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Scenario: You are a movie executive wracking your brain for the concept behind the next cinematic gold mine. Remakes are good, but that Uwe Boll reimagining of
Glibness aside, while spin-offs may not have the glossiest of track records, they exist as a starring vehicle for popular but often overshadowed characters from hit films. They have also helped to inflate the notoriety of some of the biggest stars working today. In honour of the release of the Forgetting Sarah Marshall offspring Get Him to the Greek we will dive into the top five movie spin-offs.
The Scorpion King
Remember a time before Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starred in things other than children’s movies? Ya, me neither. But apparently back in 2002 he launched his stardom in a spin-off of “The Mummy” franchise, exploring the back-story of the second films villain. His role in The Mummy Returns was little more than a CGI cameo but The Scorpion King proved his solo potential raking in over $90 million dollars domestically. This period, sword and sandals epic also showed the ample charisma The Rock possessed and he would go on to star the following year in The Rundown which remains his best performance to date.
The Chronicles of Riddick
While some may consider this follow up to Pitch Black a sequel, its wild variations in tone and scope, lack of any other returning characters and concentration on Riddick (who was a co-star at best in the original) lands this sci-fi actionier firmly in spin-off territory. Pitch Black was an exercise in paranoia and tension, following a downed spacecraft crew on a planet inhabited by nocturnal monsters. The Chronicles of Riddick however is about as divergent from that film as is possible; a bombastic exercise in excess and camp (although far from un-entertaining). In one preposterous but highly entertaining action scene, Riddick outruns the ravaging rising sun on a Mercury-like prison planet all the while hacking his way through faceless enemy henchmen. Can anyone say lasting classic?
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
A disappointment for many fans of the beloved mutant badass from the wilds of Northern Canada
An Oscar win has a way of piquing studio interest and that’s precisely what happened following Tommy Lee Jones surprise victory for his role as Marshal Samuel Gerard in The Fugitive. Five years after that film became a box office smash Jones was paired with Wesley Snipes for another man-on-the-run tale. The biggest issue with U.S. Marshalls was its reluctance to push boundaries and instead of having Gerard simply chase a criminal opted for another “wrongfully accused” narrative. In addition to the performances from its cast, the big star of the film is an early plane crash which nicely emulates the train derailment in the original.
Freddy vs. Jason
High concept at its breaking point, this double spin-off/crossover slasher flick pitted two of horrors greatest icons against one another in a bloody duel. While most spin-offs highlight a lesser or supporting character, Freddy vs. Jason ramped up the machete wielding intensity of its respective leads. Like “Riddick” this may not fit perfectly into this list, but its exclusion would be unwarranted, especially due to its wonderful sense of humour and B movie charms. It’s safe to say that this film may not have rejuvenated Freddy and Jason the way that was intended but its blood-soaked final battle is certainly a respectable way to spend an hour or two.