Top 20 Most Successful Movie Franchises!

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I" is now the biggest "Harry Potter" opening of all time, having smashed box office records with a magical $125 million domestically.

The film -- which follows Harry, Hermione and Ron as they leave the comforts of Hogwarts to search for ways to destroy the evil wizard Lord Voldemort -- surpassed the series' previous best, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which opened in 2005 with $102 million.

Here are the top 20 most successful movie franchises of all time!

Top 20 Movie Franchises of All Time

#20 - The Mummy

No. of films: 3 Box office: $1,247,305,246 Key player: Writer/director Stephen Sommers Trivia: "The Mummy" struggled for several years in the development process as producer James Jacks considered remakes with several horror directors, including Clive Barker, George A. Romero and Wes Craven. When Sommers pitched his adventure concept, Universal executives were so inspired, they upped project's budget from $15 to $80 million.

#19 - The Terminator

No. of films: 4 Box office: $1,399,522,017 Key players: Director James Cameron and Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger Trivia: Orion Pictures originally envisioned O.J. Simpson in the role of the Terminator, but Cameron didn't feel Simpson would be believable as a killer. Schwarzenegger was initially considered for the role of Kyle Reese but ultimately gave a killer performance as the Terminator.

#18 - Mission: Impossible

No. of films: 3 Box office: $1,401,409,231 Origin: Television series created, written and produced by Bruce Geller Key player: Actor/Producer Tom Cruise Trivia: The first film in the series was also the first produced by Cruise's production company, Cruise/Wagner Productions, under its deal with Paramount, producer of the television series and owner of the "Mission: Impossible" rights.

#17 - Star Trek

No. of films: 11 Box office: $1,463,693,273 Origin: Television series created by Gene Roddenberry Trivia: After the cancellation of the television series, Paramount conceived and then waffled on the idea of a theatrical release and opted for another TV series, only to change its mind again following the success of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," which executives felt proved that science fiction beyond "Star Wars" could find success at the box office.

#16 - Transformers

No. of films: 2 Box office: $1,544,576,285 Origin: Hasbro toy line (originally created by Takara Tomy) Key players: Director Michael Bay and Producer Steven Spielberg Trivia: Producer Don Murphy was in production on a G.I. Joe theatrical adaptation in 2003, but when the United States invaded Iraq, Hasbro suggested a Transformers adaptation instead.

#15 - X-Men

No. of films: 4 Box Office: $1,576,524,684 Origin: Marvel comic book series by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby Trivia: James Cameron was originally in talks to direct the first film in the series but left the project for another successful franchise launch: "Spider-Man."

#14 - The Matrix

No. of films: 3 Box office: $1,623,116,618 Key players: The Wachowski brothers, who created, wrote and directed the trilogy Trivia: Prior to the casting of Keanu Reeves, Will Smith turned down the role of Neo due to skepticism of the film's bullet-time special effects. The movie went on to win several visual effects awards, including an Oscar, for its use of the technique that employed several cameras placed around the same object shooting nearly simultaneously to produce a super slow-motion effect.

#13 - The Twilight Saga

No. of films: 3 Box office: $1,802,383,603 Key player: Stephenie Meyer, creator and author of the vampire-themed, fantasy romance novels on which the films are based Trivia: Like Harry Potter, the final book in the series proved too much content for one movie and will be split into two parts to be released in 2011 and 2012.

#12 - Ice Age

No. of films: 3 Box office: $1,921,842,359 Key players: Blue Sky Studios animators and voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary Trivia: A fourth film in the series, "Ice Age: Continental Drift" is currently in development and scheduled for release on July 13, 2012.

#11 - Toy Story

No. of films: 3 Box office: $1,945,421,813 Key player: Director/writer John Lasseter Trivia: Toy Story is the only franchise to receive universal critical acclaim for each film in its series.

#10 - Indiana Jones

No. of films: 4 Box office: $1,980,610,580 Key players: Creator and Producer George Lucas, Director Steven Spielberg and Actor Harrison Ford Trivia: Lucas was hesitant to cast Ford because he had used the actor in two previous films, "American Graffiti" and "Star Wars." The role of Indiana Jones was first offered to Tom Selleck, who passed due to his commitment to "Magnum, P.I." It was subsequently offered to and declined by Nick Nolte, who had also turned down the role of Han Solo in "Star Wars."

#9 - Jurassic Park

No. of films: 3 Box office: $2,075,654,626 Creator: Author Michael Crichton Trivia: A fourth installment is currently in development and is rumored to be the first in another trilogy.

#8 - Spider-Man

No. of films: 3 Box office: $2,496,285,178 Origin: Marvel comic book series by writer/editor Stan Lee and writer/artist Steve Ditko Key players: Producer Avi Arad and Director Sam Raimi Trivia: Raimi is a comics aficionado and collector with over 25,000 comic books in his private collection.

#7 - Batman

No. of films: 8 Box office: $2,648,834,002 Origin: DC comic book series by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger Trivia: Television series star Adam West was passionate about reprising his role in the movie and admits to crying for an hour upon learning he'd been passed over. He has since been critical of the films, which he says are too dark.

#6 - Pirates of the Caribbean

No. of films: 3 Box office: $2,681,667,528 Origin: Disneyland theme park ride Key players: Screenwriters Ted Elliott and and Terry Rossio, who conceived of the film adaptation, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Actor Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow Trivia: A fourth film, "On Stranger Tides," has completed production with returning cast members Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush sans Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.

#5 - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

No. of films: 3 Box office: $2,913,933,388 Creator: J.R.R. Tolkein, author of the fantasy-adventure novels on which the film series is based Key player: Director Peter Jackson Trivia: The Tolkien estate did not support the production of the films and subsequently sued New Line Cinema for unpaid proceeds. The dispute was ultimately settled out of court and cleared the way for the development of a big screen adaptation of Tolkien's "The Hobbit."

#4 - Shrek

No. of films: 4 Box office: $2,940,512,962 Origin: Picture book by William Steig Key player: Director Steven Spielberg Trivia: Spielberg originally planned to produce "Shrek" in 1991 at Amblin Entertainment using hand-drawn animation. It was to star Bill Murray as Shrek and Steve Martin as Donkey. When production commenced at DreamWorks, Chris Farley voiced Shrek, but he died after recording only half of the dialogue. The use of air quotes throughout the films is an homage to the late actor's "Saturday Night Live" character Bennett Brauer.

#3 - Star Wars

No. of films: 7 Box office: $4,411,410,761 Key player: George Lucas, creator and director of the first release in the series, "Star Wars" (later subtitled "Star Wars IV: A New Hope" to indicate its order in the series) Trivia: With the exception of the first film, which was bankrolled by 20th Century Fox, all films in the series were independently produced by Lucasfilm.

#2 - James Bond

No. of films: 23 Box office: $5,074,402,453 Key player: Ian Fleming, author and creator of the James Bond character Trivia: Production of the next franchise film is currently on hold pending the outcome of MGM Studio's bankruptcy and restructuring.

#1 - Harry Potter

No. of films: 7 Box Office: $5,480,575,820 Key Player: J.K. Rowling, creator and author of the seven magical fantasy novels on which the film series is based Trivia: "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," the seventh and most recent movie in the series, is Rowling's favorite so far.


Franchises ranked by worldwide gross box office receipts as of Nov. 21, 2010SourcesIMDb The Numbers Rotten Tomatoes Wikipedia