If there’s anything that almost everybody has seen on earth, it is movies. Movies are what keep everybody on their screen and social media, discussing their favorite characters and storylines.
In this article, though, we list the highest grossing movie franchises of all time.
You noticed we said franchises? and not just one movie. Yes, this will not be your cliche Avatar and End-game list. By franchises, we mean a film series or a collection of films.
Movie franchises represent not just a single movie, and it’s the total money earned by a group of films or a film series.
We can figure out the highest grossing movie franchises by looking at ticket sales of all the series and how they stack up against the rest, forming a list.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 took a massive hit on theaters during 2020 and 2021, but as the tension dies down and many theaters are opening again, we might see massive hits rolling out soon.
But until then, here are what we have;
- 10. Transformers
- 9. Batman
- 8. DC Extended Universe (DCEU)
- 7. Middle Earth
- 6. The Fast and Furious
- 5. X-Men
- 4. Spider-Man
- 3. The Wizarding World
- 2. Star Wars
- 1. Marvel Cinematic Universe
Transformers was produced by toy-making company Hasbro and some other Japanese Toy company Takara Tomy. It started as far back as 1984.
Back then, it began as toys as the two companies began to see real prospects in this franchise.
The movie follows a bunch of living robots – they were called the auto bots and Decepticons who can transform to other forms like vehicles and the rest.
However, the franchise encompasses games, comic books, and even toys. We are talking about movie franchises in this article, so we only look at ticket sales for movies.
This franchise became Paramount’s biggest hit to date, The total six movies that were released generated a total of $4.86 billion in ticket sales, earning it the number 10 spot on our list.
Okay, who doesn’t know Batman? No one, this massively successful franchise is currently owned by DC and has made a groundbreaking $5 billion in ticket sales throughout ten live-action movies and an animated lego movie.
Throughout the Batman franchise, a total number of 6 actors have played the role. Micheal Keaton to Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, the iconic Ben Afleck, and all-new Robert Pattinson.
Although these Batman movies are not interconnected, they all still make up the Batman franchise and have been an extremely profitable one for DC Comics.
8. DC Extended Universe (DCEU)
I think that you should know that DC Comics and DCEU are two different things. DC currently owns the DC Extended Universe, and the DCEU, on the other hand, is a movie franchise centered on superhero characters sharing a single universe.
Launching the DCEU into existence was the hit movie Man of Steel back in 2013. That was when DC moved the franchise into full action.
Over the last six years, nine huge films have been produced since then, gathering a staggering $5.6 billion in ticket sales. Jaw-dropping right? And it’s only the beginning.
More movies are expected to join the lineup in the coming years since people are heading back to the theaters more frequently. Some include Suicide Squad, Black Adam, and even a follow-up Shazam movie. So, fingers crossed, I guess.
7. Middle Earth
Have you ever heard of Lord of the rings? Of course, you have. Six huge films make up the Middle Earth Franchise; Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring, Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers, Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King. And three other Hobbit series.
These six films generated $5.8 billion in ticket sales and were a sensation for decades. Although sadly no other films seem to be in the works, we’ll be on the lookout.
6. The Fast and Furious
I think you already know that The Fast and Furious Franchise would be part of the highest grossing movie franchises even before you started reading.
There are ten fast and furious movies out there now starting since as far back as 2001 and has made a watering $5.9 billion since then at the global box office.
All of the movies in this franchise received mixed reviews here and there, and some thought it was good casting but didn’t like the story so much, while some thought it was excellent overall.
Over the length of all these movies, it has been a massive roller coaster of events, and a lot has happened, one of the major ones being Paul Walker’s death.
He was a significant cast of the franchise. But above all, the movie itself still pulled through, and I guess when you have family, anything is possible.
The original film was released in 2000 by 20th Century Fox, with 13 more movies to follow, making the franchise earn more than $6 billion in ticket sales.
Despite coming from the same comic book company, there’s no interconnection between it and the big daddy MCU.
Because they were made by two different movies studios, they didn’t think to make it part of the MCU. Although that might be changing with the new teases, we’ve been getting from Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailers. We’ll see.
Also, Disney bought all of Fox’s entertainment assets back in 2019 and now has rights to Fantastic Four and X-Men since they also own Marvel. We’ll see what they do with this.
The first movie in the Spiderman franchise was first released in 2002 and became iconic enough to earn its franchise like the batman series.
There’s a total of 8 live-action movies and one animated one; Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. These movies, in total, have gained $6.35 billion in global box office sales.
Unlike Batman needing six actors, the Spiderman series was portrayed by just 3. Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland.
Sony produced the first five movies, so there were no plans for anything MCU. Tom Holland, on the other hand, changed that.
His character was integrated into the MCU with the Avengers lineup and brought his elder brothers with him in his latest Spiderman movie: No Way Home.
Note that it’s only all the Spiderman solo movies that made the $6.35 billion, not all the Spiderman appearances like the Avengers movies.
3. The Wizarding World
The Wizarding World has become one of the highest grossing movie franchises ever since the first movie was launched in 2001.
There are a total of 10 films that makes up the Wizarding World movie franchises and has since made a jaw-dropping $9.18 at the box office. These movies are based on the iconic J.K Rowling’s iconic novel Harry Potter.
Warner Bros has since then explored this Wizarding World universe by making more series like the Fantastic Beasts that helped reach larger audiences around the world, earning it a spot on this list.
2. Star Wars
Of course, Star Wars will be a part of this list. People first heard of Star Wars as far back as 1977! And has since then never gone away from the mouth of the people.
There are nine movies released as part of the Skywalker saga, two were standalone spin-offs movies, and one was animated. And in total, earned a total of $10.2 billion, yes that’s right—$10.2 billion in global ticket sales.
Star Wars was acquired by Disney in 2012 when they bought LucasFilms from George Lucas and brought Star Wars to its current glory.
1. Marvel Cinematic Universe
Big daddy Marvel has the highest grossing movie franchises of all time. With 23 movies released in less than 12 years, the MCU is one of the franchises with the most movies in history.
The MCU began to pave its way to history in 2008 and has been on the rise since then. The MCU has earned $22 billion in global ticket sales, with their Avengers: End Game becoming the highest grossing movie of all time.
The MCU is only getting started, though, as this isn’t even close to the end of the MCU movies. We still have three more lining up for this year and so much more to come.
These are currently the highest grossing movies franchises of all time. However, data might change as more movies under each franchise rollout. Please note this article only takes into account earnings through movie ticket sales, some franchises might earn more from merch, cartoons, and even toys.