Hollywood today is all about franchise filmmaking. Franchise entries generate billions of dollars at the box office and are guaranteed to pull audiences in. So here are the highest-grossing film franchises of all time.
One could argue that Toy Story created a modern animated film. This wholesome series about kids, their love of toys, and the journey of growing up have four installments now. Starting back in 1995, the series’ last entry came out in 2020. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen’s vehicle has grossed $3.04 billion in total.
Beginning in 2002, this franchise about a couple of ancient mammals making their way through the Ice Age is hilarious. Manny the Mammoth, Sid the Sloth, Diego the Saber-toothed Tiger, and various other characters make for great entertainment. And of course, how can we forget Scrat, the loveable, acorn-obsessed saber-toothed squirrel. The franchise has grossed $3.18 billion.
The Twilight Saga
Based on the best-selling books by Stephanie-Meyer, Twilight was a worldwide phenomenon. It introduced two stars to the world who are still going strong; Kristen Stewart, and Robert Pattinson. A total of 5 films were released beginning in 2009 and grossed a total of $3.32 billion.
Shrek’s adventures with his wife, Fiona, and his best friend, Donkey, have grossed big money. There have been 4 installments, and while the last two didn’t generate as much critical buzz, they earned big. At $3.55 billion, the series has become one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time.
It’s amazing that Mission Impossible now has six installments and is still going strong. It’s now become a competition to see what ridiculous stunt Tom Cruise can pull off before he’s seriously injured. Whether it’s climbing the Burj Khalifa, or dangling from a plane in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, he’s done it all. Right now the franchise stands at $3.58 billion.
3 films and one spin-off constitute this lovable children’s franchise. It’s about a supervillain with an army of adorable minions who wants to become the biggest baddie in the world. However, he has his heart changed by a couple of cute little girls he adopts. An unlikely success at the box office, Despicable Me has become one of the highest-grossing film franchises in the world.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp’s Charisma is undeniable in these films. He’s ended up creating one of the most recognizable characters in all of fiction. Captain Jack Sparrow has ruled the hearts of millions for 5 films now. They’ve grossed $4.5 billion.
Michael Bay’s explosion fest has 5 core films and one spin-off. While he’s not going to be directing anymore, they’ve definitely made a name for themselves. Optimus Prime and his friends have minted $4.85 billion at the box office.
When the first one came out, it became the highest-grossing film in the history of the world. Today, the franchise has nearly 6 films; and while none are as iconic as the first, they’re minting money. The T-Rex, the Velociraptors, Sam Neil, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum have made over $5 billion at the box office.
DC Extended Universe
While nowhere near as successful as their rivals on the other side, the DCEU has become one of the highest-grossing film franchises. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aqua Man, Cyborg, The Flash, and Shazam have minted $5.47 billion. More of the films are expected to release soon; so this franchise is nowhere near its end.
Lord of the Rings
The first three changed Cinema. The next three, basically just minted money. However, Lord of the Rings is Peter Jackson’s crowning achievement and remains as the only fantasy franchise to have ever won Best Picture. They’ve also grossed $5.86 billion.
The Fast and the Furious
It’s getting ridiculous how many films this franchise has. However, it’s a formula that is bound to succeed each time. It has fast cars, beautiful women, and muscular men. How can it go wrong? With the tenth installment on its way, the Fast and Furious films are one of the highest-grossing film franchises
Whether you love Keaton, Kilmer, Clooney, Bale, Affleck, or Pattinson, this superhero just keeps on giving. Batman is one of the most popular superheroes in the world. He’s fought killer clowns, master assassins, misanthropic botanists, and lunatic scientists. Yet, he’s not hung his cape up yet. He’s grossed $6.05 billion at the box office.
This franchise is the most hit or miss one on this list. Yet Wolverine and his band of fellow mutants have generated $6.05 billion at the box office. With a reboot coming up soon, the journey of one of the highest-grossing film franchises is far from over.
Since 1962, Bond has been shaking, not stirring, his martinis, and taking out international crime syndicates. He’s also been romancing the most beautiful women on the planet. Whether you love Connery, Moore, Brosnan, or Craig, you probably love James Bond. That’s why he’s earned $7.12 billion.
Often called the most relatable superhero, Spider-Man first swung onto the screen in 2002. He’s been played by 3 actors on film now and he’s more popular than ever. He’s earned over $7.22 billion, making Spider-Man one of the highest-grossing film franchises.
The most popular superhero team of all time now; the Avengers have successfully become the highest-grossing superhero franchise of all time with just 4 movies. They’ve grossed $7.76 billion from just 4 films; one of which was a cinematic event.
This is obviously one of the highest-grossing film franchises. It was such a phenomenon as a book and is continuing to be in movies. The boy wizard and his friends will no doubt continue to enchant for years to come. They’ve grossed $9.19 billion in total.
Arguably the film that defined the word, “Blockbuster”, Star Wars has been a hit every time it’s been released. Even with 11 films, people still want more. Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia have become iconic characters in modern folklore. The franchise has grossed $10.32 billion.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
You probably knew this going in. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the highest grossing film franchises in the world. With 23 films; all of whom are critical and commercial successes, the franchise is in no mood to stop. With Avengers: Endgame, they’ve clinched the crown of the highest grossing film in history. Altogether, they’ve grossed $22.55 billion.
While these film franchises are all big money spinners, none of them are beyond de-throning. The next big franchise may be just around the corner.