->''"Probably the most damning evidence against this movie is that they're going right to rebooting the film franchise. It committed movie-suicide in only one installment."''
-->-- From '''Website/TheAgonyBooth''''s ''Film/{{Hulk}}'' recap

So the Hollywood marketing machine is hyping a movie as the next big thing in the industry. The producers are so confident that they have already announced [[TheMerch the comic book adaptation, action figures,]] [[Film/{{Spaceballs}} the flamethrower]] and plans to make a trilogy.

However, when the work is actually released, it flops so badly that all the intended sequels and spin-offs are cancelled. This can happen for a variety of reasons:

* An adaptation that pisses off the fans of the original source and fails to capture a new audience.
* Trying to shotgun a niche property into a multimedia cash cow even though not many people are interested in it.
* The work just plain sucks.

In some cases, the start of a stillborn franchise may actually be [[AcclaimedFlop critically]] and/or even financially successful, but complications (such as the creators parting ways with the production company and losing the rights, or the creative team focusing on other projects) prevent sequels from being made.

On top of the actual WordOfGod from the creators about their plans and the natural law that forces executives to milk anything they spent a lot of money on, there are also several common hints to their intentions that affect the work in various places:
* An orphaned SequelHook.
* [[OneSceneWonder A surprisingly good actor in a bit part]] being saved for later.
* ColonCancer-riddled titles to set up a series name.
* An adaptation of the first work in a popular series.
* [[{{Title1}} The title indicating it is the first in a series]]
* An [[WillReturnCaption ending caption]] promising a sequel.

A milder variant of this is when they try to expand an already successful franchise, often with a feature film adaptation, a spin-off series or an alternate continuity, in an attempt to make a profitable franchise even more profitable, but it fails and it can even lower the profitability of the original parts of it.

Compare and contrast with FranchiseKiller where an already vibrant franchise is ended by a later bad entry. Another installment might be planned but end up being a victim of DevelopmentHell. Often overlaps with OrphanedSeries. See also GenreKiller, CreatorKiller, StillbornSerial, and WhatCouldHaveBeen.
* [[StillbornFranchise.{{Film}} Film]]
* [[StillbornFranchise.VideoGames Video Games]]


