A mere month ago, it looked like The Mortal Instruments was going to be the next big thing, a popular YA book series making the leap to big-screen franchise. But the flagship entry in the film series tanked, its author jumped ship, and MI looked like yet another book series tossed onto the would-be Harry Potter scrap heap. Last week came news that the first sequel — which was, incredibly, already in pre-production — has been “pushed back.” Producers Constantin Film aren’t yet pulling the plug officially, but it sure as hell looks like this flick’s on life support. Meanwhile, another, higher-profile sequel, the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film, also saw its production delayed and release date pushed back at least a year. This one has a greater chance of still happening — but if it joins City of Bones in development hell, they’ll not be the first promised sequels that never came off.
Buckaroo Banzai Against The World Crime League
There’s nothing like a closing-credit announcement to clearly and confidently proclaim that there will, in fact, be a sequel to the film you’ve just seen. The Bond movies did it; Superman did it (although its “Next Year: Superman II” announcement was two years off). And in 1984, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension did it, kicking off the end credits with instructions to “Watch out for the next Buckaroo Banzai adventure, Buckaroo Banzai Against The World Crime League.” Trouble was, nobody saw the first film; it was buried by the likes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, and Ghostbusters. But its subsequent cult success on VHS and DVD makes this one of the few sequels on this list that is occasionally still floated.