The most successful film franchises of all time

This week, James Cameron returns to the lush 3D world of Pandora with Avatar: The Way of Water, the long-awaited sequel to the 2009 monster hit Avatar. Both Cameron and Disney will be hoping this is the latest success in a long-running Hollywood blockbuster franchise, with audiences lining up to see future entries on their debut weekend.

With so many thriving film franchises gracing the big screen – from Star Wars to the MCU, from Harry Potter to The Lord of the Rings – Betway online slots has discovered the most successful film franchises of all time, creating an index that looked at the following:

  • The highest-grossing film franchises
  • The highest-rated film franchises
  • The franchises that have won the most awards
  • The franchises that have the most returning cast members
  • The most searched for franchises

Perhaps predictably, it was the decade-spanning Star Wars saga that was crowned the most successful film franchise of all time, with a score of 69.3 out of 90 across all five categories. But which franchises performed best in each field?

What are the highest-grossing film franchises?

The MCU leads the way as the highest grossing film franchise of all time, with an impressive box office takings score of 10 out of 10. Boasting a vast portfolio of box office hits from The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man to Captain America and Avengers, the franchise has racked up $27.4B (£23.7B) in takings.

Star Wars secures its spot as the second-biggest box office earner, with 9.5 out of 10. The legendary film series has made $10.3B (£8.9B) in total from the first film Star Wars: A New Hope emerging on the movie scene in 1977, and the latest Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in 2019.

What are the highest-rated film franchises?

The Middle Earth franchise, which includes The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, is top of the leaderboard for being the highest rated film series, with a score of 10/10. The movie franchise has received a successful average IMDb rating of 8.3 across all of its films. The LOTR films: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)The Two Towers (2002) and The Return Of The King (2003), alongside The Hobbit films: An Unexpected Journey (2012)The Desolation Of Smaug (2013) and The Battle of the Five Armies(2014) have been extremely well received amongst critics and audiences alike.

The Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series proudly takes its place in second as one of the highest rated film franchises with a score of 9.5 out of 10. One of the most well-known series of films around the world, the Harry Potter films have received an overall IMDb rating of 7.4/10.

Which franchises have won the most awards?

Marvel tops the table as the movie franchise that has won the most awards, scoring full marks with 10 out of 10. The series of films has received 555 awards in total, with the 2018 film Black Panther winning a BAFTA for ‘Best Special Visual Effects’ in 2019 and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) winning an Oscar for ‘Best Makeup and Hairstyling’ in 2015.

Middle Earth (Lord of The Rings) follows closely behind in second, with a total number of awards score of 9.5 out of 10. The six-film franchise (including The Hobbit trilogy) has won 494 awards including the BAFTA Award ‘Best Film’ for (2001 film) The Fellowship of the Ring in 2002, an OSCAR for ‘Best Visual Effects’ in Two Towers in 2002 and the third film The Return of the King (2003) taking home eleven Academy Awards. The Hobbit trilogy: An Unexpected Journey (2012),The Desolation of Smaug (2013)The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) has also won an impressive total of 43 awards.

Which franchises have the most returning cast members?

The Marvel movie franchise takes the title of having the most loyal cast, with a returning cast member score of 10 out of 10. Across its variety of films, a total of 232 cast members have returned. This loyalty can be seen with the continuous return of Robert Downey Jr in the Iron Man series (2008, 2010, 2013).

The Harry Potter film series has the second most returning cast members of any franchise and scored a respectable 9.5 out of 10. With 219 of the cast returning for the eight films, the world watched the young characters grow up, played by Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) and Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom).

What are the most searched-for franchises?

Swooping straight into first place from Gotham City is Batman, taking the title of the most searched-for franchise with a score of 35.8 out of 40. The film franchise has received 3,500 Wiki Fandom searches, had 3,300 fanatics searching for Batman-related merchandise, racked up 54,000 searches for the release dates of the films and a further 54,000 searches for the film trailers.

Emerging in second place and yet another franchise in the superhero genre is Spider-Man, with a score of 33.2 out of 40. From the first film Spider-Man (2002) to the latest Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), the franchise has a total of 1,800 Wiki Fandom searches, 3,000 searches for merchandise by superfans, 42,000 searches for the films release dates and 76,000 searching for the film trailers.