Top 10 Popular Movie Franchises

Well-Earned Ranks or Too Overrated?

When it comes to movies, even people who claim not wanting to spend over an hour watching something end up falling in love with at least one, and we are not talking about one movie alone but rather an entire franchise. 

If you ask us, we believe that every person who has had the opportunity to watch at least one film from different franchises has found their favorite in the process and follows, at least a bit, the releases and progress of the company in movies. 

What we are trying to say is: We know you have a favorite franchise; you might just be too shy to admit it or maybe not sure if you could call yourself a fan. 

However, this isn’t really important not because we aren’t interested in what you have to say, but rather because we will always respect your personal taste for the franchises in the industry. 

What we want to introduce you to with all this is something simple: The most popular movie franchises so far. 

Why did we decide to give some coverage to this? Because the cinematic industry is growing every day, it is hard to keep up with all the movies being released, especially by those franchises that have been in it for years and are dominating box offices and conquering people’s hearts. 

So, expect this to be a wild ride, and keep in mind we will consider some main aspects for this top: 

  • Global box office.
  • Popularity among the audience, fans, and people overall. 
  • The numbers are based on the date of this article. 
  • We will go from rank 10 to 1. 
  • Our ranking will count movie franchises as a whole, not individually. For example, Marvel Cinematic Universe and Avengers can be considered individuals, but we will count them as one. 

Pirates of the Caribbean – $4.5 Billion

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Since the debut of “Curse of the Black Pearl” in 2003, Disney has released five more movies globally. 

Based on the hit attraction at Disney World, the film franchise has been going strong to be based on an attraction more than in a novel, book, or any other source. 

The film series is very popular in the U.S., but the majority of its ticket sales came from overseas moviegoers. Its total revenue came to $3 billion from countries outside the U.S.

There have been rumors that Disney plans to produce a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film, but no formal announcements have been made.

However, it isn’t a secret the company has been wanting to release new ones to continue the franchise despite the slow run after the main trilogy from 2003 to 2007, which included the previous film mentioned and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.”

Transformers – $4.8 Billion

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This popular franchise is based on Hasbro’s popular toy line with the same name, and it has been a success for Paramount for the past two decades.

The studio has produced six films in the sci-fi series, with a seventh announced for June 24, 2022.

However, another film has been released that is in the animated category, and it is included in this figure, which was released in 1986 and grossed $5.8 million.

Like the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, the Transformers movie series has enjoyed strong ticket sales worldwide. 

The film’s total box office revenue mostly came from countries outside the U.S. and Canada, accounting for $3.28 billion alone. 

Jurassic Park – $5 Billion

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The first movie in the series was released on June 11, 1993, and was a complete success with a bo office of $1 billion and a budget that was about $63 million only.

The Jurassic Park movie franchise has won 3 Academy Awards with an extra three nominations, including Best Picture. 

There is a total of 6 movies in this franchise so far and with more in the marking despite only an additional one being announced as of this date. 

The movie is set on an island where John Hammond creates a theme park for visitors to see cloned dinosaurs hatched from eggs. It doesn’t take long for all of the science to go wrong and for the world to face dinosaurs not being friendly. 

With the first trilogy being released from 1993 to 2001, the second one came in 2015 with great numbers, being the 2018’s film “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” a complete success with a $1.3 billion box office worldwide.

D.C. Extended Universe – $5.7 Billion

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The DC Extended Universe is a movie franchise that was created as a response to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Although several films have been released based on comic books, the first movie in the franchise (officially) is “Man of Steel,” which was released on June 14, 2013. 

This movie was directed by Zack Snyder and starred Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent. Other movies in this series include “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad,” “Wonder Woman” and “Justice League.” 

While not all of these movies were well-received critically or commercially, they have been fairly successful with audiences – especially “Wonder Woman,” which became one of the highest-grossing movies from this particular franchise domestically, earning $822 million worldwide.

In the coming years, more films will join this franchise. 

There are talks of a Flash movie and another Aquaman film in 2022. A follow-up to “Shazam!” is expected in 2023. As well as the third “Wonder Woman” movie.

Middle Earth – $5.8 Billion

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Middle Earth has a spanning of 6 movies so far, with more on the way. In case you aren’t that familiar with the name of the franchise officially, you might be familiar with this one: “Lord of the Rings,” a movie franchise inspired and based on the novels of J. R. R. Tolkien. 

The first movie was released in 2001 (“Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”) and since then has been one of the most popular movie franchises ever made. 

The story follows Frodo Baggins as he attempts to destroy an all-powerful ring that will allow Sauron to rule Middle Earth as he once did before being defeated by Isildur and Anárion centuries ago. 

Along the way, they are met with many dangers, including orcs, elves, giant spiders, wargs, and this is just to name a few!

X-Men – $6 Billion

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20th Century Fox released 13 films that were set in the X-Men Universe starting in 2000. These films brought in more than $6 billion worldwide at the box office.

This franchise includes “New Mutants,” “Logan,” and both Deadpool films.

Many people don’t know, even when they might like the movies, that because different movie studios made them, the films are distinct from the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

A crossover was not possible between Disney’s MCU films and Fox’s X-Men movies due to the rights for each of the characters. 

When a third Deadpool movie is released under Disney’s banner, this will change since Disney bought Fox’s entertainment assets in 2019 as part of a deal worth $71 billion and is expected to bring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the MCU in future films. 

