Successful Movie Franchises With the Most Entries
Movie franchises are all the rage today, but many have been around for decades longer than the ones we'd consider the most relevant. As a medium, film has been around for over one hundred years now — that's plenty of time for these film franchises to rack up all kinds of high numbers. From mutant monsters to mutant humans to magic humans to magic carpets, these are the longest-running, highest-grossing movie franchises on record.
It's strange that a series of films about machines that turn into other machines has been so successful throughout the 21st century, but here we are: the Transformers movies. Spearheaded by action movie director extraordinaire Michael Bay, the franchise has surpassed plenty of (far more sensible) series.
The DC Extended Universe
Regardless of their initial struggle to keep up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe has found success largely through untethering their superhero films from each other. From Aquaman to Shazam! to the upcoming Suicide Squad soft reboot, DC is finally doing great.
Ridley Scott may have passed the torch to other filmmakers when it came to the Alien sequels, but the prequel franchise that began with 2012's Prometheus is still very much his. The franchise's future is unclear, but its (incredibly successful) past is undisputed.
What started off as a modest, low-budget sports drama back in the late 70s has evolved into a sprawling, globe-spanning series of boxing epics. Starring Sylvester Stallone as the titular Rocky Balboa, the Rocky franchise and its spinoff series, Creed, haven’t slowed at all.
Four separate film series over the course of the past two decades might seem confusing, but it hasn’t turned away moviegoers — Peter Parker, Miles Morales and the rest of the Spider-Men have made a place for themselves that other superheroes can only dream of.
Nestled among superheroes, super fast cars and supernatural worlds is Tyler Perry's Madea, a tough, elderly grandma alter ego who has starred in a whole smorgasbord of films, plays and television shows. It might be surprising to some people, but the Madea films are record-breaking.
Planet of the Apes
After Disney's acquisition of Twentieth Century Fox, it was announced that the newly-combined studios would be pursuing more Planet of the Apes films — even though the former just finished an Apes prequel trilogy that was almost universally praised.
The Fast and the Furious
While Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw was a very different beast compared to the other Fast and Furious films, it still counts as an entry in the ever-expanding series. At nine films in total so far (counting both Tokyo Drift and Hobbs & Shaw) the F&F universe isn't going to hit the brakes.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Harry Potter fans were distraught when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 hit theaters back in 2011. The thrilling conclusion to an eight-film series, the movie was truly devastating for Harry Potter loyalists, both as a finale for the characters and the films.
Batman is and always will be one of the most highly-regarded comic book characters because of the gritty realism that the caped crusader's films often bring to the table. As the DC comic book films continue to try and find footing against the MCU, more Batman is sure to come.
The Star Wars franchise is a confounding one, with six films being released over the course of almost thirty years and then six more being put out in half that time (if you include spinoffs).
While the future of the X-Men franchise is unclear in the wake of 20th Century Fox's sale to Walt Disney Studios, there's no doubt that the comic book series has come a long way since its first film back in 2000.
Before J.J. Abrams helmed the first and third entries in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, the former TV showrunner was completely changing the way Trekkies and those unfamiliar with the U.S.S. Enterprise looked at the Star Trek universe.
Disney Live Action Reimaginings
Disney’s current collection of live-action remakes can trace themselves back to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland remake, although they weren’t originally conceived of as a series per se.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe
Marvel Studios kicked off their record-breaking Cinematic Universe with the one-two punch of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk in 2008. With a combined profit of nearly $850 million worldwide, there was no doubt that Tony Stark and friends had a bright future.
Despite being played by a whole slew of actors throughout the years, Ian Fleming’s iconic British spy James Bond has endured decades upon decades of death-defying espionage across all seven continents. With No Time to Die’s release in 2020, the franchise is set at 26 films.
With the arrival of Godzilla vs. Kong in the fall of 2020, the film series that tracks the brutal history of Japan’s most instantly-recognizable radioactive lizard will have reached 36 entries across Asia and America. This means Godzilla is the largest continuously running film franchise.