The entire film industry is built on imagination. And, you know, money, political favors, tremendous amounts of cocaine, etc. -- but it all starts with imagination. Unfortunately, sometimes the creative brains behind Hollywood use that prodigious imagination to come up with films seemingly designed to piss us off. Hence awful upcoming movie trends like ... 

Get Ready For A Million Movies Based On Toys

 

When we heard about the upcoming Barbie movie starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, the main question in everyone's mind was, "Okay, but will they have genitals?" -- not "But how will this fit into the Mattel Films Cinematic Universe?" Because, yeah, Mattel has at least 13 films in production, including Hot Wheels at J.J. Abrams' production company, Chatty Cathy and Betty Wetsy at Jason Bateman's, Magic 8 Ball at Blumhouse, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots starring Vin Diesel, and, of course, Lena Dunham's Polly Pocket. "Lena Dunham's Polly Pocket" really sounds like something a character would say on 30 Rock, but no, it's real. 

They're even making an "action heist comedy" based on the UNO card game, set to star rapper Lil Yachty. Presumably, it will involve Yachty's crew performing an elaborate heist to steal a card, then having to go back and do it all over again because the card wasn't the right color. Even more bizarrely, Mattel also owns the rights to Barney the Dinosaur and is currently preparing a live-action movie in association with Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, which is said to be "darker" than the obnoxiously happy source material.

Mattel

He knows Death to Smoochy already exists, right? 

But it's not just Mattel: Hasbro is also working on stuff like Jerry Bruckheimer's Beyblade, Kevin Hart's Monopoly, and a Play-Doh movie by the director of Crazy Rich Asians (made in Claymation, we're guessing). On the TV side, they've got a show based on Risk by the creator of House of Cards, one about Magic: The Gathering, unscripted shows based on Mouse TrapGuess Who?Easy BakeOperationNerf, and more. There was also a Furby movie in the works, but its producers at The Weinstein Company have been awfully quiet lately, so perhaps it morphed into the Furby uprising scene in The Mitchells vs. The Machines.

Hasbro's CEO promised/threatened that we'll "see two to three movies every year from us and three to four streamed shows." All in all, Hasbro looks to extract movie or TV premises out of 30 different brands, most of which have about as much narrative potential as a desk lamp. The dumbest part is ... didn't we go through this already? Both Hasbro and Mattel had ambitious movie plans in the early 2010s until the Battleship and Max Steel movies flopped, leading to tons of canceled projects, but both companies are back on their BS again. It's time to brace ourselves for the moment when food companies join in on this bonanza after they hear that Jerry Seinfeld got $70 million to make a movie about Pop-Tarts

Here Come The Multi-Part Movies (Or: Stretching One Movie Into Two)

 

Movie cliffhangers are a tricky thing: the best ones leave you pumped for watching another movie in the franchise, while the worst ones make you feel like you didn't even watch one. There's a difference between linking two movies together because the story demands it and just splitting one in half because they'll make more money that way. That's why we're concerned by the number of "Part 1s" and "Part 2s" we see on the titles of upcoming movies. 

First, there's Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse (2023 and 2024), which are confirmed to be one story split in two because the writers had too many ideas. But who wouldn't want as much Spider-Verse as possible? Okay, we'll let that slide ... but then we have Fast X, which was supposed to be the grand denouement for this two-decade-long epic until Vin Diesel's pals in the Avengers franchise inspired him to squeeze one more movie out of it by doing a two-parter (2023 and 2024). Both parts are being shot back-to-back right now despite the small setback of the director quitting a week into production, reportedly due to Vin Diesel's overall Vin Diesel-ness.

Then there's Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One and Part Two (2023 and 2024), which are also supposed to be the end of that particular saga, or at least Tom Cruise's role in it. We'd joke about the first part ending with Cruise hanging from an actual cliff, but he's already done that, so we all know he'd demand something more extreme (hanging from a cliff ... while falling from a plane?). The Gal Gadot/Ryan Reynolds/Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson action comedy Red Notice is also getting back-to-back sequels, and there are no release dates yet, but we're gonna go ahead and guess "2023 and 2024" because those are officially the years of the split movie. 

