The 25 Biggest Movie Franchises in America

Batman And Robin

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Jurassic Park

Strength in Numbers

What’s better than a hit movie? A whole flock of them, each playing on the popularity of the original. That’s how you build a Hollywood franchise. Comic-book superheroes have provided the material for many of the biggest in recent years, but the latest movie based on Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" novels is out June 10. Here are the top 25 film franchises — as they currently stand — based on available domestic box office numbers (adjusted for inflation) as compiled by The Numbers. Popcorn not included.

Related: Movie Sequels That Were Better Than the First Films

Mission: Impossible

‘Mission: Impossible’ (1996-present)

Number of Movies: 8

Domestic Box Office: $1.60 billion

Based on the popular TV show, this star vehicle for Tom Cruise — who has also produced all of the films — follows Ethan Hunt of the Impossible Missions Force through one impossible mission after the next with directors like Brian De Palma, John Woo, and J.J. Abrams attached. The films are action-packed and feature co-stars such as Ving Rhames, Jeremy Renner, and Angela Bassett. Two more films are expected in 2023 and 2024.

Related: Celebs Whose First Job Was Worse Than Yours

Twilight Movie

‘Twilight’ (2008-2012)

Number of Movies: 6

Domestic Box Office: $1.61 billion

Moviegoers flocked to the romance-fantasy saga based on Stephanie Meyer’s novels about the relationship between Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and a hunky vampire (Robert Pattinson). The series “did exactly what it was intended to: give teen girls someone to swoon over, a female lead to see themselves in, and a fantasy to get lost in that ultimately is safer than actually talking to a boy in real life,” says (If you’re wondering how there were six movies, The Numbers includes a special combo showing of “Twilight” and “New Moon” in the count.)

Hunger Games

‘Hunger Games’ (2012-present)

Number of Movies: 4

Domestic Box Office: $1.63 billion

Jennifer Lawrence had already been nominated for an Oscar for her performance in the obscure “Winter’s Bone” before taking on the role of Katniss Everdenn in this series based on the young adult books by author Suzanne Collins. The second film was the most popular of the bunch at the box office, edging out the original movie by about $20 million. Fans can expect a prequel — “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” — set 60 years in the past, in 2023 or 2024.

Related: 22 Controversial Oscar Wins — and Who Should Have Won Instead

1975 'Jaws' Movie Poster

‘Jaws’ (1975-1987)

Number of Movies: 4

Domestic Box Office: $1.72 billion

Steven Spielberg’s 1975 thriller “Jaws” is considered to be the original summer blockbuster. It was the first film to top $100 million at the box office, packing theaters with moviegoers ready to jump out of their seats at every sighting of the deadly shark. Sadly, its three sequels never lived up to the original in quality or box office success.

Related: This Was the Scariest Movie the Year You Were Born


‘Toy Story’ (1995-present)

Number of Movies: 7

Domestic Box Office: $1.79 billion

This animated franchise was built over 30 years on the back of the original Best Picture-nominated 1995 movie featuring the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen. Numbered sequels followed in 1999, 2010, and 2019 (the second two after Disney bought Pixar in 2006) with increasingly larger box office hauls. “Lightyear,” a spinoff that tells Buzz Lightyear’s origin story, is expected this summer with the title character voiced by Chris Evans.


‘Transformers’ (1986-present)

Number of Movies: 8

Domestic Box Office: $1.87 billion

This franchise started with an animated feature in 1986, voiced by Orson Welles, Robert Stack, and Leonard Nimoy. But most people know it for the live-action films that started in 2007. Michael Bay — no stranger to action movies — directed the first five with Shia LeBeouf starring in the first three and Mark Wahlberg taking the lead in the last two. A spinoff, 2018’s “Bumblebee,” was the last film to be released, but a new one is in the works for the summer of 2023.

Related: Terrible Movies Starring Beloved Actors

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ (2003-2017)

Number of Movies: 5

Domestic Box Office: $1.92 billion

Johnny Depp has had an impressive film career, but few of his movies have been as popular as the ones in this series where he starred as Jack Sparrow from 2003 to 2017. An as-yet untitled sixth film is in the works, and though details have been scarce Depp — who has been embroiled in legal issues — won’t be returning. Stay tuned.