[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/MartianSuccessorNadesico'' was planned to have a trilogy of movies to tie up loose ends, along with a video game to explain how things ended up that way. ''The Prince of Darkness'' bombed quite badly, and no more effort has been put into the series. A video game that [[AllThereInTheManual covers the events between the series]] and ''The Prince of Darkness'' was released, [[NoExportForYou but in Japan only]].
* ''Great Dangaioh''s performance was bad enough to have the show get cancelled and leave things hanging in episode 12 (out of a planned 26). This effectively ensured that the ''Anime/{{Dangaioh}}'' series as a whole would never get a proper ending (let alone resolve the OVA's events).
* ''Anime/SonicTheHedgehogTheMovie'' was supposed to be a full-fledged anime series, but only two episodes were released because the franchise's popularity in Japan is lower than it is elsewhere.
* ''Techno Police 21C'' from Creator/StudioNue was going to be a TV series about a team of 3 policemen and 3 human-sized childish [[SuperRobotGenre prototype]] {{Tin Can Robot}}s fighting crime in the year 2001[[note]]The concept was still fresh for late 1970s. Also of note are composer Music/JoeHisaishi, who would later write music for ''Anime/SpiritedAway'', ''Anime/PrincessMononoke'', ''Manga/NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind'', ''Film/{{Sonatine}}'', ''Film/HanaBi'', and artist Creator/ShojiKawamori, who would later create ''Anime/{{Macross}}''[[/note]]. After some 4 years of TroubledProduction they managed to make an 80-minute pilot. And repurposed it as a theatrical movie. Which wasn't very successful.
* A lot of anime ends up being this, especially when they're the adaptation of something that hasn't finished yet. People who follow anime sales invented the idea of the "[[Manga/ManabiStraight Manabi]] Line", where a series must pass a certain amount of BD sales per volume (at least 2900 units) to warrant the hopes of getting a second season. Failing to do thus results in a stillbirth adaptation. The actual validity of the Manabi line, as well as the relative importance of BD sales of general is a topic of much debate.
* Takara Tomy hyped up ''Franchise/PrettyRhythm'' by trying to promote it everywhere, stating that the anime combined many things the target audience loved such as fashion and dancing, all whilst teaching them to follow their dreams. However, not that many children played the game (in total, there were only 400,000 uses throughout its entire run) or watched the anime. Its successor ''VideoGame/PriPara'' eventually took up the reigns of their above statement, and ended up totally eclipsing ''Pretty Rhythm'' in popularity. After the surprise runaway success of the ''Anime/KingOfPrism'' films (especially since they were a spinoff of the old ''Pretty Rhythm'' series), and the ColbertBump it gave to ''Rainbow Live'' in return, the franchise was rebranded as the {{Thematic|Series}} "Pretty Series" and sold itself on a new experience every installment. This particular strategy was the one that ended up working in the long run.
* ''KemonoFriends'' was narrowly close to dying on birth: the original mobile game ended up being a flop, the manga's fanbase was middling, the anime was greenlit only because Kadokawa was already bound by contract to produce it, and as a result the anime was produced under a shoestring budget that didn't even reach the hundred thousand dollars it spent to make it. Its sudden and unexpected success was one of the big reasons why it was considered the big anime surprise of 2017.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Creator/MarvelComics has a number of attempts to create new superhero lines. ComicBook/TheNewUniverse did ''relatively'' well, in the sense that it made it three years before imploding. Others less so.
** A number of characters which were supposed to be the next generation of heroes. Among them ''ComicBook/{{Sleepwalker}}'', ''ComicBook/{{Darkhawk}}'', ''Super Pro'', and ''ComicBook/TheAwesomeSlapstick''. None of them lasted long, although there have been many attempts to bring them back after years in ComicBookLimbo.
** The Shadowline Saga, a completely new 1988-90 GrimAndGritty superhero universe.
** Razorline, a 1993 attempt to create ''another'' new superhero universe, with Creator/CliveBarker.
* Creator/JohnKricfalusi's ''ComicBook/SpumcoComicBook'' had a very short lived run. The initial run of the comics only lasted three issues under Creator/DarkHorseComics in 1995, with Creator/MarvelComics distributing one more issue in 1997 before the comics were cancelled altogether. Per word of Spumco employee Stephen Worth, it was a Catch 22 situation that killed the series early; comic book stores were the wrong market for funny comics, since readers were mostly interested in superhero comics instead of the gag oriented stories, and they couldn't get regular book stores to stock their comic books.
* Creator/{{Rius}}' book, ''La Perestroika'' (The Perestroika), which deals with the then-recent economic reforms implemented by UsefulNotes/MikhailGorbachev, ends with a note saying that this is the first in a series of books dedicated to the topic, and mentioning that the next one would come after a trip of the author to the U.S.S.R. to witness first-hand the effects of the reforms. The book came out just about the same time of the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Putsch 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt]], which effectively [[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp put the final nail in the coffin of the existence of the Soviet Union]].
* Prior to the release of ''ComicBook/MightyMorphinPowerRangersBoomStudios'', there had been numerous attempts to start a ''Power Rangers'' comic, barely lasting a few issues before being cancelled.

[[folder: Eastern Animation]]
* The 1999-2000 Russian animated series ''Adventures in the Emerald City'' was supposed to be an adaptation of Creator/LFrankBaum's ''Literature/LandOfOz'' novels. They only got to producing four episodes, adapting the first two books, before the budget ran out and they were unable to secure more funding.
** This might be because the Russians are more familiar with the [[Literature/TalesOfTheMagicLand literary translation by Alexander Volkov]] than the original novel. In fact, Baum's sequels didn't get the same treatment from Volkov as the first novel, as Volkov went on to write his own sequels to the translation, unrelated to Baum's sequels except for the occasional magical artifact or substance.
** Then in 2017 the series got a feature-length sequel based off Volkov's second book. Still unsuccessful.

