MM Top 5: Movie Franchises

Counting down the biggest movie franchises of all time was never going to be an easy task. It is one of those things that you should never enter into lightly; after all, there are so many different ones to choose from; picking just 5 and putting them in order of greatness is not an easy thing to undertake. However, after all the waiting, it’s finally done. Here, are the 5 greatest film franchises of all time. Shall we begin?

5. Halloween 1978-2009


The only horror franchise on this list enters in at number 5 but only just made the final cut. A toss-up between Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street is the reason why, but the Michael Myers franchise lucked out – partly because of its superior sequels and better direction. Another, perhaps more poignant reason is because of that chilling  score and that iconic mask. Halloween has had some truly awful entries in its history, Halloween: Resurrection anyone? But there have been some highlights and the 2007 reboot was a fantastic way to recapture the magic of the 1978 original. The series started all those years ago but remains popular to this very day.

4. James Bond 1962-present


There is no denying that the digits 007 will go down in history, but do the films associated with Ian Fleming’s numbers stack up? Well they definitely make it into the top 5, but only as far as number 4. Numerous celebrities have played the iconic spy over the years with Daniel Craig continuing his incarnation with a third film, Skyfall, which became one of the most successful films of 2012 across the globe. Sean Connery started the proceedings in 1962 and the franchise has gone from strength to strength ever since. The series as a whole has grossed over $5billion at the worldwide box office and remains perhaps THE most iconic film series of all time. However, it most definitely isn’t the greatest.

3. The Lord of the Rings 2001-2003

Lord of the Rings

Peter Jackson became a household name in 2001 with his take on J.R.R. Tolkien’s three outstanding novels. When the first film was released it received near universal acclaim from movie-goers and critics alike, cementing its place at the very top of the movie chain. The second film was received with perhaps a more  mixed response but still did nothing to detract from the phenomenon. By the time the third film was released the series had become one of the highest grossing of all time and earned a spot in the hearts of movie-goers across the world. Therefore, it takes the bronze medal on this list.

2. Jurassic Park 1993-?

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

Steven Spielberg is widely regarded as the king of blockbuster cinema and his effort in 1993 made sure that everyone knew that; it grossed over $900 million at the worldwide box office and remained the highest grossing film of all time until 1997, when funnily enough its successor was released. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Jurassic Park II which stole the crown; it was the highly inferior snooze fest that is James Cameron’s Titanic (awaits the impending boos).  Whilst the two sequels that followed (1997: The Lost World; 2001: Jurassic Park III) failed to capture the magic and delight of the original, they still

provided the same blockbuster entertainment that pleases the masses. Jurassic Park is the epitome of everything that can be done right with a paper thin script and cardboard characters. Yes the story is lacking and yes the characters are thinner than Tesco value paper; but it didn’t matter, it was all about those terrifying Velociraptors and that staggering T-Rex rampaging across the screen. The effects in all three films still stand the test of time and each film will have a place in the heart of fans the world over. Now, with film number 4 due for release in 2014, the franchise is hopefully being given a new lease of life. Jurassic Park and its sequels changed the way films were made and that is why it deserves a silver medal in my Top 5.

1. Harry Potter 2001-2011

Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone

Here we are, the franchise which I believe has had the biggest impact across the world. It has to be, without a doubt, the Harry Potter saga. It all began 11 years ago with director Chris Columbus taking the reins of what seemed to be another children’s film. Did anyone really know that the biggest movie franchise of all time was brewing? I think

for the most part, no was the answer. Harry Potter, like Jurassic Park changed the way we look at films forever and all 8 of the films have remained at least of a good standard. Of course, with any saga spanning so many movies there were bound to be a couple of lapses and thankfully here there were only a couple. Film number 2 and 6 were perhaps the worst of the bunch but they all created memories in the minds of those going to watch. In 2011, it all came to an end and a void was left without a new franchise to fill it. Will a phenomenon like Harry Potter ever come about again? In my opinion, the answer is no. This is why the biggest movie franchise of all time takes the gold medal in this list.

An honourable mention must also go to the following film series’ that nearly made it into the Top 5, but, for one reason or another just missed out on a coveted place. They are as follows:

  • The Alien franchise
  • The Toy Story franchise
  • The X-Men franchise
  • The Spiderman franchise
  • The Indiana Jones Franchise


How do you feel about my Top 5? Did Harry Potter deserve to take the top spot or was another franchise more deserving of the gold medal? Leave a comment below!

21 thoughts on “MM Top 5: Movie Franchises

  1. Nice list. The great thing about these topics is that everyone’s can be different. A couple of my favorites ended up on your list like the Halloween, Bond, and especially LOTR, but I don’t think I could even put Halloween or Bond in the top 5.

