What Franchises Does the Future Hold for Warners?

We could be seeing a lot more of the studio’s upcoming “Arthur,” “Yogi Bear” and “Jack the Giant Killer”


Warner Bros. already has a dozen franchises to drive blockbuster business at the box office. But where could the studio turn to for even more sequels? Let's take a peek, shall we?

The biggest hope lies in the studio's lucrative relationship with DC Comics, which is responsible for superhero-based tentpoles focused on Batman, Superman and the Green Lantern. The writers of the latter film are currently developing a feature around the Flash, which also could have legs.

Also read: Warner's New Strategy Under Robinov: More Tentpoles!

Then there's Wonder Woman, which the studio is also looking to crack development on. The project should probably be a higher priority for WB, but perhaps it's simply waiting for the right actress to come along. Or maybe it's still gun-shy from 2004's much-lamented "Catwoman" starring Halle Berry.

The one recent Warner Bros. success that execs are still kicking around the idea of a prequel/sequel for is "I Am Legend," though the timing may be an issue considering Will Smith's busy schedule.

As for the studio's upcoming movies that could merit sequels, there are three distinctly different possibilities.

First, there's the Russell Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner remake of "Arthur," the 1981 Dudley Moore comedy, which itself spawned the 1988 sequel "Arthur 2: On the Rocks." Scheduled for next year, if it hits with audiences, it's possible that Brand could reprise his wild-child antics in a sequel.

On the animated side, there's "Yogi Bear" opening in December. With Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake lending their voices. it's well-positioned to be this year's "Alvin and the Chipmunks," which means sequels are surely on the horizon.

Finally, Bryan Singer is in the midst of casting a leading man for "Jack the Giant Killer," which fashions an action film from the venerable fable. Don't be surprised if the script leaves the door open for a sequel.

Other possibilities:

Aside from the aforementioned DC properties, Warners has high hopes for Doug Liman's futuristic action film "All You Need Is Kill," which could lead to sequels down the road if the original is done right. And the studio recently purchased the rights to Ernie Cline's upcoming book "Ready Player One," which has major franchise potential if the studio decides to get serious about bringing it to the big screen.

Off the lot, Warner Bros.' partner Legendary Pictures is developing a new take on "Godzilla," although it's unclear how far along that project is, while WB-based producer Dan Lin continues to develop a "Thundercats" movie.

Other projects in development that could get the franchise treatment include a movie set in the the mythical land of Oz, a big screen take on "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," a remake of "Logan's Run," the Robert Downey Jr. vehicle "Yucatan" and the Lionel Wigram-produced "Three Musketeers," although none of those projects currently have that much heat at the studio, which is also still considering remaking the acclaimed "Red Riding Trilogy" that was released in U.S. theaters earlier this year.

Of course, there are plenty of franchise sequels that you won't be seeing anytime soon.

For years, the blogosphere has buzzed with rumors about a sequel to Best Picture winner "The Departed," but don't hold your breath. Mark Wahlberg was practically the only cast member allowed to survive the final reel, and while the original Hong Kong drama "Infernal Affairs," spawned a prequel and a sequel, "The Departed" story has been successfully told, with little left to add.

Likewise, don't hold out hope for another "Sex and the City." It looks as though the fabulous foursome has sipped one too many expensive cocktails, and Warners has no plans to revisit the female-driven franchise, which saw diminishing box office returns earlier this year. Similarly, "Nancy Drew" failed to create much heat, even with rising star Emma Roberts as the teen sleuth.

As for "Tomb Raider," Warners no longer has the rights, so if Lara Croft does find another feature film adventure, it probably won't be released by the Burbank studio.

Speaking of problems with rights, the lucrative "Terminator" series is tangled in complex legal issues, so don't expect Sarah Connor or her son to return to theaters for the foreseeable future.

Finally, the long-gestating comic book adaptation "Shazam!" is said to be pretty much dead at the moment, while "Gilligan's Island" is not expected to get made anytime soon.