (Filmstalker review) and possibly Superman Returns (Filmstalker review) so the answer really has to be yes, but why did they work so well?
Is it because they have such a strong fan base outwith the films and so can last through any disastrous outings in the series? That would certainly hold true for Star Trek as well.
Is that all it takes though? Interestingly in Batman there was a real return to roots for the character and a huge attempt to ground the story in reality. With Superman there was an attempt to capture the essence of the original films, but not so much a strong reworking and reimagining of the characters involved.
So did Batman work particularly well because of that return to the roots and ignoring the past episodes and previous character developments?
Is this where Superman didn't do so well? What tact will The Incredible Hulk take I wonder and will it manage to revitalise the character and the franchise?
Looking at the efforts to date it doesn't really seem as though franchises can be restarted very easily, sure Batman and Superman did it but are they just flukes and aided by the superhero fans? Can any franchise be restarted, or does it just work with franchises that carry a huge fanbase already?