* ''Literature/{{Steelflower}}'' by Creator/LilithSaintcrow was supposed to be the first book of a trilogy according to the back cover. Unfortunately, the e-book was [[DigitalPiracyIsEvil heavily pirated]], making writing the other two books a poor investment according to the author.
* The Creator/TedHughes book "Ffangs the Vampire Bat and the Kiss of Truth" ends with Ffangs [[HumanityEnsues becoming human]], his sister getting kidnapped and Ffangs setting off to find her. The last line of the book is "The adventures of Ffangs will be continued in the next book", but the sequel was either never written or never published.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/KamenRiderDragonKnight'' suffered from this. Poor toy sales and ratings (partly due to ScrewedByTheNetwork) plus financial troubles with Adness Entertainment meant that any possible follow-up adaptation was dead. It didn't help that the final two episodes didn't even air on TV, only online.
* ''Film/ShinKamenRiderPrologue'' was so named for a reason, but we didn't get past the prologue. He was intended to eventually 'evolve' into a more Rider-like form in future installments.
* [[Series/HardyBoysNancyDrewMysteries After having a semi-successful series in the seventies]], there have been multiple attempts to adapt the ''Literature/NancyDrew'' and ''[[Literature/TheHardyBoys Hardy Boys]]'' series onto the screen, often as a TV series. Both had a limited 13-episode Canadian adaptation in 1995, but both were quickly cancelled (many feel the biggest factor working against them was the half-hour format, which just doesn't give enough space to set up a good mystery). This happened to Nancy again in 2002, with a made-for-TV movie that would function as a backdoor pilot if ratings were good enough. It wasn't, and after the flop of the 2007 Nancy Drew movie starting Emma Roberts, Hollywood lost interest until 2016 when CBS filmed a pilot for a ''Nancy Drew'' TV procedural that would have portrayed Nancy as a grownup private detective. The pilot was not picked up to series. There was also a failed Nancy Drew TV pilot in the 1950s. The most success she's found on the screen is still arguably the low-budget film series in the late 1930s.
* In 2008, the BBC released a series of drama pilots all at once with the intention of choosing the most popular one to make into a full-length series. This led to several instances of the trope:
** ''The Things I Haven't Told You'', a mystery drama. It was supposed to, unsurprisingly, contain lots of secrets and stuff that would be released throughout the show's entire prospective run. As an episode in its own right, it made very little sense, but the viewers that found it compelling were very disappointed (not to mention confused/angry/frustrated) when ''Series/{{Being Human|UK}}'' was made into a series instead.
** ''Phoo Action'', a futuristic comedy about a [[TheyFightCrime mismatched crime-fighting duo]] trying to stop mutant terrorists from turning Princes William and Harry into mutants. It was commissioned for a series and a franchise planned around it (it was already based on an existing comic strip), but cancelled before shooting began when the BBC decided the show wasn't going to achieve its "creative ambitions."
** ''Dis[=/=]Connected'', about a group of high schoolers discovering that each played a role in a classmate's suicide. Initially touted as a rival to ''Series/{{Skins}}'' and ambitious talk about its future, but its ratings were too low to justify a full series.
** In 2010 the BBC aired another pilot called ''Lizzie and Sarah'' about two abused wives who go on a murder spree. It was to have been the last of six stand-alone TV movies in a planned series, with a possible second series to follow, and expected to be a hit BlackComedy following in the footsteps of shows like ''Series/NightyNight'' (whose star, Julia Davis, wrote and performed in ''Lizzie and Sarah''). It aired in a very poor time slot and was ultimately not commissioned, despite complaints from fans and support from other comedians such as Creator/SimonPegg.
* The [[Film/Carrie2002 2002 made-for-TV]] version of ''Literature/{{Carrie}}'' was meant to lead into a series on Creator/{{NBC}}, in which [[spoiler:Carrie, having been SparedByTheAdaptation, heads to Florida to search for others like her]]. Low ratings for the film meant that the series was never made.
* ''Series/MockingbirdLane'' was supposed to be the PilotMovie of a DarkerAndEdgier reboot of ''Series/TheMunsters''. However for whatever reason, the show didn't get picked up, but the film was still shown on NBC as a Halloween special.
* ''Matthew Blackheart: Monster Smasher'' is a 2002 TV movie starring Robert Bogue and Christopher Heyerdahl, about [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything a WWII super-soldier frozen in the 1940s and revived in the 1990s, who battles supernatural creatures in New York City]]. Similar (in concept, at least) to ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', it failed to garner any plaudits and no series detailing the further adventures of Blackheart ever appeared.
* The 2003 TV film ''Mermaids''[[note]]Not the 1990 Cher vehicle[[/note]] was intended as a PilotMovie for a series about three mermaid sisters. It wasn't picked up, being feared too similar to ''{{Series/Charmed}}''. The mermaid concept would later be used in ''Series/H2OJustAddWater'' - with the protagonists as teenagers rather than adults.
* Speaking of ''Charmed'', they planned a spin-off called ''Mermaid'' inspired by the fifth season premiere - about a mermaid called Nikki who would room with two human boys and help various people, all the while ducking a hunter trying to kill her. WordOfGod is that the franchise had a wrench thrown into it when the WB and UPN merged into the CW - and the network decided not to pick up the show.

