By Daniel Fierman
Updated July 30, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT


Finding a good franchise is like prospecting for oil: Tap a well and you’ve got tent pole pics and Texas tea for years to come (see: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park). Miss — or worse, mismanage — and you’ll get nothing but a geyser of red ink. So with a mind toward the bottom line, here’s a list of franchises that need to be started, saved, or stopped before they’re started.

BATMAN Skintight rubber suits, pretty boys, and extreme close-ups of George Clooney’s butt … hmmm, are you sure this is a superhero franchise? How about bringing in someone twisted like David Fincher (Seven) or Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) to make the Dark Knight dark again? And while we’re at it, greenlight the young-Bruce Wayne script, Batman: Year One, and not the long-discussed, borderline-idiotic Batman Vs. Superman. Bonus points if Warner Bros. gets David Boreanaz to fill Clooney’s codpiece.

SUPERMAN And as long as we’re talking superheroes, handing Nic Cage $20 million to be the Man of Steel? Four words: ”Put tha money … down.”

STAR WARS Casting Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and Sam Jackson was a masterstroke, but please, George Lucas, could Episodes II and III have a bit more adult appeal? How about enlisting Leo DiCaprio as Anakin for some much-needed edge? And hey, we’ll even get you started — Act 1, Scene 1: Jar Jar Binks falls off cliff. Dies.

BOND The franchise rakes in the bucks, but it’s about as fresh as a Ritz Brothers routine. A new title hero would help. My suggestion: Rupert Everett, who’s already hard at work on his own gay-007 movie. Then recast the series as a director’s franchise, à la Alien, giving guys like John Woo and Quentin Tarantino a chance to reinterpret the material. Bada-bing, bada-boom, franchise life doubled.

FRANCHISE FUTURES? I’ll keep this simple. Green Lantern and the next two Matrix movies? Yes. A third Ghostbusters, Bewitched, and another Blade? No. Charlie’s Angels? Only if you can find the magic script — both campy and action packed.

And Michael Bay, keep your damn dirty paws off Planet of the Apes.