Jason Statham Needs to Stop His Franchise Replacement Trend, as Evidenced by The Beekeeper’s Success

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The Beekeeper’s surprising success at the box office has proven once and for all that Jason Statham doesn’t need to take over other people’s franchises to succeed as a movie star – he can headline his own franchises. Directed by Suicide Squad’s David Ayer, The Beekeeper revolves around an ex-mercenary (played by Statham) who springs back into action when his friend and neighbor takes her own life after losing her money to a phishing scam. After its unexpected success at the box office, The Beekeeper could kickstart a new Statham-starring action movie franchise.

In its second weekend, The Beekeeper broke a box office record with the lowest second-week drop for a Statham movie since 2016. From The Transporter to The Mechanic to Crank, Statham has proven time and time again that he’s perfectly capable of launching his own movie franchises and reprising his own lead roles in successful sequels. But in recent years, Statham has been cast to take over the lead roles of existing franchises from their own stars, and these franchise replacement gigs have never been as successful as his own franchises.

Jason Statham Has Struggled In Taking Over Existing Franchises
Hobbs & Shaw and The Expendables 4 both disappointed

In the past few years, Hollywood studios have called on Statham to take over a couple of existing movie franchises. After being introduced as a villain in Furious 7, Statham’s character Deckard Shaw gradually earned redemption and got welcomed into Dom Toretto’s family. Then, he was tapped to star in the Fast & Furious franchise’s first spin-off, Hobbs & Shaw, alongside Dwayne Johnson’s Luke Hobbs. This spin-off was the franchise’s first bid to secure a future beyond Vin Diesel’s tenure in the role of Toretto. It was a box office success, but didn’t make a big cultural impact.

When Sylvester Stallone was ready to hand over the reins of The Expendables franchise, Barney Ross’ trusted second-in-command – Lee Christmas, played by Statham – was promoted to team leader. But The Expendables 4 was panned by critics (not least because Stallone’s presence in the film was greatly exaggerated in its trailers) and became a huge box office bomb. While Statham did a fine job starring in other actors’ franchises, the lukewarm reception to both of these movies proved that there’s no Fast & Furious without Vin Diesel and there’s no Expendables without Sylvester Stallone.

The Beekeeper & Meg 2 Prove Jason Statham’s Own Franchises Are Better For Him

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The fact that The Beekeeper is doing well at the box office – and Statham’s 2023 starring vehicle Meg 2: The Trench achieved similar success at a time when many big-budget tentpoles were bombing – proves that Statham’s own franchises are better for his career than anyone else’s. Audiences will always be more eager to watch a Statham franchise that was designed for Statham than a franchise that was started by someone else and picked up Statham along the way. Statham is one of the last true movie stars; he doesn’t need to rely on familiar I.P. to get butts in seats.

As a former professional diver whose action movies are renowned for their sense of dumb fun, a franchise in which he fights giant prehistoric sharks in hand-to-hand combat at sea was a perfect vehicle for Statham – and an easy sell for his fan base. The Beekeeper has the same appeal. The premise of a beekeeper with a very particular set of skills was just absurd enough to catch audiences’ attention and turn Statham’s latest high-octane thriller into a blockbuster hit. Statham doesn’t need to take over anyone else’s franchises when his own franchises are doing so well.

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Will Jason Statham Make The Beekeeper 2?


The Beekeeper leaves the door open for a sequel

While The Beekeeper 2 hasn’t been officially greenlit, the door is open for Statham to star in a sequel. Ayer has expressed interest in making The Beekeeper 2, saying that he’d love to expand on the mythology and worldbuilding established in the first film. The first movie teases a wider world of Beekeeper operatives, touching on a larger fictional universe that a sequel – or series of sequels – could explore in more depth.

If The Beekeeper continues to perform well at the box office, then it’s only a matter of time before the studio decides to greenlight a sequel. At a time when it’s still difficult to get audiences out to movie theaters instead of just waiting for a streaming release to watch at home, Statham makes it look easy to get big crowds out to multiplexes. Just like Meg 2’s success means Meg 3 is likely to happen, The Beekeeper’s success means The Beekeeper 2 is likely to happen.

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