[[folder: Music]]
* Mid-to-late [[TheNineties '90s]] hip hop supergroup The Firm -- consisting of Music/{{Nas}}, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Cormega (who was later ousted and replaced with Nature) -- was hyped as one of the hottest new groups in hip-hop after their formation, appearance on Nas' ''It Was Written'' album, and signing to Music/DrDre's record label. In 1997, they released their debut album... which got such a lackluster reception by both consumers and critics that any interest in more music from the group was nixed, and they went their separate ways the year after. While Brown has mentioned that there have been discussions of The Firm reuniting, the project seems to be an OldShame for nearly everyone involved.
** Arguably this could be a case of CriticalDissonance, with a touch of HypeBacklash. At the time, Nas, Foxy Brown, and AZ weren't that popular outside of New York and were never really heavy sellers to begin with. Basically they were a precursor to another hip-hop supergroup by the name of ''Slaughter House''. Essentially they only appealed to the most hardcore hip-hop fanbase.
** This was not the first time a band called The Firm had failed to proceed; in the mid '80s, Jimmy Page formed a miniature supergroup with himself on guitar, and Paul Rodgers, formerly of Free and Bad Company, on vocals. The original plan was to fill the band out with former Yes percussionist Music/BillBruford, plus ubiquitous 80s fretless bassist Pino Palladino, but this didn't pan out. Despite being Jimmy Page's first band project since Led Zeppelin, the group's debut album met with lackluster reviews and poor sales. Surprisingly there was a second album -- shades of [[Music/DavidBowie Tin Machine]] -- after which the group disbanded.
* In 1993 Music/TheSistersOfMercy released ''Greatest Hits Volume 1: A Slight Case of Overbombing''. It was the last album they released.
* Music/{{ABBA}}'s compilation ''The Singles: The '''First''' Ten Years'' has an ironic title. After promoting the two newly-recorded singles, they took a break from which they never regrouped, making it their ''final'' release before (in effect) splitting.
* Music/GeorgeMichael failed to release a followup to his ''Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1'' album of 1990.
* The full title of Music/MichaelJackson's 1995 DistinctDoubleAlbum was ''[=HIStory=]: Past, Present and Future, Book I''. There never was a Book II, though there was ''Blood on the Dance Floor: [=HIS=]tory in the Mix'' in 1997 (which was mostly remixes), not to mention ''[=HIStory=] on Film:'' '''''Volume''''' ''II'' (which was music videos).
** The ''This Is It'' tour, planned to be his last one ever, would have probably enabled [[{{Sequelitis}} several more "last tours ever"]] had he not suffered AuthorExistenceFailure before the first one got off the ground.
* '80s band Re-Flex is best known for their single of ''The Politics of Dancing'' from their one and only album of the same name. The single ''How Much Longer?'' released in 1985 was labled "From the forthcoming album ''Humanication''". The album never forthcame due to ExecutiveMeddling.
* In 1996, Music/TheBeachBoys released ''Stars and Stripes, Vol. 1'', an album featuring them singing re-recordings of their hits as duets with CountryMusic stars. After the album was ripped apart by critics, any future installments were scrapped.
* Music/DavidBowie's 1996 concept album ''[[Music/{{Outside}} 1. Outside]]'' was planned to be the first of a 3-album set. The second planned album in the set, ''2. Contamination'', was never finished and his next album was the unrelated drum-and-bass-influenced excursion ''Earthling''. Although Bowie thought about returning to finish the trilogy a few times over the years, he ultimately never did; With [[AuthorExistenceFailure his passing]] in 2016, the set will never be completed.
* 2008 saw the release of ''[[FunWithAcronyms OMFGG]] Original Music Featured on Series/GossipGirl No. 1''. By the time the series ended four years later, there was still no sign of No. 2 (compare to ''Series/OneTreeHill'' racking up four albums and ''Series/GreysAnatomy'' having five).
* Music/NeilYoung's ''Road Rock Volume 1: Friends & Relatives'' was released in 2000 and met with middling reviews. Since then there has been no Volume 2 and only one contemporary live album, 2016's ''Earth''.

