Top 10 Best Blockbuster Movie Franchises

Script written by Ryan Barnett. We can’t get enough of these movie worlds: whether it’s Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Andy’s toy box or Gotham City, there are some franchises that get under our skin – and that means big box office paydays as well as big fans. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 best blockbuster movie franchises. For this list, we’ve looked at the list of highest-grossing film franchises and have chosen those series we feel are best in terms of technical and artistic merit, as well as coolness and nostalgia factor. We’ve ranked the list based on a balance between those criteria, the films’ earnings and how consistently badass they’ve stayed over the years.
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Top 10 Best Blockbuster Movie Franchises


We can’t get enough of these movie worlds. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down the top 10 best blockbuster film franchises.

For this list, we’ve looked at the list of highest-grossing film franchises and have chosen those series we feel are best in terms of technical and artistic merit, as well as coolness and nostalgia factor. We’ve ranked the list based on a balance between those criteria, the films’ earnings and how consistently badass they’ve stayed over the years.

#10 – “Mission: Impossible”

Following IMF agent Ethan Hunt as he gets himself in and out of increasingly, well, impossible missions, this franchise has had its ups and downs since it debuted in 1996. But with heart-stopping action sequences, unheard-of stunts and the never-ending star power of Tom Cruise on its side, it’s become one of the most bankable action brands going, and succeeded in eclipsing its source material.

#9 – “Spider-Man”

Peter Parker, his alter ego and friends had a huge following of comic fans; but it was tough to get everybody’s favourite web-slinger off the ground and onto the big screen, with directors like Tobe Hooper and James Cameron trying and failing. Once Sam Raimi gave audiences the opportunity to see Spidey in live-action, they’ve continued to flock summer after summer to see different incarnations of this award-winning franchise.

#8 – “James Bond”

The first true blockbuster film franchise, few do it better than Bond. Based on Ian Fleming’s novels about the British secret agent, this series has gone through many Bond actors over its 20+ films – with hit-or-miss results. In fact, it’s tempting to bump Bond up; but a handful of stinkers tarnish an otherwise spectacular franchise. However, if they keep making films like “Skyfall,” the top spot will soon belong to 007.

#7 – “Batman”

Aside from an animated flick and a campy adaptation of the ‘60s TV series, we could split Batman into two distinct franchises: the Burton/Schumacher films and Christopher Nolan’s epic trilogy. One’s more stylized and comic-inspired; one’s darker and grittier. One traded lead actors until the series lost prestige; the other stuck with its muscular hero. Either way, the Caped Crusader is the most popular superhero when translated to film.

#6 – “Star Wars”

With alien races, chicks in bikinis, puppets and a battle between good and evil, “Star Wars” propelled itself into the hearts and minds of sci-fi nerds everywhere. The supremacy of this George Lucas masterpiece as a cultural force is undeniable: it has dominated the zeitgeist for over a quarter century. With Disney’s upcoming additions to the franchise, it’s sure to dominate for a long, long time to go.

#5 – “Marvel Cinematic Universe”

This fictional universe has become a lucrative endeavour for Marvel, with superhero after superhero dominating the box-office. Not only that, but the great experiment to bring together no less than four film franchises into one colossal blockbuster paid off with Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers,” which raked in $1.5 billion worldwide. Other franchises don’t stand a chance as this franchise continues to roll out new films.

#4 – “Toy Story”

Pixar’s groundbreaking first feature also ignited their first and truest franchise. Undoubtedly the best-reviewed series on this list, it’s also worth noting that “Toy Story 3” doubled the box-office takings of the original. With universal themes like growing up as its glue, this franchise appeals to young and old – and reaps the rewards. You don’t need a Magic-8 Ball to know we’ll likely be seeing a fourth entry eventually.

#3 – “Indiana Jones”

Adventure has a name, and it’s Indiana Jones. When “Raiders of the Lost Ark” premiered in 1981, it came on the heels of Lucas’ and Spielberg’s respective successes with “Star Wars” and “Jaws;” but Indy is a franchise force in his own right. Even “Temple of Doom” detractors have recently come around to recognize this series as one of the greatest trilogies of all time – yeah, we said trilogy.

#2 – “Harry Potter”

Ten years, four directors, seven horcruxes, eight movies and $8 billion in worldwide grosses – and not one of the movies sucks. But, the true magic of Harry Potter is his ability to pull money out of nowhere and make kabillionaires of the three young actors involved. J.K. Rowling was so close to having the most successful book-to-film adaptation of all time, at least according to us…

#1 – “Tolkien’s Middle Earth”

With runtimes that rival the longest epics, Peter Jackson’s Tolkien series is the beefiest of the franchises. It also just happens to be the only one to have a Best Picture Oscar to its name. With action, fantasy, superb acting and technical mastery, it will continue to be considered an admirable adaptation of the books until the end of all things.

Do you agree or disagree with our list? Which film franchises would be in your top ten? Be sure to let us know and subscribe WatchMojo.com for more great top 10 lists!
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