While there are plenty of fantastic third movies in franchises, these are the installments that stand tall among their peers and show that a great trilogy finale is possible. But these are instances of fantastic storytelling, strong characters, and a focus on quality over name-recognition profits. Given the sheer number of terrible third movies, especially those that come after strong first and second installments, audience members have long wondered where so many franchises go wrong.
There is no exact winning combination when it comes to creating a worthwhile third movie, or “threequel,” but there are numerous challenges that have led to franchise downfall. Recognizing what causes a bad third movie can help filmmakers avoid making a movie that’s bad for everyone. Or it can at least let audiences see a bomb coming and save their money.