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'Furious 7': From 'Star Trek' to 'X-Men', 7 franchises with 7 sequels

By Steve Tilley, Special to Postmedia Network

From wonders of the world to colours of the rainbow to Snow White’s posse of wee men, there’s something weirdly magical about the number seven.

But when movie franchises reach the seventh entry in a series, it means one of two things: the stories and characters are so beloved that fans can’t get enough, or the movies are so cheap to crank out that there’s no reason to stop making them.

It’s pretty clear that Furious 7, opening Friday, belongs in the first camp. The first through sixth movies of the Fast & Furious franchise have raked in $2.4 billion at the global box office, and anticipation is sky-high for number seven. Ditto for some other big movie franchises making their seventh appearances this year, including Star Wars (with The Force Awakens) and Rocky (with the spinoff movie Creed, starring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone.)

But despite its mystical connotations, sometimes the number seven isn’t quite as lucky as it seems. Here’s a look back at seven assorted seventh instalments – say that seven times fast – from the sublime to the sucktacular.

Star Trek: Generations (1994)

The seventh film in the Star Trek franchise was a crossover event of galactic proportions, marking the big-screen debut of Star Trek: The Next Generation’s crew, along with the last appearance of old-schoolers Kirk, Scotty and Chekov. Through a time-warping phenomenon, Capt. Kirk and Capt. Picard team up to defeat a common foe, with Kirk heroically sacrificing his life.

Lucky number seven? Other than the novelty of seeing Kirk and Picard side by side, Generations was disappointingly flabby. And we’re not talking about William Shatner’s waistline.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

After the five original movies and Tim Burton’s uneven 2001 reboot, the seventh outing for this 47-year-old franchise was a breath of fresh air, chronicling the ape saga’s present-day origins and giving it a surprising dose of humanity.

Lucky number seven? With last year’s Dawn of the Planet of Apes being just as good – if not better – these damn, dirty apes can put their paws on us any time. Hail Caesar!

Saw: The Final Chapter (2010)

Final chapter? Yeah, we’ve heard that before in horror movie franchises. The seventh instalment of the Toronto-shot torture porn series might not be the last, but we wish it would just end here.

Lucky number seven? Gah, no. There are only so many ways to skin, impale and dismember a cat, and this movie shows Saw no longer has an edge.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

If you count the two Wolverine spinoffs, the time-tripping Days of Future Past is the seventh chapter in the adventures of the mighty mutants, and the film that ties together the continuity of the first trilogy with 2011’s X-Men: First Class.

Lucky number seven? You better believe it, bub. It’s arguably the best of all the X-Men movies – so far – and sets the stage for next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Daniel Craig – currently filming the 24th James Bond film, Spectre – is sometimes called the best 007 since Sean Connery. So it’s not surprising that Connery was paid a then-record $1.25 million to return for the seventh movie in the franchise.

Lucky number seven? No, Miss Moneypenny. At best forgettable – though some have gone so far as to list it among the worst Bond films – this one was definitely not a gem.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I (2010)

With the decision to split J. K. Rowling’s final boy wizard novel into two films, Deathly Hallows – Part I felt a bit like an extended prelude to the climactic last act.

Lucky number seven? Although we got a bit tired of all the angsty moping, it was a fine enough film. Especially now that we can watch it back-to-back with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part II.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

How does a movie with a three in the title count as a seventh instalment? The third outing for Robert Downey Jr.’s armoured hero is the seventh film in the Avengers chronology, and the movie that launched Phase Two of the Marvel cinematic universe. That counts, right?

Lucky number seven? It was better than Iron Man 2, although some fans took issue with the way the villainous Mandarin was handled in the movie (and we don’t blame them.) Really, though, as long as Downey keeps putting on the suit, we’ll keep filling the seats.

While these seven sequels stand out for reasons both scintillating and sour, you might be surprised at how many other franchises have hit this milestone. Here are seven more that could have made the slice: Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow; Muppets From Space; Wes Craven’s New Nightmare; Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster; Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood; Curse of the Pink Panther; The Dark Knight.

Twitter: @stevetilley

steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca


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