Sometimes, it's obvious to all concerned that they're onto an absolute winner. "This film will make Star Wars look like a flop" they cry.
"And seeing as there's definitely going to be a sequel or two, we may as well set it up nicely so that the whole thing flows properly when hordes of fans watch the trilogy in one sitting in ten years' time".
Bless their optimism, but it doesn't always work out like that. Here's ten films that were begging to be continued, but were left hanging in the wind, like a broken street sign which solemnly reads "No Chance Close (Cul de Sac)".
(Images: All Star)
SUPER MARIO BROS. (1993)
Considering Nintendo have put every spin that it is possible to have on their most bankable stars - the lovable Italian plumbers Mario and Luigi - creating a gargantuan franchise in the meantime, it must surely have been the intention to do the same with the movies. Unfortunately the tiny dual problems of shocking reviews and box office failure put paid to that idea and so, we'll never get to find out what was out there in that final scene. To be fair, we can probably cope.
It's surprising that a sequel was never made for Godzilla - true, it received something of a critical mauling, but it did well enough at the box office, which is usually all that Hollywood really cares about. It was particularly strange considering the ending had been specifically engineered to lead straight on to a second installment. Yes guys, you've definitely killed all the offspring and destroyed all the eggs. All of them. Definitely. No oversights there. Oh, no.
THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE 8TH DIMENSION! (1984)
Now this really is a salient lesson in the perils of misplaced confidence. This film was so bolshy that it told viewers to stay tuned for the next episode, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, but red faces no doubt ensued when it failed to materialise. The one and only film has become something of a cult classic, however, so maybe one day the long-awaited sequel will be made; in the meantime, fans can just enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the coolest end credit sequences ever.
THE INCREDIBLES (2004)
It is a mystery that probably only The Incredibles can solve; why has there still not been a sequel to this film? It was, as is usual for a Pixar movie, critically acclaimed, it was a huge box office success, grossing over $600m against a $92m budget, and the final scene featured a brand new villain, 'The Underminer' arriving from beneath the ground, ready for another dust-up. However, it seems that writer and director Brad Bird holds the key: he is on record as saying he'll only do another one if it "is as good or better than the original" and he feels he hasn't had the time to come up with a strong enough story yet. Fair enough Brad, we'll wait a little longer.
Okay so maybe not a huge surprise why this sequel didn't happen. It wasn't a complete box office disaster ($179 million worldwide from a $78 million budget) but legal wrangles and, okay, the fact that most people hated the first one have stalled a follow-up. Shame, as the end left the movie perfectly set up, with a stricken Bullseye showing that he has not lost his aim, and could live to fight another day.
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)
Despite a huge cult following and two versions of the final scene which both lent themselves to a sequel, nothing has been forthcoming. The original ending saw a lone alien slug survive in a dog's mouth, while the alternate one saw hordes of them survive via Cameron's body, with their parent aliens returning to earth for good measure. It's been 17 years though so we're not holding our breath; the Stereo MCs made their second album quicker than that.
THE GOLDEN COMPASS (2007)
Oh, The Golden Compass, we had such high hopes for you. The first novel in a trilogy of books by Phillip Pullman, this was slated to become a franchise to rival Lord of the Rings, but the project ground to a halt after disappointing (though not disastrous) box office returns. All of which is a shame for fans of the first movie, as producers were so sure that there'd be a followup that they didn't feel the need to put in final scenes which they felt, ironically, were somewhat controversial and so might scupper the next two films, leading to a rather abrupt ending. Bizarrely they made it into the video game adaptation, so at least there was some closure.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (1987)
Possibly the most pure of the examples on this list. "I'll be back" croaks Skeletor, like an anorexic Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not with box office takings like that you won't boneface.
Clip in comedy German accent below, in English here.
MAC AND ME (1988)
Why do they do it? Why? The end scene featured our "heroes" driving away in a pink cadillac as a cartoon speech bubble cheerily proclaimed "We'll be back!". Unfortunately, abysmal reviews, terrible ticket sales and heavy criticism that the film was a poorly-disguised rip-off of E.T. meant that that cadillac kept riding off into the distance forever.
STAY ALIVE (2006)
An earnest, albeit slightly hair-brained attempt to create an American spin on The Ring, this horror saw teens playing an evil video game ("you die in the game, you die for real"). The end scene saw an unwitting video game store employee inserts the game and start the sequence again; prime fodder to lead on to recurring installments of the franchise. Unfortunately for Stay Alive, they only got one life, there was no restart button, it really was game over after this and we've run out of gaming metaphors now.