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15 Wildly Successful Movie Franchises (That Only Have One Great Film)  

Zack Howe
21.3k votes 3.1k voters 53.6k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the movies that make the other films in their franchises look like crap.

Movie franchises often vary in quality from one movie to the next. Many of them have a few passable movies, but how many movie franchises have only one good movie? A lot. Which logically makes them bad movie franchises. One great movie is often enough to keep viewers coming back to a franchise. Movie series with one single solid entry are real head scratchers. The one good movie is a reminder of all the seriously missed opportunities.

There are some movie franchises that went off the rails after an initial success. And then there are those rare instances when a sequel turned out better than the first installment. Here are a bunch of movie franchises with one good movie that stood out over all the rest. Spoiler: Some of these might make you mad. Oh, and like, actual spoilers ahead, as well.

Jaws Franchise is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 15 Wildly Successful Movie Franchises (That Only Have One Great Film)
Photo:  Universal Pictures

The One Great Movie: Jaws

Why It's The Best: Jaws is perfectly paced, alternately scaring the hell out of audiences when they least expect it and also slowly building up tension. It's perfect suspense and perfect horror, which is why it spawned an entire genre of shark movies. Including the garbage sequels that immediately followed. It's never a good sign when a franchise takes off without it's founding director and the sequels were unsurprisingly not helmed by Steven Spielberg. 

Only good movie in the franchise?
The Hangover Franchise ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 15 Wildly Successful Movie Franchises (That Only Have One Great Film)
Photo:  Warner Bros.

The One Great Movie : The Hangover

Why It's The Best : The Hangover was uproariously funny. It was a very clever idea with an all-star cast who found themselves in wild situations that were still within the realm of possibility. The sequels were just implausible and, for some reason, the filmmakers thought that nasty and gross-out humor was what made the first movie great when it was actually just well-written comedy that made the first great.

Only good movie in the franchise?
The Fockers Franchise is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 15 Wildly Successful Movie Franchises (That Only Have One Great Film)
Photo:  Universal Pictures

The One Great Movie: Meet The Parents

Why It's The Best: Meet the Parents was an instant comedy classic. The dynamic between Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro made for great humor and the movie was imminently relatable - with the caveat that most in-laws aren't former CIA. That wrinkle, though, added another clever element to the humor. Meet the Fockers was far more contrived and mostly tried to imitate the humor of the first film with far more outlandish situations. While it has a couple of memorable lines, it's half the movie the first was.

Only good movie in the franchise?
Predator Franchise is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 15 Wildly Successful Movie Franchises (That Only Have One Great Film)
Photo:  20th Century Fox

The One Great Movie: Predator

Why It's The Best: None of the sequels came close to matching the quality of the original. Schwarzenegger in the jungle vs a trophy hunting alien? Can't beat that! It's full of action and suspense with well-placed elements of horror.  The follow-up films are pale imitations, basically bad slasher movies without any of the original's creativity.

Only good movie in the franchise?