There’s nothing Hollywood loves more than wringing a franchise for all its worth in terms of sequels, prequels, reboots and spinoff. No Hollywood franchise is ever truly dead, although there may be a decades-long gap in between installments. The latest franchise to be resurrected is “Top Gun,” which no one expected to be a franchise when Tony Scott’s classic action-drama opened in theaters in 1986. It’s taken over three decades for star Tom Cruise to deliver a follow-up, and that’s not the only franchise that’s come back to theaters this year after many years. A new “Scream” opened in January, ending an 11-year franchise hiatus.
What difference do decades make? Not a whole lot. The new “Scream” was faithfully attached to its roots and delivered a smart subversion of contemporary horror and a giant middle finger to today’s toxic fandoms. “Top: Gun Maverick,” meanwhile, is yet another spectacular showcase for the decades-old movie star that is Tom Cruise.
With “Top Gun: Maverick” set to take the summer movie season by storm, Variety takes a look back at 18 sequels and reboots that effectively brought their franchises back to life.