Hey, remember when they released a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie this past summer? Crazy, right? No hard feelings if you forgot: the second movie in the franchise hit theaters the first weekend in June and promptly tanked, making less than $100 million at the domestic box office despite a nine-figure budget. It’s the sort of showing that could stop a franchise in its tracks, and according to the film’s producers, that is probably exactly what just happened.

Brad Fuller and Andrew Form, the producers behind the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, recently took part in a long conversation with Collider about the success of one of their 2016 sequels (Ouija: Origin of Evil) and the failure of another. Fuller and Form talked openly about their high level of confidence with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows in the days before its release and their complete confusion when their sequel to the blockbuster 2014 film turned out to be a flop.

Even before the movie came out, we were feeling great. And you wake up two days before the movie opens and you go, “Wow, I don’t know if this movie is tracking as well as it should.” Then you hope, and then Thursday night happens and your midnights come in and you’re like, “That’s not what Movie 1 did,” and then sure enough your weekend comes and it’s nowhere near what anyone thought, and it’s nowhere near Movie 1, and, before you know it, it’s over. We’re still so proud of the movie; it just didn’t find an audience. We really don’t know why.

This led Collider to ask the obvious question: given that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was such a surprise disappointment, would Fuller and Form jump back on the horse and try for a third movie? From the sound of it, that franchise is now dead in the water:

I don’t think there’s Turtles 3, but I wouldn’t say there’s never going to be another Turtles movie.

There’s probably a very revealing article to be written comparing Ouija: Origin of Evil to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. While each movie’s predecessor did well at the box office, the bad reviews for Ouija prompted the filmmakers to effectively start from scratch and try to reestablish their franchise from the ground up. Meanwhile, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel was an exercise in not fixing what isn’t broken, with Form and Fuller’s franchise simply pumping more of the same into what they thought was a successful formula. Neither sequel seems destined to beat the box office of the original, but with only one franchise still making money and pleasing fans, the two men would do well to spend some time reflecting on their own success before jumping back into another failure.

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