25 highest-grossing movie franchises: Marvel Cinematic Universe is No. 1 – know where Avatar and the DC Extended Universe stand?

The film landscape has undergone a significant transformation since the turn of the century as the number of film franchises over the past couple of decades have witnessed cinema getting redefined. For a better and more clear insight, there were only seven film series that grossed over $1 billion in worldwide box office collections:

James Bond
Star Wars
Indiana Jones
Rocky
Batman
Jurassic Park
Star Trek

Typically, a franchise is considered to be at least two films that are put together from a common intellectual property. Post 2000, however, has been a completely different story as cinema as a medium has undergone a radical evolution considering Hollywood began embracing the idea of seizing the day with film franchises. Aspects like brand recognition and nostalgia embedded together in a beloved literary property or a well-recognized character added to the momentum of striking a chord with audiences around the world.

Studios have over the years churned out blockbuster after blockbuster with effective marketing irrespective of the season, while solely based on factors like familiarity of pop culture characters already in pre-existence since cinema became an important part of our lives. The same can be said about characters that were introduced in these past two decades and have since been patented as intellectual property by the creators and/or studios.

HIGHEST-GROSSING FRANCHISES AND FILM SERIES

25) THE LION KING

Total worldwide gross: $2,625,456,664
No. of films: 3 (1 live-action and 2 animated series)

The Lion King (2019) – $1,656,943,394
The Lion King (1994) – $968,511,805
The Lion King 1½ (2004) – $1,465

24) THOR

Total worldwide gross: $2,709,021,718
No. of films: 4

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – $853,983,879
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) – $760,928,081
Thor: The Dark World (2013) -$644,783,140
Thor (2011) – $449,326,618

23) FROZEN

Total worldwide gross: $2,740,026,933
No. of films: 2

Frozen II (2019) – $1,450,026,933
Frozen (2013) – $1,290,000,000

22) THE HUNGER GAMES

Total worldwide gross: $2,968,191,442
No. of films: 4

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) -$865,011,746
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)- $755,356,711
The Hunger Games (2012) – $694,394,724
The Hunger Games:: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015) – $653,428,261

21) ICE AGE

Total worldwide gross: $3,217,251,681
No. of films: 5

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) – $886,686,817
Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012) – $877,244,782
Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006) – $661,483,908
Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) – $408,579,038
Ice Age (2002) – $383,257,136

20) TOY STORY

Total worldwide gross: $3,269,996,326
No. of films: 5 (4 main series and 1 spin-off)

Toy Story 4 (2019) $1,073,394,593
Toy Story 3 (2010) $1,066,970,811
Toy Story 2 (1999) $497,366,869
Toy Story (1995) – $373,554,033
Toy Story/Toy Story 2 re-released in (2009) in (3D) – $32,284,600
Lightyear (2022) – $226,425,420

19) THE TWILIGHT SAGA

Total worldwide gross: $3,346,157,056
No. of films: 5

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012) – $829,746,820
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011) – $712,205,856
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009) – $709,711,008
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010) – $698,491,347
Twilight (2008) – $393,616,788
Twilight / New Moon Combo (2010) – $2,385,237

18) MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

Total worldwide gross: $3,570,477,227
No. of films: 6

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) – $791,115,104
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) – $694,713,380
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015) – $682,714,267
Mission: Impossible 2 (2000) – $546,388,105
Mission: Impossible (1996) – $457,696,359
Mission: Impossible III (2006) – $397,850,012

17) SHREK

Total worldwide gross: $3,921,204,719
No. of films: 6 (4 main series and 2 spin-offs)

Shrek 2 (2004) – $928,760,770
Shrek the Third (2007) – $798,958,162
Shrek Forever After (2010) -$752,600,867
Shrek (2001) – $484,409,218

Puss in Boots (2011) – $554,987,477
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) is currently running in cinemas – $401,488,225

16) PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

Total worldwide gross: $4,522,015,850
No. of films: 5

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) – $1,066,179,747
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) – $1,045,713,802
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007) – $960,996,492
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017) – $794,861,794
Pirates of the CaribbeanL:The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) – $654,264,015

15) DESPICABLE ME

Total worldwide gross: $4,647,748,873
No. of films: 5 (3 main series and 2 spin-offs)

Despicable Me 3 (2017) – $1,034,800,131
Despicable Me 2 (2013) – $970,761,885
Despicable Me (2010) – $543,113,985

Minions (2015) – $1,159,444,662
Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022) – $939,628,210

