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The 20 Most Successful Film Franchises of All Time

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | November 2, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | November 2, 2010 |

After the release of Saw 3D — the most successful horror movie franchise of all time (let that sink in) — I was curious how it stacked up against the other film series across all genres. Turns out, it’s not in the Top 20. Hell, it’s not even close.

In researching that, I did run across the 20 Most Successful Film Series of All Time (worldwide), which I provide here for education and comment purposes. The only real surprising entry here, I imagine, would be The Mummy series.

1. Harry Potter ($5.4 billion)
2. James Bond ($5.02 billion)
3. Star Wars ($4.27 billion)
4. Shrek ($2.93 billion)
5. The Lord of the Rings ($2.91 billion)
6. Pirates of the Caribbean ($2.68 billion)
7. Batman ($2.58 billion)
8. Spider-man ($2.49 billion)
9. Indiana Jones ($1.97 billion)
10. Toy Story ($1.94 billion)
11. Ice Age ($1.91 billion)
12. Jurassic Park ($1.90 billion)
13. Twilight Saga ($1.79 billion)
14. The Matrix ($1.6 billion)
15. Transformers ($1.54 billion)
16. X-Men ($1.53 billion)
17. Star Trek ($1.44 billion)
18. The Mummy ($1.41 billion)
19. Terminator ($1.402 billion)
20. Mission Impossible ($1.402 billion)

The Saw Franchise: $394 million.

Other notes of interest: On a per film basis, The Lord of the Rings is number one with $937 million per film, while Star Trek ranks last among the top 20 with a little more than $130 million per film. The James Bond series, which is the second highest grossing series also has the second lowest per film average, with $238 million, but there have been 22 Bond films. And in the United States alone, Star Wars outranks The Harry Potter series for the top spot.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.