What are the best Hollywood movie franchises

Film Series: The 100 Greatest Film Franchises of All Time

Often a story has not yet reached the end or the franchise and characters still have potential for new offshoots. And so it happens quite often in Hollywood that a sequel becomes many and a popular franchise emerges. While the film industry is often accused of producing sequels or reboots out of pure greed for profit, fans in particular are looking forward to the next chapter in a film series and the expansion of their favorite universe.

1. Marvel Cinematic Universe

Box office income: $ 22.5 billion


It all started in 2008 with “Iron Man”. The weapons manufacturer Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is kidnapped by terrorists and is forced to build a missile. To save himself, he creates his first Iron Man armor and becomes a hero during the course of the film. A short time later, Hulk, Captain America and Thor received their own films before the heroes then together saved the world in "Avengers" (2012).

To avoid bankruptcy, Marvel sold the film rights to the greatest characters in the 90s. About a decade later, their own film studio Marvel Studios is founded and the risky attempt is made to create a universe with little-known heroes. Similar to the comics, the heroes should get their own stories as well as meet each other in crossovers. While the first films were only relatively successful, "Avengers" then became a box-office hit with grossing approximately 1.5 billion dollars. The greatest film franchise in history was born. Black Panther, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and many more got their own series of films. A large-scale story emerged under the pen of Kevin Feige, which initially ended with "Avengers: Endgame" and "Spider-Man: Far From Home". With grossing 2.8 billion, “Endgame” is the most successful film of all time. Several films per year are planned from now on. So the MCU continues to grow.

2. Star Wars

Box office income: $ 10.3 billion


Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the Jedi are the keepers of peace. But a dark threat in the form of a Sith Lord threatens to destroy this peace. According to a prophecy, the young Anakin Skywalker is the chosen one to strike the balance between light and dark.

In 1977 film history was made with “Star Wars”. The story of Luke Skywalker became a mass phenomenon overnight. "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" immortalized the franchise. But it was precisely the popularity of the first trilogy and the too high expectations for new films that put the film series in a bind.

Not only the prequels, but also the current films were viewed with mixed feelings. But spin-offs and series like "The Mandolorian" are loved by fans and eagerly awaited. The box office box office results also speak for themselves!

3. Harry Potter

Income: $ 7.2 billion


The orphan boy Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) grows up with his closest relatives, the Dudleys. For the rest of his life they let him feel that he is not welcome. Then invitations to the Hogwarts Magic School flutter into the house and Harry's life changes suddenly.

J.K Rowling's novels were bestsellers and enchanted readers all over the world. The magic of a book series is seldom captured by the film adaptations. But the creators have succeeded in bringing the world around Hogwarts to the screen and luring the wizard's fans into the cinemas.

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter saga remains one of the best-selling literary series of all time and an indomitable giant in pop culture. Thanks to ingenious marketing and an infinitely loyal fan base, this success was carried over to the films with absolute ease. Of the 10 films that were made in the so-called "Magic World" (eight Harry Potter films and two Fantastic Beasts films), nine belong to the ten films with the highest grossing prices in the year of their release.

4. Spider-Man

Income: $ 7.2 billion


During a school trip to a laboratory, young Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is bitten by a genetically modified spider and gains superhuman strength. Great strength follows great responsibility and so Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man.

The formula for today's comic book adaptations was created with the first Spider-Man film by director Sam Raimi. Even today, the series is still very popular and will not be forgotten. The Spider-Man trilogy grossed nearly $ 2.5 billion worldwide, and since the title remains the largest Marvel film franchise to which Sony Pictures owns the rights, a restart was inevitable. The Amazing Spider-Man duology was less financially successful, but thanks to a partnership with Marvel Studios, a new age of Peter Parker was born and financial success followed with Spider-Man: Homecoming.

5. James Bond

Income: $ 7.1 billion


After he has earned his license to kill, agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) is set on the criminal LeChiffre and is supposed to prevent the money from falling into the hands of terrorists in a poker game. But actually it all started much earlier. As early as 1962, Sean Connery was featured as 007 in “Dr. No ”can be seen on the screen.

In terms of the number of films, James Bond is the only film series that can keep up with the MCU. The 25th film "No Time to Die" will be released in November 2020 in cinemas. For Daniel Craig this is the fifth and last appearance as 007. But the series, which is almost 60 years old, has a long tradition and can inspire new fans with every iteration. Speculations about the next actor are already on everyone's lips. The franchise is and will remain modern and immortal and is enormously adaptable.

6. Batman

Box office income: $ 6 billion


As a young boy, Bruce Wayne witnessed his parents being shot by a thief. The darkness and feelings of revenge get bigger and bigger over the years. At a secret society, Bruce (Christian Bale) learns to focus his anger and fears and becomes Gotham's avenger: Batman.

Batman has always been one of the most popular heroes in comic book and film history. Tim Burton's 1989 film Batman was the second-highest-grossing film of the year. The real success, however, brought Christopher Nolan to life with the Dark Knight Trilogy. In addition to the posthumous Oscar win for Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight was the first Batman film to gross over $ 1 billion worldwide. With his realistic approach, director Christopher Nolan succeeded in a completely modern reinterpretation of the character. The highlight of the series is undoubtedly "The Dark Knight", which is still described by many as the best superhero film of all time.

7. X-Men

Box office income: $ 6 billion


The X-Men franchise has taken a curious development since its debut in 2000 (grossing just under $ 300 million worldwide): There was the original trilogy, then a precursor series that spanned multiple universes and that featured the young and old Professor Xs and Magnetos met, but there were also three Wolverine films and now two Deadpool films. The fate of this film series remains uncertain as the takeover of 20th Century Fox by The Walt Disney Company was completed. Will the X-Men join the MCU or will they remain their own independent film franchise? Be that as it may, another box office success seems certain.

