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The Summer of the Threequel: The 5 Worst Ever

With Men in Black 3 already in theaters, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted hitting theaters today and The Dark Knight Rises set to open next month, the summer of 2012 has quickly become the Summer of the Threequel. Forget sequels — can studios squeeze one more hit out their franchises?

The critical success of the threequel is often a mixed bag. Yes, additionally sequels often more studios a lot of money, but how often does a threequel either uphold the quality of the franchise or even improve upon it? The Bill Kuchman Chronicle turned to Rotten Tomatoes' ratings system to figure out which five threequels stand as the worst ever ... and which five threequels earned the critics' praise.

A quick note: Franchises that pumped out movies on a yearly basis (Saw, Halloween) or that have built massive franchises without continuity (James Bond) aren't included in this project.

Check out the Top 5 Worst Threequels Ever after the jump. Don't forget to check out the Best 5 Worst Threequels Ever too.

5. Blade Trinity
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 26 percent
Previous installments' ratings: Blade (55 percent), Blade II (59 percent)

Based on their Rotten Tomatoes ratings, the Blade franchise was moving in the right direction, getting better with each installment. Guillermo del Toro had directed Blade II to a good deal of praise, and the franchise had built up a complex mythology, giving David S. Goyer plenty of room to work with when he took the reins of the Blade: Trinity.

Goyer, who has also had a hand in writing each of Christopher Nolan's Batman films, took that room and decided to fill it with Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds, creating a movie with such little impact, the only thing that most people remember is that Reynolds went from Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place to being a jacked action hero yelling the c-word (not crap — the other one that girls really don't like) at Parker Posey.

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4. D3: The Mighty Ducks
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 20 percent
Previous installments: The Mighty Ducks (12 percent), D2: The Mighty Ducks (15 percent)

You have no idea how much it pains me to include any Mighty Ducks installment on this list, but I set the rules, and I gotta play by them. D3: The Mighty Ducks only earned a 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, so that lands it on this list. Oddly enough, the franchise's final film has the best critical rating of any of the the three Mighty Ducks movies.

Honestly, I don't understand why D3: The Mighty Ducks would have such a low rating. I mean, this is the film to establish that if a junior varsity team beats the varsity team, the junior varsity team becomes the varsity team. Got that? Good. It's a rule that I'm pretty sure all high school, prep and collegiate athletic programs now abide by.

My only complaint about D3: The Mighty Ducks was that there wasn't enough Emilio Estevez in it. This is Coach Gordon Bombay we're talking about here, the man who took a ragtag bunch of kids and made them not only District 5 champions, but also coached them to their history Junior Goodwill Games comeback. You can never have enough Emilio Estevez.

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3. Rush Hour 3
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 19 percent
Previous installments' ratings: Rush Hour (61 percent), Rush Hour 2 (52 percent)

Quick, tell me the plot of Rush Hour 3. No? I bet if your life depended on it, you couldn't describe to someone the plot of Rush Hour 3. People bought tickets to the movie and sat in a theater to watch it, but didn't anyone really see Rush Hour 3? I don't think so.

The first two Rush Hour movies were fun (and bearable) movies. Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker had great chemistry, but that couldn't save the third installment. Thankfully plans for a Rush Hour 4 have stalled over the past few years. I think we've all had enough of the duo's awkward culturally misunderstandings.

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2. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 15 percent
Previous installments' ratings: The Santa Clause (80 percent), The Santa Clause 2 (55 percent)

Somewhere there was someone who not only thought The Santa Clause 2 was an excellent movie but also thought that another installment was a no-brainer ... and that that threequel should include Martin Short playing Jack Frost. The Santa Clause is a franchise that should have never been a franchise. Personally, I like the original, and I've never heard anyone say anything bad about it. Tim Allen in a fat suit with a weird craving for cookies and milk? Funny the first time. Not so funny the third time.

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1. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 13 percent
Previous installments' ratings: The Mummy (55 percent), The Mummy Returns (47 percent)

I wasn't surprised at all to find this threequel on the bottom of the list. If there's a threequel that's can be considered more awful than The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, please let me know so I can find it and discover what horrors await me.

This was a completely unnecessary movie. With Rachel Weisz choosing to not return, Mario Bello stepped in to play Evie O'Connell. In a move that would foreshadow her future Prime Suspect role, Bello wore a hat the entire time. Everything about the movie seemed like a random collection of half-baked ideas. Yetis? Cool. Yetis in a Mummy movie that know how to signal when a field goal is good. Awful. Awful, awful, awful.
The Summer of the Threequel: The 5 Worst Ever Reviewed by Bill Kuchman on 6/08/2012 Rating: 5

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