Hollywood knows that installments in a franchise can play out big at the box office. When studios see that subsequent versions have not disappointed fans, there are parts 3, 4 and 3D versions of popular films in the works. Here is a list of films going into production with their estimated release dates.
Mission: Impossible IV, starring Tom Cruise with Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille) directing is set to release next year, December 16, 2011.
Batman 3, a sequel to Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, goes into shooting to be released July 20, 2012 There is no official new title. Batman: The Dark Knight set the all-time record with a $158 million opening weekend. The followup will star Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman.
The next Kick-Ass comic book Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall will be serialized over six months while plans for production on the film begin for a release in 2012. No director is set yet.
Matthew Vaughn who directed Kick-Ass, will direct the next X-Men: First Class, set for release June 3, 2011. It will look at the beginnings of the principal characters as young men before they were archenemies.
The Power of the Dark Crystal, a 3D sequel to 1982's The Dark Crystal will be released in 2011, directed by Peter and Michael Spierig ( Daybreakers) and written by Australian Craig Pearce ( Moulin Rouge), according to The Henson Company, creator of The Muppets.
Planet of the Apes will be given a prequel to the story called Rise of the Apes to be released June 24, 2011. The production will use CGI to create digital apes instead of costumed actors like previous versions the sci-fi films. Rupert Wyatt ( The Escapist) directs the film set in San Francisco, depicting the onset of a war for Apes supremacy.
Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom, the third in the animated series of films will be released June 17, 2011 with Jack Black as Po, Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogen and Dustin Hoffman.
The sequel to The Hangover will open June 5, 2011 with the same cast and A Nightmare on Elm Street will be in 3D with Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger again.