The Most Successful Movie Franchises of All Time

The world of cinema has seen many movie franchises come and go. While many break box offices, only a few are able to maintain their popularity throughout the decades. Here are a few of our favorites:

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$27.98 billion for the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Out of all the movie franchises, we have one that is so far ahead of the box office that it is nearly hard to replace it. It undoubtedly helps that the franchise has produced over two dozen films, but that doesn’t mean that each of those films isn’t an economic success on its own. From Iron Man in 2008 to Thor: Love and Thunder in 2022, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has proven that there are more stories to be told. Even while some fear that the cosmos is becoming too complicated for its own good, the $27.98 billion level indicates that they are not going away anytime soon.

Star Wars — $10.31 billion

Nine films generating more than $10.31 billion and being nominated for Academy Awards at some point – this is as unambiguous evidence of critical and financial success as one can get. We wonder if George Lucas intended for a 1970s sci-fi film to become a pop-cultural sensation. With three unique cinematic trilogies and another projected trilogy on the horizon, it’s safe to predict that Star Wars will remain on this list for the foreseeable future.

Spider-Man — $9.8 billion

It was only recently that the Spider-Man franchise surpassed Harry Potter as the third highest-grossing film franchise. It’s all because of the recent release of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which has earned over $1.53 billion globally. Although Kevin Feige stated that a fourth MCU Spider-Man film is in the works, it’s unclear how it will pan out given the continuing feud between Disney and Sony. Despite the turmoil and disagreements, Spider-Man still ranks third with almost $9.8 billion in earnings.

Wizarding World — $9.66 billion

The huge popularity of the Harry Potter book series foreshadowed the success of the films when Warner Bros. opted to adapt them. 11 Wizarding World films have grossed over $9.6 billion at the global box office. The films’ four directors (Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, and David Yates) each put their own take on the style and storytelling. The Fantastic Beasts series is a fantastic spin-off and prequel, but we’d love to see a series focused on the Marauders’ time at Hogwarts.

Bond — $7.83 billion

From 1962 to 2021, Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig all played James Bond. This equates to 27 films grossing more than $7.83 billion globally. Despite some criticism of the franchise’s narrative themes, it is undeniable that Bond is the most famous espionage character in cinema history. The level of anticipation around the next James Bond is a measure to the franchise’s durability.

The Avengers — $7.76 billion

We all know just how enormous the MCU is, but you still have to agree that four films alone grossing over $7.76B is more than astounding. Has anyone ever viewed the Avengers quadrilogy apart from the other films? Is it still coherent? It’s often melancholy to remember what it was like back in 2012 when everyone had their own floor in the Avenger’s Tower. But we must realize that this chapter is now closed – at least for the time being. More Avengers team-ups and formations are unavoidable as new MCU heroes join the fray.

These movie franchises are available on various streaming platforms.