And then there's Avatar: not only did James Cameron already shoot the second and third movies at the same time (2022 and 2024), but he even shot part of the fourth (2026) while at it because he just can't help himself. The rest of the fourth movie will be filmed along with the fifth one (2028) ... unless the previous installments make way too much money and Cameron decides to throw in another trilogy or two.

More and more Hollywood movies are being conceptualized as franchises instead of, well, movies. And it's not just action flicks: Crazy Rich Asians is getting two sequels, The Exorcist has a sequel trilogy on the way, and Bad Boys was supposed to get two more movies ASAP before one of the stars assaulted someone on live television (but not the one you'd think).  

The Fantastic Beasts series showed the dangers of this approach: Warner Bros. approved five movies because, come on, this is the Harry Potter universe! How could movies written by such a beloved author possibly do badly? As a result, fans are now very likely being left with an unsatisfying mess of movies that barely work on their own. At least they already know how the story would have ended since it was a plot point in a film from another two-part film from 2010-2011. Which leads us to the next point ... 

SO Many Pointless Prequels

 

Rogue One, the Star Wars prequel that filled in the gaps between the first two trilogies, is getting a gap-filling prequel of its own called Andor. The show will star Rogue One's Diego Luna and "reveals how the character went from self-serving nihilist to selfless martyr," which ... is his exact storyline in the movie that already exists.

But also, wasn't the whole point of Rogue One that it was a standalone movie that didn't concern itself with setting up characters for sequels or spin-offs? They just threw everything in there and closed the characters' stories in a pretty definitive way, which was refreshing for a big franchise film. A prequel (especially one with a character arc that sounds way too familiar) seriously undermines that. 

But this is part of that larger trend in Hollywood: the prequel that makes no sense. We've already talked about the needlessly confusing mess that is Chris Evans' Lightyear, but another good example is Orphan: First Kill -- a prequel about a girl who can't age, starring the same actress, who is now 13 years older. The production had to use forced perspective tricks to make a 25-year-old woman look like she could pass for nine. Maybe we're wrong, and they pulled it off (the actress herself seems to think so), but this could easily end up looking like a horror movie about a killer Hobbit.

The Hunger Games is also getting a prequel about the backstory of the evil President Snow, in case you ever wondered how a rich and powerful man could ever possibly come to suck. Meanwhile, having already turned most of their iconic animated movies into live-action, Disney has found a new format to exploit: prequels nobody asked for. They're working on a Lion King prequel that has been compared to The Godfather Part II but with soulless CGI animals, a musical prequel show about Beauty and the Beast's suckiest duo, and at one point, Aladdin was getting prequels about the Genie and Aladdin himself, but it looks like they've been replaced with a spin-off for a character who appears in the movie for like 4 minutes. 

The Transformers movies are also going into full prequel mode: Bumblebee, itself a continuity-destroying prequel to the Michael Bay movies, is getting three follow-ups set in the '90s, re-confirming that people in this universe are definitely stupid for never noticing the giant robots running around for decades before their official debut.

Last Name Only Biopics Are All The Rage

 

Okay, so this trend says nothing about the quality of the movies themselves, but once you notice, it'll start bugging you too. Christopher Nolan is making a movie about J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as "the father of the atomic bomb," "destroyer of worlds," and other ominous-sounding titles that would make excellent movie names. So he called the movie ... Oppenheimer.

Poster for Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer.

Universal Pictures

Martin Scorsese is making a Franklin D. Roosevelt movie called Roosevelt (better than calling it D., we guess). He was also working on a canceled Frank Sinatra biopic called Sinatra, and is producing a miniseries with Jamie Foxx as Mike Tyson, called Tyson. A movie about Emmett Till? Till (though it should technically be Till-Mobley, since it's mostly about the kid's mother). One about singer Marianne Faithfull? Faithfull. The Jared Leto as Andy Warhol biopic we never knew about but already feared? You guessed it, Warhol.  

Even the infamous chocolatier William Wonka is getting a movie, Wonka, which will hopefully address his appalling treatment of children and the little people in his employment. But what if someone wants to make a movie about some other notable person surnamed Wonka? What then, Hollywood?!

Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com. 

Top image: Universal Pictures, Hasbro

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