The Fast and the Furious – $6.6 Billion

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Universal Pictures established this film franchise in 2001, and since then, the studio has produced 11 movies, with a 12th one announced for 2023. 

Internationally, the film series has enjoyed great success due to its diverse cast and locations. The foreign market accounted for $4.2 billion of the global revenue. 

Although most of the films’ plot has changed over the course of the ones released, the first one that was released on June 22, 2001, follows Los Angeles street racer Dominic Toretto. He is under suspicion by the LAPD after a series of high-speed truck robberies rocked the area. 

Officer of the LAPD, Brian O’Connor, joins Toretto’s highly skilled racing crew to help convict Toretto. 

O’Connor falls in love with Toretto’s sister Mia and becomes enamored of this new world., which leads him to a difficult situation: He must decide if he is loyal to who he was supposed to convict or remain as a loyal authority to the country. 

James Bond – $7.1 Billion

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James Bond is perhaps the most successful film franchise in cinematic history, considering how many years it has been running. 

To your surprise (and many people’s as well), 24 James Bond films have been made since 1963 and brought the total worldwide box office previously stated. 

James Bond, like Spider-Man and Batman, is an iconic figure in the film industry. 

Seven actors have played the role of 007: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig, Timothy Dalton, and David Niven (not in order). 

There will be an eight-man hunt after the October release of “No Time to Die,” James Bond’s 25th film starring Daniel Craig, the actual 007 with five movies under his pocket with the character. 

The Wizarding World – $9.2 Billion

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Since 2001, this movie franchise has made history along with the fantasy novels the films are based on by the author J. K. Rowling following the life of our main character, Harry Potter. 

Although the franchise was first known as “Harry Potter” only, we will dig deeper in a bit of why the name has changed. 

The first appearance of our character took place in 2001 with the movie “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” and since then, Harry Potter has grown exponentially.

Warner Bros released eight films that were based on Harry Potter’s time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which are the originals of the franchise and what brought great success. 

However, they’ve also launched a series of films exploring the wider Wizarding World (which brings the current name). 

These films, two of which have been released, are known as the “Fantastic Beasts Series.” 

They follow Newt Scamander’s journey as he becomes embroiled in a long-running battle between Albus Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald, and other characters.

These ten films have brought in $9.21 billion worldwide box office. In the next few years, three more Fantastic Beasts films are expected to be released in theaters.

Star Wars – $10.3 Billion

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Star Wars captured the imagination and attention of a whole generation in 1977 with the innovative idea, great effects, and characters we could all connect with.

And believe it or not, the franchise still dominates the box office more than 40 years later.

Twelve Star Wars films were released theatrically, including nine films that are part of the “Skywalker Saga” and two standalone spinoffs films. One animated feature was also released. 

Disney’s Star Wars universe focus is currently on Disney+ streaming. However, Patty Jenkins was tapped to direct “Rogue Squadron,” a new film that will be released in theaters in 2023. 

The studio also tapped tika Waititi and Marvel’s Kevin Feige to direct their Star Wars films. Rumors have it that Rian Johnson is working on his own trilogy set within the Star Wars universe.

This means we have a long journey ahead and more dominance for the franchise in the global rankings and box office. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe – $23 Billion

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Didn’t you expect it? We bet you did! 

This franchise has been dominating since 2008, and we couldn’t be happier about it (yes, Marvel fans here and very proud of it). 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced 25 films in 13 years. Three of them are at the top 10 of the highest-grossing movies worldwide, being “Avengers: Endgame,” the highest-grossing film in the ranking in 2019 when it was released earlier this year when “Avatar” went for the second release in specific areas to retake its throne.

As a result, it is one of the most successful franchises. Sorry, let’s state that again: The MOST successful one and continues to work on new projects.  After all, there are many more movies in the pipeline.

The MCU has created a complex and interconnected story that spans decades and genres under Feige’s careful supervision. 

With movies like “Captain America,” “Iron Man,” “Civil War,” and many more, where actors like Robert Downey Jr. were involved, people can’t avoid loving them.

The MCU is expected to continue this story with at least 12 theatrical releases over the next five years and at least ten television programs that are affiliated with the main universe.

With the most recent releases of “Black Widow” on July 9 and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” on September 3, 2021, the streaming ones hit the 25 films mark, as previously mentioned. 

However, other nine movies were announced earlier this year with their expected release dates: “Eternals” for November 5, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” for December 17, both in 2021. 

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” for March 25, “Thord: Love and Thunder” on May 6, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” on July 8, and “The Marvels” for November 11, all in 2022. 

Meanwhile, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” will be released on February 17, 2023, followed by “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” on May 5. A Fantastic Four film was announced as well but without further or specific details.

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Which One Is Your Favorite?

Don’t be afraid of letting people know how much you love any of these franchises (or maybe more than one). 

Although we already confessed ourselves to be Marvel fans, we also love the Pirates of the Caribbean and Jurassic Park ones and don’t tell anyone, but also D.C. 

We didn’t mention many of them considering this is a top, but if you like some like the Star Trek franchise, maybe Planet of the Apes, or some specific movies like the ones from “The Dark Knight Trilogy” (“The Dark Knight Rises” was definitely a big hit), or some by Marvel Studios, feel free to express your love to others.

All of them are unique, and although some haven’t won a single award from some of the famous organizations and celebrations, no one can compete with them at the box office worldwide and individual countries. 

Also, as a final piece of information, expect this top to change very soon since the top 10 to 6 are competing a lot to climb more in the ladder.

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Written by Dame Cash

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