13 Films That Suffer From The 3rd Film Curse

The 3rd Film Curse
Movies
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“Third time is a charm” is a phrase often used in everyday life, but not when it comes to the world of cinema. Fans have noted a strange trend; the third entry in any trilogy is always noticeably weaker than its predecessors.

Think about it. Just how many good threequels are out there? There have only been a handful of trilogies that have survived the curse, most notably The Bourne Ultimatum, Toy Story 3, The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. But the majority of threequels are destroyed by budget problems, director conflicts and just-plain-awful production, culminating in low box office returns and proving that the third cut is the weakest. There are some upcoming thirds that should have you worried – War for the Planet of the Apes, Bad Boys 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Thor: Ragnarok and Cars 3.

Here is a list of films that have suffered from the 3rd film curse…

A superhero film that focuses more on a comedian than its protagonist is damned for trouble. Superman III proves to be an unworthy sequel, despite an awesome Superman versus Clark Kent sequence. Proof that Donner was a superior director to Lester.

Superman III

A superhero film that focuses more on a comedian than its protagonist is damned for trouble. Superman III proves to be an unworthy sequel, despite an awesome Superman versus Clark Kent scene. This is proof that Donner was a superior director to Lester.


Expendables 3

The Expendables 3

If The Expendables 3 proves anything it is that you don’t mess with a winning formula. It’s the first instalment in the gratuitously violent franchise to avoid an R rating and earn an audience-friendly PG-13. Watching the ageing badass heroes without the gore proves to be quite a bore. Of course, that is only one of the many problems with the film.


Ah, the cursed Batman Forever. Joel Schumacher managed to take the dark and gloomy world created by Tim Burton and turn it into comic book dribble. The best thing about this threequel is that it isn't Batman and Robin. Well, that and Seal's Kiss by a Rose. Ta da ta da da da...

Batman Forever

Ah, the cursed Batman Forever. Joel Schumacher managed to take the dark and gloomy world created by Tim Burton and turn it into comic book dribble. The best thing anyone can say about this threequel is that it isn’t Batman and Robin. Well, that and Seal’s ‘Kiss by a Rose’.


Yes, The Dark Knight Rises. Fans have to admit that the third film lacks the resonance that its two originals held. While its remarkably better than most threequels it still doesn't live up to its first two instalments, thanks to a poor ending and an anti-climatic outcome for Bane - the real star of Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises

Yes, The Dark Knight Rises. Fans have to admit that the third film lacks the resonance that its two originals held. While it’s remarkably better than most threequels, it still doesn’t live up to its first two instalments, thanks to a poor ending and an anti-climatic outcome for Bane – the real star of Rises.


MIB III

If only Will Smith could use that device on audiences to help them forget the terrible MIB 3. Despite an awesome performance by Josh Brolin as a younger Tommy Lee Jones, the last instalment was plagued with an unfortunate script. It just felt so 90s!


If David Fincher has proven anything over the  course of his career it is that he wasn't responsible for the awful Alien 3. The studio clearly didn't know what to do with the franchise. Alien Resurrection proves that!

Alien III

If David Fincher has proven anything over the course of his career it is that he wasn’t responsible for the awful Alien 3. The studio clearly didn’t know what to do with the franchise. Alien Resurrection proves that!


A textbook example of the third film curse, Spider-man 3 suffers from being... well, emo and messy. The over-abundance of villains helped sink the Spidey franchise right down the spout.

Spider-Man III

A textbook example of the third film curse, Spider-man 3 suffers from being… well, emo and messy. Throwing everything and the kitchen sync at the story, the over-abundance of villains helped sink the Spidey franchise right down the spout.


The Last Stand is utterly devoid of soul. It is nothing more than a visual effects extravaganza, with Ratner introducing as many mutants as he possibly can to make-up for the poor script.

X-Men III: The Last Stand

The Last Stand is utterly devoid of soul. It is nothing more than a visual effects extravaganza, with Ratner introducing as many mutants as he possibly can to make up for the poor script.


Who knew that the charm of the characters of Shrek would wear off? The third installment lacked everything that made the original two cool. Completely uninspired.

Shrek III

Who knew that the charm of the characters of Shrek would wear off? The third instalment lacked everything that made the original two cool. Completely uninspired. The same jokes for a third time running.


How can one of the best fight scenes in film history also be one of the most anti-climatic? The Matrix Revolutions. Despite our best efforts to love the franchise, Revolutions makes it quite difficult. Dammit, why couldn't Neo just beat Smith?

Matrix Revolutions

How can one of the best fight scenes in film history also be one of the most anti-climatic? Despite our best efforts to love the franchise, Matrix Revolutions makes it quite difficult. Dammit, why couldn’t Neo just beat Smith? Why couldn’t it all make more sense? Why did Trinity have to die? Why did Neo have to go blind? Why did it have to end in mystery?


Honestly, Robocop 3 is nothing more than a really long toy commercial.

Robocop 3

Honestly, Robocop 3 is nothing more than a really long toy commercial.


Three bankable actors. What's wrong with this picture? Blade: Trinity underutilized its heros and villains to create a sloppy vampire flick. The ideas had so much potential but never lived up to its predecessors.

Blade Trinity

Three bankable actors. What’s wrong with this picture? Blade: Trinity underutilised its heroes and villains to create a sloppy vampire flick. The ideas had so much potential but never lived up to its predecessors.

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9 Comments on "13 Films That Suffer From The 3rd Film Curse"

  1. Eric

    Expendables 3 didn’t fail because of the rating, it failed because people pirated the film a month ago and bad word of mouth made others not use their own judgement. Many PG-13 action films have great scenes

  2. Eric

    Other films that suffered the 3rd film curse,
    Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: not a bad sequel, but it definitely takes a huge downfall from its predecessor.
    Scream 3: With a rewrite and falling out with writer Kevin Williamson, this film suffered from losing a bit of its Scream charm, even making Gale Weathers so dependent on Dewey
    Superman Returns: Technically this is the 5th live action film, but its continuity its presented as the 3rd film and its a huge bore.
    Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift: Well we now know if nots the 3rd film continuity wise, but it was a huge step down as it was the 3rd film released, although, 2 Fast 2 Furious wasn’t exactly ground breaking either.
    Resident Evil: Extinction: While many tend to not enjoy these films(even though they keep going to see them)this film was a small drop from Apocalypse, although it does do one thing no other bad 3rd film does and that be better than the first film(however Apocalypse is still better than both)
    Rush Hour 3: This film just seemed to go through the same motions as the first film, except weaker. Its not a terrible film but its just weaker
    Rambo 3: Just a huge letdown, the plot is pretty good but the execution is just terrible, Stallone is still great though and Richard Crenna is allowed to do something, so that’s a small bright spot
    Iron Man 3: Although, technically this is Tony Starks 4th time out, 5th if you count his After Credit came in The Incredible Hulk I didn’t mind this film much, but many hated its recycling of plot and the change in the villain.
    Predators: This went through so many rewrites, first it was a team up with Arnold and Danny Glover, than it was a remake, than this, while the other two films are never mentioned this is considered a rebooted 3rd film. I still am waiting for that team up film
    American Wedding: Well this franchise was never masterpieces but this was definitely not the first two films

  3. Eric

    No problem, another thing I had to point out is a lot of the time the 3rd films are so bad because the 2nd films are so great.

  4. James Patrick Phillips

    One franchise that I can think of is too epic and told that curse to bugger off, Harry Potter. Prisoner of Azkaban was awesome.

  5. Douglas Vincent Berry

    PoA is honestly the first really good book in that series, though, so it seems natural that the movie would follow.

What do you think?