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Highest-grossing movie franchises

  • Highest-grossing movie franchises

    Summer 2018 has seen a number of box office successes with hits such as Marvel’s "Black Panther," which brought in $700 million at the domestic box officemore than any other comic book adaptationjust ahead of "Avengers: Infinity War," which has raked in more than $678 million domestically. 

    Movie studios continue to turn out blockbusters that are flashier and more technologically advanced than ever, but how do the newest smash hits stand up to everyone's old favorites? Stacker scoured Box Office Mojo for film franchise rankings based on the total domestic gross for all movies in their series. Note that this list doesn’t account for price inflation or worldwide numbers, so if someone's favorite movie was a hit in Japan, it might not stack up stateside.

    Read on to see which franchises are the highest grossing in the U.S.

    ALSO: 2018's highest grossing films (so far)

  • #50. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

    Total gross: $584 million

    Number of movies: 6

    Average gross per movie: $97 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "Ninja Turtles" ($191 million)

    In 1990, four martial-arts-wielding turtles stepped out of the comics and onto the big screen.  Despite actors having to wear 70-pound costumes and a major studio pulling out, the first film in this namesake series became the highest-grossing independent film of its time according to the Hollywood Reporter. Three additional films followed before Michael Bay rebooted the series in 2014. The reboot was a success as well—turtle power, indeed.

  • #49. Cars

    Total gross: $588 million

    Number of movies: 3

    Average gross per movie: $196 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "Cars" ($244 million)

    The Pixar animated series brought audiences into a world of anthropomorphic cars. The first movie in the series received critical acclaim when it opened in 2006. It won a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film, and also earned an Academy Award nomination in the same category. Its soundtrack earned Randy Newman and James Taylor a Grammy for “Our Town,” which also earned an Academy Award nomination.

  • #48. Alien

    Total gross: $590 million

    Number of movies: 8

    Average gross per movie: $74 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "Prometheus" ($127 million)

    The sci-fi horror franchise centers around four core movies starring Sigourney Weaver—1979’s “Alien,” the 1986 sequel “Aliens,” 1992’s “Alien 3,” and “Alien Resurrection” in 1997.  The original budget for Alien" was $4.2 million, which 20th Century Fox doubled to $8.4 million after seeing director Ridley Scott's storyboards. The original series built such a cult following over the years that it spawned a prequel series in 2014, earning it a place on the list.

  • #47. The Matrix

    Total gross: $592 million

    Number of movies: 3

    Average gross per movie: $198 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "The Matrix Reloaded" ($282 million)

    The groundbreaking sci-fi action series created by the Wachowski siblings Lana and Lilly painted a dystopian future where humans are dominated by machines. Starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne, “The Matrix” won four Academy Awards and was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The second installment in the series “The Matrix Reloaded (2003) became the highest-grossing R-rated movie in history until it was overtaken by "Deadpool."

  • #46. Fockers

    Total gross: $594 million

    Number of movies: 3

    Average gross per movie: $198 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "Meet the Fockers" ($279 million)

    The comedy series starring Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro chronicles Stiller’s character Greg Focker and his interactions with his in-laws and growing family over three movies. The Motion Picture Association of America had an issue with “Meet the Fockers,” the second and highest-grossing film in the series, and would not allow the movie to use “Focker” in the title unless they found an actual family with that last name.

  • #45. Terminator

    Total gross: $609 million

    Number of movies: 5

    Average gross per movie: $122 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "Terminator 2" ($205 million)

    The sci-fi franchise solidified star Arnold Schwarzenegger as a bona fide Hollywood action hero in his role as the Terminator in four of the five movies in the franchise. Schwarzenegger will also appear in the untitled "Terminator" reboot slated to hit theaters in November 2019.

  • #44. Men in Black

    Total gross: $620 million

    Number of movies: 3

    Average gross per movie: $207 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "Men in Black" ($251 million)

    The sci-fi buddy comedy series was based on a comic book of the same name by Lowell Cunningham. It stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as covert agents tasked with overseeing the alien population in New York City. Smith also wrote the “Men In Black” theme song, which went on to sell more than 3 million copies. A “Men In Black” spinoff movie is slated for the big screen in summer of 2019.

  • #43. The Hangover

    Total gross: $644 million

    Number of movies: 3

    Average gross per movie: $215 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "The Hangover" ($277 million)

    This comedy film series kicks off when a group of four friends (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha) road trip to Las Vegas for a bachelor party and end up on a mission to find their missing friend. "The Hangover" is was the highest-grossing R-rated comedy in the U.S. at the time of its release.

  • #42. Alvin and the Chipmunks

    Total gross: $663 million

    Number of movies: 5

    Average gross per movie: $133 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "Alvin and the Chipmunks 2" ($220 million)

    “Alvin and the Chipmunks” got a sleek new look in 2007 with the release of this computer animated musical comedy. The trio first rose to popularity as a Saturday morning cartoon in the ‘80s created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” (2009), the highest-grossing film in the five-movie franchise, had a budget of $70 million and grossed $77.1 million in its first five days.

  • #41. Madagascar

    Total gross: $673 million

    Number of movies: 4

    Average gross per movie: $168 million

    Highest-grossing movie in the franchise: "Madagascar 3" ($216 million)

    The computer animated comedy series is voiced by a who’s who of Hollywood stars such as Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith. “Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted” is the highest-grossing film of the series and was the first to be released in 3D.

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