‘Rocky’ (1976)

‘Rocky’ (1976-present)

Number of Movies: 9

Domestic Box Office: $1.95 billion

The original film sent Sylvester Stallone’s career into orbit and spawned four sequels — some better than others — between 1976 and 1990. That would have been a good run for many franchises, but this one got a second life with 2006’s “Rocky Balboa” as well as two spin offs based on the illegitimate son of Rocky’s one-time foe Apollo Creed. A third Creed film starring Michael B. Jordan is expected later this year.


‘Shrek’ (2001-present)

Number of Movies: 7

Domestic Box Office: $1.96 billion

Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz provided the voices for this popular animated series about a green ogre from DreamWorks. A spin off, “Puss in Boots,” with Antonio Bandaris in the lead, followed in 2011; a sequel is expected in 2023. A fifth Shrek film is also reportedly in the works.


‘Superman’ (1978-2020)

Number of Movies: 11

Domestic Box Office: $2.06 billion

Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the Man of Steel in 1978 proved to Hollywood that a big-budget comic book film could be successful in a post-”Star Wars” world. Reeves took three more turns as the DC Comics icon. There was a gap of nearly 20 years before Brandon Routh put on the cape for “Superman Returns.” Henry Cavill took over the role in the 2013 reboot “Man of Steel” and 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom

‘Indiana Jones’ (1981-present)

Number of Movies: 5

Domestic Box Office: $2.07 billion

In addition to being part of the “Star Wars” films, Harrison Ford played adventurer/archeologist Indiana Jones in four — soon to be five — films beginning with “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981. After taking off for 20 years, Harrison returned in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in 2008. He’s due to put on his fedora again for an as-yet-untitled Indiana Jones film tentatively scheduled for a 2023 release.


‘Fast and Furious’ (2001-present)

Number of Movies: 11

Domestic Box Office: $2.18 billion

This car-centric action franchise played a big role in Vin Diesel becoming a superstar. He’s appeared in nearly all of the films associated with the title over a span of 20 years. Two more are expected to wrap up the saga, but more spinoffs and sequels to spinoffs are rumored to be in the works for this franchise.

Related: Crazy-Expensive Cars Destroyed by Hollywood

Justice League

DC Extended Universe (2010-present)

Number of Movies: 19

Domestic Box Office: $2.34 billion

Ten films are at the core of this franchise powered by DC Comics superheroes, beginning with the 2013 Superman reboot “Man of Steel." “Wonder Woman” from 2017 has been the most popular so far, but five upcoming franchise films are scheduled for release in 2022 and 2023 and more have been announced.

International Lord of The Rings Trilogy Wall Poster

Peter Jackson’s 'Lord of the Rings’ (2001-2014)

Number of Movies: 7

Domestic Box Office: $2.53 billion

How do you get seven movies out of three books? You add another classic J.R.R. Tolkien novel to the mix and keep the cameras rolling. Peter Jackson followed the well-received Lord of the Rings films with three more based on “The Hobbit.” Those six averaged earnings of $308 million each. (The Numbers also notes a limited release of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand and Australia but those box office figures aren’t included in the total for this franchise.)

star trek

‘Star Trek’ (1979-2016)

Number of Movies: 14

Domestic Box Office: $2.67 billion

Ten years after Gene Roddenberry’s space opera finished its three-season run on network TV, the cast found a home on the silver screen. The first seven films featured the original cast before the franchise was taken over by stories from the later TV spin offs. But 2009’s reboot and its subsequent sequels have been the most lucrative films of the bunch. There’s reportedly another one due in 2023. Fascinating.

‘Bambi’ (1942)

‘Bambi’ (1942-2006)

Number of Movies: 2

Domestic Box Office: $2.70 billion

If you’re going to have a two-movie franchise, it’s always good to start with a Disney classic that was a box office hit. The 1942 original was big in its day and found a new audience with a re-release for its 40th anniversary in 1982 (and another in 1988). The sequel, “Bambi II,” with Patrick Stewart in the cast, was released in 2006. Maybe we’ll see another before 2070?

Jurassic Park

‘Jurassic Park’ (1993-present)

Number of Movies: 6

Domestic Box Office: $2.73 billion 

The ranking for this franchise is likely to change after "Jurassic World: Dominion" concludes its run in theaters this summer. Steven Spielberg directed the first two films in this series based on Michael Crichton’s books and remained connected with the other projects as a producer. In terms of earnings, 2015’s “Jurassic World” is the biggest film of the five released, hauling in more than $650 million.


