Movie franchises are big business – here are the top five most successful franchises of all time in terms of box office takings.
1. The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Although it seems rather unfair to lump all 12 of the Marvel films in together, they’re technically all part of the same franchise, making them the clear winner with more than $9 billion generated so far. The highest-grossing film in the franchise so far is The Avengers, which took more than $1.5 billion.
2. Harry Potter
To date, eight films have made as part of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter universe. Altogether these films have taken over $7.5 billion, and with at least two more films in the pipeline, this cinematic behemoth looks set to break more records over the next few years.
The more recent Bond films account for most of the success of the franchise: for example, Skyfall (2012) took more than $1.1 billion alone, which is a significant chunk of the $6.3 billion the franchise has amassed in total so far.
4. The Lord of the Rings
Peter Jackson’s Tolkien franchise consists of three Lord of the Rings films and three Hobbit films that, altogether, have taken a total of around $5.9 billion. The most financially successful individual film in the franchise is 2003’s The Return of the King, which accounts for a massive $1.1 billion of the total.
5. Star Wars
Perhaps surprisingly, Star Wars is only in fifth place at the moment, but this may well change over the few years as more releases are planned. The franchise’s running total is currently around the $4.5 billion mark.
2002’s Spider-Man (directed by the legendary Sam Raimi) started a new trend for comic book movie adaptations. Since the, the Spider-Man franchise has amassed very nearly $4 billion, with Raimi’s final film, Spider-Man 3 the most successful single movie with a box office total of $890 million.
7. The Fast and the Furious
Consisting of eight movies so far, Fast and Furious is one of the more surprising franchise successes of recent years. Fast and Furious 7 took more than $1.5 billion of the franchise’s $4 billion total. This is a film series that seems to become more successful as time goes on, bucking the trend of most movie franchises.
They may not be the critics’ favourite films but people like them enough to have spent the best of part of $3.8 billion on seeing them at the flicks. Dark of the Moon (2011) took an amazing $1.1 billion worldwide.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean
A total revenue of over $3.7 billion is pretty impressive for a series of movies based on a theme park ride, but that’s what the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise took in just eight years.
Also around the $3.7 billion mark is the Batman franchise, which goes all the way back to 1989. However, the bulk of the money is down to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy (particularly The Dark Knight Rises), which took more than $1 billion in its own right.