The Most Successful Movie Franchises
Tue, April 20, 2021

The Most Successful Movie Franchises

With a total number of 28 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the top movie franchise worth more than 18 billion dollars. / Photo credits by Jakub Gojda via 123rf



Movie franchises achieve box office success because they have stories to tell that resonate with many in the audience. While not many franchises can get the adoration of every viewer, having a per-episode installment helps make sure that people have enough time to stew in the material, to really see what it’s about, and to connect with it.

The franchises that do appear to have succeeded are those that continue to thrive to this day regardless of when the last installment was released. Here’s a look at the most successful movie franchises. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Undeniably, on the top of this list is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With a record of 28 films and counting, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a franchise worth $18,263,221,776. Many people know not to be so shocked by this, as Marvel has always proven their box office value with the movies they put out.

According to Mental Floss, a website offering interesting articles, trivia, and facts, despite the number of movies under the cinematic universe (some appearing a little more disjointed than the others), Hollywood still considers it one big franchise. The best performer in the franchise so far was “Avengers: Endgame,” which collected an eye-popping $858 million, according to film news website

With these sky-high records, one would assume Marvel’s got it all. But privately-owned title-lending business Title Max clarifies that Marvel’s not quite close to world domination just yet, especially when the actual biggest media franchise in the world is none other than the Pokemon universe.  



Star Wars

Since it’s the end of the year, Star Wars is coming back again. They just recently released the final trailer for the ninth installment of the sequel trilogy and it has continuously been hyped up ever since. Star Wars as a franchise is big for obvious reasons, with the most noticeable being that its 40-year-old franchise and collection of books, zines, merch, and fanart has kept the interest alive. 

Right now, the Star Wars universe is worth $9,307,186,202 and spans three generations of fans. It’s recently been reported to have been handed to Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who will be making the new trilogy. 

Harry Potter

Harry Potter himself has grown out of Hogwarts but the charm of the book itself is unparalleled, garnering the attention of many even though all the relevant films to the books were finished a long time ago. According to Mental Floss, Harry Potter as a franchise is worth $9,185,046,972 and continues to enamor many fans to this day. It’s probably why Warner Bros. released “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which acts as a prequel to the many things that happened throughout the first seven movies sourced directly from author JK Rowling’s books.

James Bond


Included in the list of most successful movie franchises is James Bond all thanks to Daniel Craig who portrayed the iconic role which gave a significant push on the box office. / Photo credits by TNS Sofres via Flickr

James Bond is such an iconic character for many of us, so much so that regardless of where you live or what your media consumption looks like, and no matter how young you are, you may have already seen the iconic gun barrel sequence that has been the Bond films’ trademark for years. 

Daniel Craig’s James Bond may be the most bankable and critically acclaimed yet, but it’s with a significant push from its $7,077,929,291-worth franchise. 

The Lord of the Rings

This is another one of the old yet still revered and successful franchises out there. The Lord of the Rings has carved itself a spot in Hollywood for its versatility and long-winding epic stories that hit just right for those of us who have a certain kind of wanderlust for the fantasy genre.

According to Mental Floss, when looking closely at the performances of the films, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and the newer “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” are the two biggest moneymakers. “Return of the King” made $1,141,403,341 in 2003, while “The Hobbit” in 2012 made $1,017,003,568. The franchise as a whole has grossed $5,886,273,810.



Though the rights to certain characters have made the X-Men universe less cohesive than Marvel’s, the movies still brought their A-game, getting due recognition from people who grew up loving the stories they had to tell in the comics and eventually watching them on the big screen. 

In recent years, the storyline seems to have a semblance of organization to it, which is a good thing, because it helps Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool” wade into the fray with a wild, wild attitude that oddly just compliments the universe nicely, playing up with it in great contrast. 

Deadpool made a splashing debut in the box office in 2016, amassing $363 million and becoming one of the most memorable X-Men spin-offs ever, especially since it had the opportunity to draw in new fans to the fandom. As a whole, the X-Men universe is worth $5,803,267,631.