‘Avengers’ (2012-present)

Number of Movies: 4

Domestic Box Office: $2.75 billion

Three of these four action-packed films featuring Marvel’s band of superheros — the core of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — are among the 10 biggest domestic box office earners of all time. The original 2012 film is 9th at $623 million, 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity Wars” is 6th with $678 million, and 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” is 2nd with $858 million. Fan sites are expecting a fifth installment at some point, but there’s been no official announcement.


‘X-Men’ (2000-2020)

Number of Movies: 14

Domestic Box Office: $2.92 billion

Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, and Ian McKellen brought Marvel’s comic book series to the screen in 2000. After several successful sequels, it reinvented itself through a series of prequels while also spawning spin offs such as “The Wolverine,” “Deadpool,” and "Deadpool 2." (Deadpool? It’s complicated.) 

Harry Potter Sourcerer's Stone

‘Harry Potter’ (2001-present)

Number of Movies: 12

Domestic Box Office: $3.65 billion

It took eight movies over the course of a decade to tell the story of the boy wizard from J.K. Rowling’s best-selling, seven-book series, launching the careers of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” set 70 years before the Harry Potter series, expanded the wizarding world in 2016. The third installment of that portion of the franchise — “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” — has grossed $95 million in the U.S. and Canada so far.

Related: The Most Magical Harry Potter Gifts for True Potterheads


‘Spider-Man’ (2002-present)

Number of Movies: 10

Domestic Box Office: $3.85 billion

Tobey Maguire kicked off the live-action films in 2002 with Andrew Garfield taking the role in a reboot in 2012, and Tom Holland swinging in for the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the web-slinger — first as part of “Avengers: Civil War” in 2016 and then in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” in 2017. On the animated side, there’s 2018’s stunning “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which will become its own sub-franchise with a sequel in October. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is currently somewhere north of $804 million in domestic box office and rising, making it not only the most popular film of the franchise but the third-highest grossing movie of all time.

Related: The Highest-Grossing Movie the Year You Were Born


‘Batman’ (1966-present)

Number of Movies: 26

Domestic Box Office: $3.96 billion

Ranging from the campy 1966 Adam West-era “Batman: The Movie,” picking up steam with 1989 Timothy Burton’s darker blockbuster “Batman,” and capping off (at least for now) with the latest incarnation of the Caped Crusader, 2022’s “The Batman,” this franchise is an interesting mix of styles that includes everything from the highly-touted Dark Knight trilogy to “The Lego Batman Movie.” The Numbers includes box office info for 13 of the films in this grouping, many of which are animated offerings. Robert Pattinson (from the “Twilight” franchise) takes over as the title character in “The Batman” and “Batgirl” is set for a December 2022 release with Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon and Michael Keaton donning the cape and cowl for the third time as Batman.

Dr. No - James Bond - 1962 - Movie Poster

‘James Bond’ (1963-present)

Number of Movies: 27

Domestic Box Office: $6.12 billion

In many ways, this is the granddaddy of all movie franchises with 27 films produced over 58 years, all anchored by Ian Flemming’s debonair and deadly British secret agent. Sean Connery brought the character to life in 1962’s “Dr. No” and played Bond seven times — as did Roger Moore after him. Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig followed — with David Niven and George Lazenby sprinkled in. “No Time to Die” was Craig’s last film in the role and fans are waiting to see who will be next — assuming the franchise continues, which seems like a safe bet given its earnings history.

Related: Most Iconic Movie and TV Cars

Star Wars

‘Star Wars’ (1977-present)

Number of Movies: 15

Domestic Box Office: $8.08 billion

If you’re a fan of the series, you can recount the success of the first three films — which were actually the second of three trilogies (no confusion there). That group ended with the release of “Star Wars Episode IV: The Rise of Skywalker” in 2019, but other related films (and now a couple of TV series) continue to add depth and background to the narrative — not to mention boosting box office totals. If you can’t get enough of these, there are at least three more on the way, slated for release in 2023, 2025, and 2027.

Related: Destinations Every 'Star Wars' Fan Should Visit


The Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-present)

Number of Movies: 39

Domestic Box Office: $10.92 billion

It’s hardly the oldest film franchise, but easily the biggest and most lucrative. These movies inspired by Marvel Comic characters have been packing theaters since Robert Downey Jr. donned the first Iron Man suit in 2008. They’re grouped because there’s an overarching storyline that connects them, as opposed to earlier films featuring some of the same characters. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has earned more than $804 million since its release in December 2021. And there are several films currently in the pipeline (not to mention some series on Disney+). Excelsior!