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'Speed 2: Cruise Control' (1998)
Sequel to: "Speed" (1994)
Did it kill the franchise: It appears so.
Why it was so unnecessary: In theory it wasn't. The first "Speed" was a word of mouth surprise hit that turned Keanu Reeves into a legitimate leading man and Sandra Bullock into a leading lady. One of Reeves' bizarre career turns though (and perhaps a smart one) was to get out of starring in the sequel. Instead, director Jan DeBont brought the lifeless Jason Patric into the mix. And, of course, the indie actor turned out to have zero chemistry with Bullock (which is really hard to do). Inexplicably, 20th Century Fox greenlit a $160 million plus budget (rumors were it was closer to $200 million) for a storyline set on a runaway cruise liner…set for release the same summer the studio had another ship disaster movie in the fold, "Titanic."*
*Paramount actually released "Titanic" in the United States, but 20th Century Fox produced the movie and released it worldwide. Until Cameron's editing needs forced an end of year release the two ship disaster flicks were on Fox's international release schedule back to back. Eke.
In hindsight, it didn't matter. The marketing was terrible. The title was terrible ("Cruise Control" with no car in the story, huh?). The movie was terrible. The box office was terrible. Luckily for Fox (and the rest of us), the extraordinary ticket sales and critical response to "Titanic" made everyone forget "Speed 2" even existed…until it popped up on HBO the following summer.