* Creator/{{Capcom}}'s ''Pinball/{{Breakshot}}'' was advertised as the first in the "Capcom Classic" series, a line of low-cost pinballs with "classic-style" gameplay to appeal to all players. Needless to say, this is the only game in the series.
* The ''Pinball/JudgeDredd'' pinball was the debut of "Supergame", where for an extra credit, players could play the table with extra modes and expanded rules, including exclusive multiball modes. No other pinball has used the feature.
* ''Pinball/SafeCracker'' was advertised as the first "Token-Pin" game, which would dispense tokens for winning that could be used for various things, such as prizes or a special game mode. No other game in the line has been produced. It was a good idea in theory, but in practice, the people who did come up to place ''Safe Cracker'' were more interested in collecting the tokens than putting them back in to play other modes. On top of that, Williams produced only one run of the tokens, so machines soon ran out, leaving angry patrons anywhere ''Safe Cracker'' was available.
* ''Pinball/FlipperFootball'' was Creator/CapcomPinball's first "Interplay Display" pinball game; the dot-matrix display was mounted in the cabinet, and would respond when the player struck targets underneath it. Capcom closed its pinball division soon after the game was released, and no other "Interplay Display" games were made.
* Creator/SteveRitchie's ''Pinball/{{Hyperball}}'' married a {{Pinball}} cabinet with a ShootEmUp, challenging players to fire up to 250 balls a minute against an army of attacking lightning bolts. Despite plans to product up to 50,000 games, only 5,000 were made and sold, and the idea was never revisited.
* Company example: Kevin Kulek had every intention of turning Skit-B into a major player in the pinball business, with ''Film/{{Predator}}'' as its beginning, as is evidenced by him having at least three other machines in development at the same time as ''Predator''. However, either by naivete, laziness, or arrogance, he never actually requested the ''Predator'' rights from Fox, putting him in deep legal trouble when Fox found out about his project. This act destroyed his company before it could even release its first game. This case also crosses over with CreatorKiller, as Kulek mishandled this legal dispute so badly, no one else in pinball wants anywhere near him anymore, and his name has become either a joke or, to the people who pre-ordered ''Predator'' for thousands of dollars and never got refunded, a BerserkButton.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* The very short lived Creator/VanBeurenStudios WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat shorts, an attempt to revive the franchise after the original theatrical cartoons fell to the wayside due to multiple factors (including the death of his owner Pat Sullivan and the latest efforts absolutely paling in comparison to the new MickeyMouse sound films, and the fact that Felix still had a popular newspaper comic running) only lasted for three shorts (with a fourth one never getting past the story stage) due to Creator/VanBeurenStudios abruptly going belly-up when RKO negated their contract in favor of distributing Creator/{{Disney}} [[WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts shorts.]]
* David Hand's ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaland}}'' series, a lushly animated series of [[UsefulNotes/TheGoldenAgeOfAnimation Golden Age shorts]], was supposed to be a full fledged series. But since it was unable to find a [[NoExportForYou distributor in the US]], it died after just nine shorts. David Hand's son has tried to revive the series, but nothing ever came from that.
* After the massive success of the Franchise/DisneyPrincess crossover franchise, Creator/{{Disney}} attempted to do the same thing with its popular male heroes in the mid 2000s. The result was the Disney Heroes franchise, whose lineup consisted of Disney/{{Aladdin}}, [[Disney/TheSwordInTheStone King Arthur]], Disney/{{Hercules}}, Disney/PeterPan, Disney/RobinHood and Disney/{{Tarzan}}. Poor sales ended the franchise pretty quickly and Disney abandoned using their own characters for boy-centric franchise merchandise, having much more success later on with boy-centric merchandise based on acquired franchises like ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}''[[note]]To be exact, [[Creator/{{Pixar}} the studio]] had been acquired, as ''Cars'' ended up being Pixar's first release as a subsidiary of Disney[[/note]], Creator/MarvelComics and ''Franchise/StarWars''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRapsittieStreetKidsBelieveInSanta'' was meant to be the first of a series of TV specials featuring the eponymous kids. The special's....[[NoFlowInCGI questionable]] [[UncannyValley quality]] and poor reception, however, put the kibosh on any of those plans, including those of an Easter special announced during the credits.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy Underfist:]] [[HalloweenEpisode Halloween Bash]]'' was supposed to become a series of its own, but Creator/CartoonNetwork turned it down.