Home / Box Office / Forbes Announces the Top 10 Grossing Movie Franchises [LIST]

Forbes Announces the Top 10 Grossing Movie Franchises [LIST]

The Top-Grossing Movie Franchises

If this summer’s Mission:Impossible Rogue Nation reminded us of one thing, it’s that Hollywood loves a sequel. And with good capitalist reason: The fifth installment in Tom Cruise’s special agent series grossed $438 million worldwide, bringing the franchise’s global ticket booth total to $2.54 billion.

That pales in comparison to the most famous special agent of all time, James Bond. The 24 Bond movies to date have grossed $6.1 billion and helped many actors make millions. Among them, most recent signee Daniel Craig, who banked an estimated $27 million to return to our World’s Highest-Paid Actors ranking this year.

Fast and the Furious has expanded upon a key component of Bond movies–fast cars–to lucrative ends. The drag racing phenomenon has become Universal Pictures’ biggest franchise and propelled Vin Diesel to stardom, but it nearly didn’t happen: Diesel turned down the second movie and only agreed to a cameo for the third movie on the condition that he would get to produce any future Fast and Furious films.

Showing some serious showbiz savvy, he also parlayed the bit part to grab from Universal the rights to the Riddick character he’d played in the 2000 sci-fi flick Pitch Black. ‘I got two franchises out of doing four hours’ worth of work,’ Diesel remembers gleefully.

Developing films which already have a built in fan base, either from a book version or prequel, is an important way studios offset risk for projects with budgets that can spiral above $100 million. Once in a while, however, franchises come from elsewhere. Pirates of the Caribbean, which started as a theme park ride at Disney World, has spawned four movies grossing a combined $3.73 billion. A fifth Pirates film, now in production, is due in 2017.

One of the most lucrative properties was born entirely from the imagination of George Lucas. Considering its cult-like following, it might surprise some that Star Wars is not the biggest franchise of all time. Star Wars films have ticketed $4.54 billion to date, making them the fifth-highest grossing franchise ever. That position will be improved upon, however, when the newest installment is released this December.

The top-grossing title franchise title belongs to Marvel Cinematic Universe, whose movies have grossed $8.92 billion to date. This year’s Marvels The Avengers grossed $1.5 billion worldwide singlehandedly, making it the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.

All data comes from Box Office Mojo; wordlwide box office grosses are not adjusted for inflation.

1. Marvel Cinematic Universe  – Worldwide box office gross: $8.92 billion

2. Harry Potter – Worldwide box office gross: $7.72 billion

3. James Bond – Worldwide box office gross: $6.19 billion

4. Lord of the Rings – Worldwide box office gross: $5.85 billion

5. Star Wars – Worldwide box office gross: $4.54 billion

6. Spider-man – Worldwide box office gross: $3.96 billion

7. The Fast and the Furious – Worldwide box office gross: $3.89 billion

8. Transformers – Worldwide box office gross: $3.78 billion

9. Pirates of the Caribbean – Worldwide box office gross: $3.73 billion

10. Batman – Worldwide box office gross: $3.71 billion

About Knox Harrington

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