Greatest Movie Series
Greatest Film Franchises of All-Time: In general terms,
film franchises are multi-picture stories including some of the same
characters from film to film. Although film series have been around
for many decades (e.g., the Tarzan films, the Sherlock
Holmes films), film franchises really became a major cinematic
fact of life since the 1970s, beginning with the Planet of the
Apes series, the James Bond series-franchise and then
the Star Wars films. The corporate mentality, that began
to look on films as "products," thereby named a series
of films as "franchises."
Films that are considered franchises in this compilation meet most of these criteria:
Franchises: Some Additional Considerations, Qualifications, and Notes:
With the continued release of new films in some of the franchises-series found above, it's difficult to say when any one franchise has attained #1 status, although recently Harry Potter has ultimately ended up being the most commercially-successful movie franchise of all time, beating even James Bond and Star Wars. Recently, the trend in movie-making has been away from franchise sequels (with numbers in the film title) to "origin stories" or reboots of the original, such as Batman Begins (2005) or Star Trek (2009) - including some with original titles, such as X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) or Terminator Salvation (2009). Although it has been expected that a series of franchise films will secure box-office success, not all successful first films have generated profitable sequels (with the hopes of becoming franchises) - i.e. Jaws: The Revenge (1987), Caddyshack II (1988), Son of the Mask (2005), and Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (2005) are but a few examples.
Not every film franchise has been included here, such as the Mad Max films, the Pink Panther series, the Thin Man series, the National Lampoon films, the Saw films, the Scary Movie films, the Final Destination films, Ocean's 11, Rush Hour, The Fast and the Furious, or Predator, due to limits on space, time and applicability.
And in the cases of Home Alone, Rambo and the Jaws and Exorcist franchises (also not included here), each film had a major blockbuster to start (Note: Rambo's second film was the big one), but then dropped off considerably with their next few sequels. However, it was thought important to include lesser franchise films (in terms of revenue), such as Romero's Dead series, the Planet of the Apes series, the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street series, Raimi's Evil Dead films, the Godfather films, and the Tarzan series (with Weissmuller and O'Hara), since all of them have had either longevity and/or unique appeal.
Many of the biggest blockbuster film franchises have not received high marks for film-making quality, with some exceptions (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the first Shrek film, the first two The Godfather films, etc.). Some of the factors that have spelled the end of franchises have included aging stars, the high-salary demands of actors, accelerating expenses, unoriginal and unsatisfactory plot-lines and an over-reliance of CGI and special effects (the Star Wars prequels, for example), and the end of source-materials (such as in the case of the filmed Harry Potter books).
Series-Introduction - Index to All Films | Series-Box Office