For all the pomp and circumstance film franchises get, nothing is ever a sure bet. Many films that had humongous budgets flopped while other movies were sleeper hits. Then you get into an interesting realm: movies that were supposed to become franchises but did not pan out.
The Divergent film is a good example where a movie studio worked to bring a book series to the big screen and burned a ton of money in the process. In the end, even with a massive budget and marketing push, it became nothing. A breakdown of some of the more-promoted fizzled franchises was recently listed by Tim Grierson over at Mel Magazine.
Lionsgate stuck with the franchise, releasing two sequels, Insurgent and Allegiant, in the next two years. Allegiant was actually only half of Roth’s book of the same name, with another film, Ascendant, planned as the grand finale — sort of how Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games concluded with two-part films. But Lionsgate eventually realized that the franchise wasn’t taking off — Allegiant only grossed $179 million — and decided to switch gears, reconceiving Ascendant as a television movie that would be the launching pad for a spinoff series. Problem was, Woodley bailed, delivering the sick burn, “I didn’t sign up for a TV show.” Soon, the idea for the series got canceled, too. (Ironically, around the same time, Woodley did sign up for a TV show, but in that case it was the superb HBO series Big Little Lies.)Mel Magazine
Grierson lists a few more movie franchises that will surely make you go "Oh I remember hearing about that!" and then realizing none of these properties completed their run. It's yet another interesting look into how Hollywood operates and nothing is a sure bet.