14) TRANSFORMERS

Total worldwide gross: $4,853,126,073
No. of films: 7 (5 Michael Bay series and 1 prequel spin-off)

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) – $1,123,794,079
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) – $1,104,054,072
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) – $836,303,693
Transformers (2007) – $709,709,780
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) – $605,425,157

Bumblebee (2018) – $467,989,645

The Transformers: The Movie (1986) – $6,469,244

13) AVATAR

Total worldwide gross: $5,142,280,740
No. of films: 2

Avatar (2009) – $2,922,917,914
Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) is currently running in cinemas – $2,219,362,826

12) MIDDLE-EARTH

Total worldwide gross: $5,955,156,289
No. of films: 7

The Lord of the Rings series

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – $1,146,457,748
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) – $947,944,270
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – $898,204,420

The Hobbit series

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) – $1,017,030,651
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) – $959,027,992
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)- $956,019,788

The Lord of the Rings (1978) – $30,471,420

11) JURASSIC PARK

Total worldwide gross: $6,004,618,796
No. of films: 6

Jurassic World trilogy

Jurassic World (2015) – $1,671,537,444
Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom (2018) – $1,309,484,461
Jurassic World : Dominion (2022) – $1,001,978,080

Jurassic Park trilogy

Jurassic Park (1993) – $1,034,199,003
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – $618,638,999
Jurassic Park III (2001) – $368,780,809

10) X-MEN

Total worldwide gross: $6,085,517,330
No. of films: 13

Main series

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)- $747,862,775
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) – $543,934,787
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) – $459,359,555
X2 (2003) – $407,711,549
X-Men: First Class (2011) – $353,624,124
X-Men (2000) – $296,339,527
Dark Phoenix (2019) – $252,442,974

Deadpool series

Deadpool 2 (2018) – $785,046,920
Deadpool (2016) – $783,112,979

Wolverine series

Logan (2017) – $619,021,436
The Wolverine (2013) – $414,828,246
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – $373,062,864

The New Mutants (2020) – $49,169,594

9) DC EXTENDED UNIVERSE

Total worldwide gross: $6,219,427,720
No. of films: 11

Aquaman (2018)- $1,148,528,393
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – $873,634,919
Wonder Woman (2017) – $821,847,012
Suicide Squad (2016) – $746,846,894
Man of Steel (2013) – $668,045,518
Justice League (2017)- $657,924,295
Black Adam (2022) – $392,952,111
Shazam! (2019) – $365,971,656
Birds of Prey (2020) – $205,358,461
Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) $169,601,036
The Suicide Squad (2021) -$168,717,425

8) FAST & FURIOUS

Total worldwide gross: $6,619,477,268
No. of films: 9

The Fast Saga

Furious 7 (2015) – $1,515,341,399
The Fate of the Furious (2017) – $1,238,764,765
Fast & Furious 6 (2013) – $788,679,850
F9 (2021) – $726,229,501
Fast Five (2011) – $626,137,675
Fast & Furious (2009) – $363,164,265
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) – $236,350,661
The Fast and the Furious (2001) – $207,283,925
Tokyo Drift (2006) – $158,468,292

Hobbs & Shaw (2019) – $759,056,935

7) BATMAN

Total worldwide gross: $6,841,439,682
No. of films: 17

The Dark Knight trilogy series

The Dark Knight Rises (2012) – $1,081,169,825
The Dark Knight (2008) – $1,006,234,167
Batman Begins (2005) – $373,672,993

Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher series

Batman (1989) – $411,556,825
Batman Forever (1995) – $336,567,531
Batman Returns (1992) – $266,832,411
Batman & Robin (1997) – $238,235,915

Joker (2019) – $1,074,458,282

DC Extended Universe

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – $873,637,528

The Batman (2022) $770,945,583
The Lego Batman Movie (2017) – $311,950,384
Catwoman (2004) – $82,102,379
Mask of the Phantasm (1993 – $5,617,391

DC Universe Animated Original Movies

The Killing Joke (2016) -$4,462,034
Batman and Harley Quinn (2017) – $39,091

1960s TV series

Batman: The Movie (1966) – $3,900,000
Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) – $57,343

6) AVENGERS

Total worldwide gross: $7,767,486,137
No. of films: 4

Avengers: Endgame (2019) – $2,797,501,328
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – $2,048,359,754
The Avengers (2012) – $1,518,815,515
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – $1,402,809,540