8. Fast & Furious

Income: $ 5.8 billion


The young police officer Brian O'Conner is smuggled undercover into the street gang of Dom Toretto. Brian tries to gain the gang's trust, but falls in love with Dom's sister Mia. Soon he no longer knows which side he is on.

What started with a relatively small film quickly developed into one of the most lucrative film series in the world. After a bumpy start, the franchise has been at full throttle since Part 4 and is generating excitement with a cool cast, led by Vin Diesel, and absurd action. Even Helen Mirren and Oscar winner Charlize Theron wanted to be part of the fun. The franchise remains particularly popular in China, where the eighth film, The Fate of the Furious, remains the film with the sixth highest sales in the country. The series is slated to end in its tenth film, but a spin-off focused on the character of Dwayne Johnson was released back in 2019 under the title Hobbs & Shaw. So the Fast & Furious franchise will be around for a long time to come.

9. The Lord of the Rings

Income: $ 5.8 billion


Thousands of years ago, the dark ruler Sauron forged a magical ring to suppress Middle-earth. The ring has now appeared again and Bilbo Baggins bequeathed one ring to his grandson Frodo (Elijah Wood). There is only one way to prevent the fall of Middle-earth. One ring must be destroyed in the fires of Mordor.

For a long time, the story by J.R.R Tolkien was not considered filmable. Until then director Peter Jackson ventured into the epic and created one of the greatest film series of all time. The fantasy world immediately caught on with many moviegoers and is still referred to as the perfect trilogy to this day. About ten years later, the Hobbit trilogy followed, which was similarly successful, but did not come close to the masterpieces. A series based in Middle-earth is already being planned.

10. DC Extended Universe

Income: $ 5.4 billion


Just one year after the successful end of the Dark Knight trilogy, "Man of Steel" came into the cinemas, which embodied the beginning of the DC universe. The planet Krypton is on the verge of extinction. Jor-El (Russel Crowe) manages to put his newborn son in a spaceship and send it to Earth just in time. This fateful decision leads to the creation of Superman.

Granted, DC has some catching up to do with Marvel, both in box office income and the quality of the films. “Man of Steel” and “Batman V Superman” did not go down equally well with everyone, but they now have their hardcore fans. “Wonder Woman” and “Aquaman” were able to inspire the masses and ensured that the DCEU really got off the ground.

11. Jurassic Park

Income: $ 5 billion


Scientists have succeeded in cloning dinosaurs. The multi-billionaire and entrepreneur John Hammond wants to build an amusement park where visitors can see the primeval creatures. But a lot goes wrong during a test run and chaos breaks out. Coupled with science fiction, breathtaking effects and the right cast, the franchise is a guarantee of success. The first trilogy came to an end in the late 90s, before the film series was breathed new life in 2015 with “Jurassic World”. The film grossed a staggering $ 1.6 billion and got a sequel in 2018. The third part of the current series is already planned. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return in Jurassic World: Dominion.

12. Transformers

Box office income: $ 4.8 billion


Michael Bay's handling of many people's childhood nostalgic preferences inspired everything from confusion to amazement to outright anger. But for every claim that Bay's Transformers are the worst movies of all time, there is another box office record. While the franchise may never have had a review rate of over 60% on Rotten Tomatoes (the series average is 29%), that didn't impress viewers. Even as the series lost its popularity in North America, the international audience remained strong. That did not apply to the fifth film, The Last Knight, which achieved the second lowest grossing of all five films, but Paramount Pictures was able to build on old successes with the first spin-off of the Bumblebee franchise.

13. Pirates of the Caribbean

Box office income: $ 4.5 billion


When Disney brought Pirates of the Caribbean into production, the film was a massive risk. It was a live-action (FSK 12) blockbuster, something the studio had never done before, and it was a significant departure from the Disney renaissance they were experiencing at the time. It was also based on a 1960s theme park attraction. Even Disney executives believed it was going to be a flop, but instead it ushered in a new era of live-action success for the company. It probably influenced them to make big money acquisitions like Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm and to this day it is Disney's most stable franchise that they started on their own.

Even if the most recent film, Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge, performed below average compared to its predecessors, a restart of the series is already being considered.

14. I - simply incorrigible

Box office income: $ 3.7 billion


Universal and Illumination Entertainment hit a gold mine when their quirky parody of superheroes became an instant crowd-pleaser. From a median production budget of $ 69 million, the first Despicable Me movie had sales of over $ 546 million in 2010, making it the ninth-highest grossing film of 2010. Three years later, the sequel should be over Grossing $ 970 million and making more money than Thor: The Dark World, Man of Steel, Monsters University, and Fast and Furious 6. Both the third film and the spin-off Minions rose to over $ 1 billion in box office sales. Illumination has brought Disney the most formidable animation competition since Dreamworks' heyday, and that success can be traced back to that franchise.

15. Mission Impossible

Box office income: $ 3.5 billion


Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an agent in the Impossible Mission Force, or IMF for short. In the first part of the series (1996), his team is betrayed and killed. The suspicion falls on Hunt, who is now on the run and tries to prove his innocence.

Without Tom Cruise, the franchise wouldn't be where it is today. Parts 4, 5 and 6 in particular are some of the best action films of all time. The star does all of his stunts himself. Which is impressive when you consider that he is hanging on the outside of an airplane, flies a helicopter himself and has already broken his ankle during a stunt. Parts 7 and 8 are already in production.

The 100 most successful film series of all time places 15 - 100

Many of the series on our list are far from finished. According to fans, some should have initiated the self-destruct sequence long ago. With others, we can't wait to see the next chapter in the cinema.