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'Anchorman,' 'Sopranos,' 'Gilmore' fans yearn for second acts

By Natalie Avon, Special to CNN
Fans have been hoping for an "Anchorman" sequel since the movie was released in 2004.
Fans have been hoping for an "Anchorman" sequel since the movie was released in 2004.
  • Studios are being selective, only producing movies that are likely to turn a profit
  • Canceled television shows like "Veronica Mars" and "Gilmore Girls" have vocal fan bases
  • The Internet magnifies campaigns to get canceled television shows in theaters

(CNN) -- By now, we know it wasn't our cable that went out during the finale of "the Sopranos." Instead, we'll forever wonder what happened to Tony Soprano every time we hear that Journey song. That is, unless they make a "Sopranos" movie.

It's not that there's a shortage of mega-hit movies coming out of Hollywood; it's that fans -- and, in some cases, stars -- can't seem to let go of their favorites.

"We're just a bunch of hoarders," said Stu VanAirsdale, editor of Movieline. "We can't shake off this junk that we've been accruing for decades. It makes us feel safe."

It is this attachment to canceled television shows and movies that makes fans beg for a chance to see their favorite characters in theaters.

"The desire to see these things become larger than life on the big screen is indicative of the unwavering support these fans have," said Omar Moore, editor of the Popcorn Reel and a contributor to Roger Ebert's new PBS television show. "They identify very strongly with the characters, and they don't want that to die, no matter what a studio says."

Popular movies like "Anchorman" and "Kick Ass" and canceled television shows like "Veronica Mars" and "Gilmore Girls" have a vocal fan base, launching internet petitions and Twitter campaigns. Although the fans are rowdy, the internet can cloud exactly how many of them there are.

"It's really no more than a few thousand people here or there that are kind of holding this torch," VanAirsdale said. "But because they have the internet and they can angle their cause in a way that makes the media pay attention, it just looks like a bigger crusade than it actually is."

Therein lies one of the reasons these films aren't getting made: Studios can't guarantee enough tickets in order to make the movie profitable, something that's become more crucial in these economic times.

"The studio has to be a lot more sensible and discriminating, at least in some cases, in what it chooses to bank roll or not to bank roll," Moore said. "They have to look at the bottom line."

There's no telling which movies studios will actually choose to make, but it sure doesn't seem like fans will stop soliciting any time soon.

We delve into some of the movies with more potent appeal:

"Anchorman" (2004)

Ron Burgundy, Veronica Corningstone and Brian Fantana imprinted plenty of one-liners ("Milk was a bad choice") on a young, internet-savvy fan base.

"The people who love it are attracted to elements in that film that really stay with them," Moore said. "That promotes and provokes them into going ahead to try to provoke sequels."

VanAirsdale speculates that the stars' profiles and earnings have grown so much since the first film was released that the studio can't afford to make a sequel that would profit.

Adam McKay, director of "Anchorman," tweeted in April that even though they cut down the budget, Paramount passed on the sequel.

"They can take their salaries down however much they want," VanAirsdale said, "but next to nothing is still more than the studio wants to spend."

"Arrested Development" (2003-06)

Fans were left dazed and disappointed when the wacky Bluth family was pulled off the air after just three seasons.

"I think more than ever, the character is the driving force for a lot of these fans," Moore said. "It's the whole feeling that they can connect to the characters and the series."

And who couldn't connect with never-nude Tobias, Mama's boy Buster and cousin-loving George Michael?

Fear not, fans; though rumors have been teasing followers since the show's end, Will Arnett told GQ magazine in July that an "Arrested Development" movie is happening, and he and Mitch Hurwitz have started the script.

A rep for Fox says the studio is waiting on the script from Hurwitz, so only time will tell when this long-anticipated movie will finally hit theaters.

"Gilmore Girls" (2000-07)

There's something about the believability in Rory and Lorelai Gilmore's mother-daughter relationship that made fans fall in love with the series -- perhaps a little too much.

Even after seven seasons, fans are demanding an encore, and Lauren Graham told Vanity Fair that it's actually a possibility, with powerful people talking about it, not just the fans.

Yet Graham went on to say that she's not sure "Gilmore Girls" could fill a two-hour time slot.

"What might be a hit on television might not be something they want to consider for the big screen," Moore said. "But if fans continue to push these things, you never know."

"Sopranos" (1999-2007)

Through six seasons and one very abstract ending, some fans were left unsatisfied and in need of closure in the form of a movie.

Edie Falco, better known to fans as Carmela Soprano, told the Hollywood Reporter in August that she doesn't think the movie will happen... but she wouldn't rule it out.

The possibility of trip down "Sopranos" memory lane doesn't seem likely to Moore, either.

"The 'Sopranos' has such a great appeal on cable television and on HBO, and that's where that niche will stay," he said. "Studios might not think they can squeeze anymore juice or mileage out."

HBO said there is certainly nothing in the works at this point.

"Veronica Mars" (2004-07)

Kristen Bell has made it quite clear that she wasn't ready for "Veronica Mars" to end, and her fan base wasn't ready, either.

The star launched a Twitter campaign this month, urging fans to "send petitions & any obsessive behavior you have to @wbpictures & demand the film." But she didn't stop there.

Bell told the Hollywood Reporter that she would finance "Veronica Mars" herself if Warner Bros. would release the property rights.

"I don't really think there are that many people that are pining for a 'Veronica Mars' movie besides a few diehard fans and the star," VanAirsdale said. "The show went off the air for a reason."

Try explaining that to Kristen Bell.