5) JAMES BOND

Total worldwide gross: $7,832,963,216
No. of films: 27

Eon series

Never Say Never Again (1983) – $160,000,000
Casino Royale (1967) – $41,744,718

Daniel Craig series

Skyfall (2012) – $1,108,569,499
Spectre (2015) – $880,674,609
No Time to Die (2021) – $774,153,007
Casino Royale (2006) – $616,502,912
Quantum of Solace (2008) – $586,090,727

Pierce Brosnan series

Die Another Day (2002) – $431,971,116
The World Is Not Enough (1999) – $361,832,400
GoldenEye (1995) – $352,194,034
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – $333,011,068

Roger Moore series

Moonraker (1979) – $210,300,000
For Your Eyes Only (1981) – $194,900,000
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – $185,400,000
Octopussy (1983) – $183,700,000
A View to a Kill (1985) – $152,400,000
Live and Let Die (1973) – $126,400,000
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) – $98,500,000

Sean Connery series

Thunderball (1965) – $141,200,000
Goldfinger (1964) – $124,900,000
Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – $116,000,000
You Only Live Twice (1967) – $101,000,000
From Russia with Love (1963) – $78,900,000
Dr. No (1962) – $59,500,000

Timothy Dalton series

The Living Daylights (1987) – $191,200,000
Licence to Kill (1989) – $156,200,000

George Lazenby series

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) – $64,600,000

Never Say Never Again (1983) – $160,000,000

Casino Royale (1967) – $41,744,718

4) WIZARDING WORLD

Total worldwide gross: $7,780,230,231
No. of films: 11

Harry Potter series

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011) – $1,342,359,942
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) – $1,009,046,830
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) – $977,070,383
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007) – $942,201,710
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) – $934,483,039
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) – $896,815,106
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) – $880,684,614
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) – $797,568,607

Fantastic Beasts series

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – $814,038,508
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018) – $654,855,901
Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) – $406,950,844

3) SPIDER-MAN

Total worldwide gross: $9,809,785,040
No. of films: 12

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – $1,921,847,111
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – $1,131,927,996
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – $880,166,924

Raimi series

Spider-Man 3 (2007) – $890,871,626
Spider-Man (2002) – $821,708,551
Spider-Man 2 (2004) – $783,766,341
Spider-Man/Men in Black II (combo) – $6,632,970

Sony’s Spider-Man Universe

Venom (2018) – $856,085,151
Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) – $506,863,592
Morbius (2022) – $167,460,961

The Amazing Spider-Man series

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) – $757,930,663
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) – $708,982,323

Spider-Verse series

Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – $375,540,831

2) STAR WARS

Total worldwide gross: $10,317,244,790
No. of films: 12

Skywalker Saga

Sequel trilogy

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) – $2,068,223,624
Star Wars: EpisodeVIII – The Last Jedi (2017) – $1,332,539,889
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) -$1,074,144,248

Prequel trilogy

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) – $1,027,082,707
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) – $848,754,768
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) – $649,398,328

Original trilogy

Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) – $775,398,007
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – $547,969,004
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983) – $475,106,177

Anthology films

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – $1,057,420,387
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) – $392,924,807

The Clone Wars (2008) – $68,282,844

1) MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE

Total worldwide gross: $28,411,593,122
No. of films: 31

The Infinity Saga

Phase Three

Avengers: Endgame (2019) – $2,797,501,328
Avengers: Infinity War (2018) – $2,048,359,754
Black Panther (2018) – $1,347,280,838
Captain America: Civil War (2016) – $1,153,337,496
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) – $1,131,927,996
Captain Marvel (2019) – $1,128,274,794
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – $880,166,924
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) – $863,756,051
Thor: Ragnarok (2017) – $853,983,879
Doctor Strange (2016) – $677,796,076
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) – $622,674,139

Phase Two

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – $1,402,809,540
Iron Man 3 (2013) – $1,214,811,252
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – $773,350,147
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – $714,421,503
Thor: The Dark World (2013) – $644,783,140
Ant-Man (2015) – $519,311,965

Phase One

The Avengers (2012) – $1,518,815,515
Iron Man 2 (2010) – $623,933,331
Iron Man (2008) – $585,796,247
Thor (2011) – $449,326,618
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – $370,569,774
The Incredible Hulk (2008) – $264,770,996

The Multiverse Saga

Phase Four

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) – $1,921,847,111
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) – $955,775,804
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) is currently running in cinemas – $855,122,977
Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) – $760,928,081
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) – $432,243,292
Eternals (2021) – $402,064,899
Black Widow (2021) – $379,751,655

Phase Five

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023) is currently running in cinemas – $116,100,000* as on Feb. 19

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