One of the movie industry’s mottos is, “Money makes the world go round.” Some of the movies filmmakers serve to the audiences become blockbusters, and others fail to achieve their predicted success. That being the case, professionals have to weigh their cinematic achievements on a scale.
Films that gross highly at the box office get to live on through sequels, while unsuccessful entries fade into oblivion. To celebrate Star Wars Day (May the 4th) and the release of Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, we’ll spotlight the ten best movie franchises. Lights, camera, action!
10. X-Men: 13 Movies Grossing $6.08 Billion
Marvel sure is the favorite of superhero buffs. However, to the surprise of many, a few box office flaps preceded their famous X-Men franchise. For one, the company left fans snoring over spilled popcorn in movie theatres with Howard the Duck – a monotone adaptation of Blade. Then, there was the eerie Punisher, a shared cringe in 2004.
Still, the company changed its bad luck using X-Men voodoo: the success of the franchise’s first film led to 13 other movies. Hot mutants might not be real, but the revenue they brought in for Marvel sure was! Grossing $6.08 billion, the franchise gave a gentle scratch to competitors with its sturdy Wolverine claws. Deadpool 2 was its highest-earning film (over $785 million).
9. DC Extended Universe: 12 Movies Grossing $6.35 Billion
The DC Extended Universe has been Marvel’s most persistent rival for a long time. A film series that tickles everyone’s inner bat, it has borne fantastic movies like Batman v Superman: the Dawn of Justice, but there have also been some misses, like Birds of Prey and Black Adam. Still, no human looks good wearing trunks over tights, but good ol’ Superman does. Kudos to that.
Good or bad, these movies always whet the audience’s appetite for superhero adventures. That said, it is no surprise that the 11 of them have grossed $6.35 billion in total! Here’s what’s a bit odd, however: Aquaman is the highest-grossing movie of the franchise! The fact that the film pulled in $1,14 billion gives you fish scales instead of goosebumps.
8. Fast & Furious: 10 Movies Grossing $6.61 Billion
Fast & Furious proved that bromances built upon street car racing and a shared adrenaline addiction make for rough espionage stories. The first cinematic achievement of the franchise, The Fast and the Furious, steered its filmmakers in the right direction. With $6.61 billion at the box office and 10 films to pamper a worldwide fanbase, the film series is one sassy money tree.
Interestingly, none of the 10 movies is about heroes or wizards eager to save the world. Instead, you get to see wild car chases in the offset of terrorist threats. But it works – the series’ producers clearly didn’t go after the massive revenue with a squeaky cartwheel! That becomes pretty clear once you get familiar with the earnings of Furious 7 ($1,51 billion).
7. Batman: 17 Movies Grossing $6.84 Billion
Not everyone liked the Superman movies from the late ’70s and ’80s, but people were thrilled about Tim Burton’s Batman. However, its popularity wasn’t enough for this franchise to survive the silly sequels, leaving fans underwhelmed. Luckily, Christopher Nolan and his Dark Knight Trilogy managed to pump some life into this flailing genre.
There are 17 movies in this franchise, with Batman: The Movie, the alfa of ‘batty’ films, released in 1966. These movies have earned $6.84 billion, which is normal when you have two fantastic portrayals of an iconic character (the unforgettable Joker) to boast with! And although the highest-grossing installment of the franchise is The Dark Knight Rises (over one billion), we all know who can make us smile when we’re too serious.
6. The Avengers: 4 Movies Grossing $7.76 Billion
Although integral to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one of the best movie franchises ever, The Avengers has its own loyal fanbase worldwide. They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and this series is living proof of that. With only four fantastic movies under its wing, this mini-franchise has grossed $7.76 billion at the box office! Tony Stark and crew – you’ve nailed it, guys!
Interestingly, all four movies made more than a billion, with Endgame going for the trophy with a staggering $2,79 billion in earnings! It turns out that snapping your fingers at Thanos’ face is a great way to get some cash! Judging by the quality of the existing movies, the fifth and sixth Avengers films will spice things up for fans in 2025 and 2026.
5. James Bond: 27 Movies Grossing $7.76 Billion
James Bond – an iconic Hollywood franchise with twice as many films as some of the other movie series on this list. Could British secret agents be the key to a safer world? We don’t know! But we know that the six-decade artistic expression of the filmmakers behind the franchise led to it grossing $7.76 billion at the box office!
It all began with Dr. No, the 1962 installment that starred Sean Connery in the leading role. Although its earnings can’t compare to the income avalanche the later sequels brought upon the series, it marked the start of a super-successful franchise, with the highest-grossing movie being Skyfall (over one billion). If anything can help bridge the gap between different generations, it’s cinematic achievements like these.
4. Wizarding World: 11 Movies Grossing $9.65 Billion
J.K. Rowling’s mind is magical: this author has managed to make us all believe in a universe full of wonders! Her Wizarding World books pull you into Magicland the moment you open them, and so does the movie franchise based on them. Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts has made as much as $9.65 billion by charming viewers from the TV screens.
The highest-earning among the 11 films constituting the series is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 ($1,34 billion). It seems like its producers knew how to use the Expelliarmus spell to ‘disarm’ us of our antagonisms related to the realm of fantasy for at least two hours. If that’s not the closest we can get to wizardly, we don’t know what is.
3. Spider-Man: 12 Movies Grossing $9.81 Billion
It took a prickling spider bite and a bunch of hippity-hopping over and around buildings – and oftentimes into them – to make Spider-Man the most beloved movie character of many. Although he holds a respectable place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the dude is also a franchise on his own! In fact, Spider-Man is one of the most successful single-character series ever!
Sam Raimi did a fine job of directing the 2002 “Spider-Man” film, making the initial contribution to this high-grossing franchise. The most beloved of the 12 films is Spider-Man: No Way Home, pulling in $1,92 billion. Spidey, thank you for letting us soar over the busy streets of New York over the years – your franchise’s success was more than expected!
2. Star Wars: 12 Movies Grossing $10.32 Billion
Star Wars – a classic of classics, a national trademark, one of the world’s greatest treasures. This top-grossing non-superhero franchise comprises 12 outstanding films portraying cult characters and tech inventions. No other movie series has been as successful at popularizing the sci-fi genre as this one. With it, the Force was – that’s for sure.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the granddaddy of mainstreamness, grossing $2,06 billion – a sum one can hardly wrap their head around. It looks like fans were eager to see what would happen 30 years after the battle of Endor! One thing is sure, though – the trilogy is part of and has shaped the world’s cultural heritage.
1. Marvel Cinematic Universe: 31 Movies Grossing $28.77 Billion
One of the best movie franchises to ever exist, the Marvel Cinematic Universe spins a 23-movie-long yarn about the intertwined faiths of our favorite superheroes. And as Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and the rest fight their battles and tame their inner demons, the lively banter of fans echoes throughout movie theaters worldwide. These films leave you craving for more!
Although some might frown upon the plethora of entries in the franchise, arguing how that makes it surpass the gross profits of other series by default, the earnings of individual installments disprove this. That said, Avengers: Endgame is the most successful movie of all the films from the franchises on our list ($2,79 billion)! Marvel is a tough competitor to beat, and its revenue is well deserved.
Your Movie Marathon, Your Rules!
We hope you liked the film franchises on our list. Ultimately, movies are here to make us chuckle, shed some tears, or envy their otherworldly earnings. But, hey, there’s something that can help you get closer to your first billion! It’s Pawns.app, an application great for making money on the side. Download it, and start earning by completing surveys and sharing your unused bandwidth while you’re screaming at Thor not to trust Loki ever again!