    The one glaring omission on your list that I would included is the Batman franchise. Yes, Batman & Robin might be one of the worst films of all-time, but I think Nolan’s Trilogy made up for that and then some.

    • Thank you for your kind comments. Whenever it comes to ‘lists’, it’s always difficult to find 5 franchises to pick that warrant being in the ranking. I agree with you that Batman has been a fantastic series. However, for me, it hasn’t been consistent enough.

      Christopher Nolan reinvented Batman for me and for that he gets my utmost respect, but I think that the 5 franchises in this list deserve to be in there more.

      As you said though, it’s definitely a question of taste, who likes what and who doesn’t. Thanks again for your comment and I hope you continue to read the blog! 😀

  2. Some good choices there Adam, though I think LOTR is better than Harry Potter! You don’t mention Star Wars. I know the last/first? three were complete rubbish, but in 1977, the very first film was amazing to us oldies. We’d never seen anything like it! And when we went to see all three one after another on the big screen in Leicester Square as it was meant to be shown, it was unbelievably exciting!

    • Thank you for your kind comments. Firstly, I didn’t put Star Wars in the list as I find the three prequels truly terrible. Therefore, that means 50% of the films in the series are not of a good standard and therefore they as a whole didn’t warrant a placing in the Top 5.

      George Lucas’ constant tinkering also meant they didn’t get a placing, his constant changes in the Blu-Ray and DVD re-releases has meant he doesn’t think they are standing the test of time as well as say Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park which hasn’t received any major upgrades since its release.

      The exciting thing about these lists and the reason I am doing them fortnightly is to encourage debate, there’s nothing better than hearing other people’s opinions. Thank you for yours.

      Again, thank you for commenting, and I hope you continue to read Movie Metropolis.

  3. I can kind of guess that this was a little bit of a personal favourites, given the presence of Jurassic Park 😉

    I’d say that you need to make a bit more of a distinction by what you mean by “best” – are you looking for the franchise with the highest qualities of films, or the most influential on film-making, film culture or both, or if you’re just listing personal favourites, and also what you mean by franchise; with a certain mindset, you could say the Disney animated film catalogue is a franchise given that it is a brand.

    Assuming that “film franchise” requires that all films within are based upon the same canon, then my first issue is that Halloween has got to go because Season of the Witch exists; different story, different universe, different canon. I’d personally replace with Aliens because it impacted not just the sci-fi and action genres of film, but is also a landmark in feminism in films; it’s a big reason as to why we see females in action films taking a more assertive and proactive role, and you can trace woman-centric dramas, actions and chick flicks of all things back to Alien.

    Speaking of sci-fi, where is Star Wars? I get that the prequels sucked a bunch, and the Holy Trinity doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you break the films down, but their impact are far beyond almost anything else on this list. On blockbusters, on sci-fi, which at the time was a pretty ailing genre, and on Hollywood itself. Film franchises became a viable option rather than just a niche after Star Wars. See also Indiana Jones for the action-movie counterpoint, and the Conan series for it’s similar impact on fantasy, plus thanks for bringing Arnie into the common conscientiousness. Speaking of, Terminator?

    I’d also say get rid of Jurassic Park and Harry Potter; they’re both successful but not as INFLUENTIAL as the others. Maybe they’d would be in a top fifteen, top ten at a push, but in terms of sheer weight of impact on the film industry and pop culture LOTR has had a bigger impact both immediate and long-term, and would be my choice for number one; either that or Star Wars, given that LOTR was already a very influential book series and possibly would lose a point or two because of that.

    • Thank you for your comment. Firstly, as this is simply the opinion of myself, I was expecting some debate on my choices and as a writer, I encourage this. It is exciting to hear people’s opinions and I thank you for sharing yours.

      As explained above Star Wars simply does not deserve a placing in this ranking. The prequels are truly terrible which therefore means that 50% of the films are not of a good standard. It would be hypocritical of me to include a film series where half of the films were not well received by fans and critics alike.

      Jurassic Park revolutionised CGI effects and the term ‘blockbuster’ and whilst its sequels may not live up to the standard set by the first, they remain to this day a truly exciting moment in cinema history. Not forgetting the immense merchandising power it had and still has. This has further been proved by the fact that Universal feel it is necessary to release JP4 in June next year, 13 years after Jurassic Park 3.

      Harry Potter as a book changed the mindset of children across the globe, JK Rowling’s novels continue to inspire generations and the films showcased her work to the best of their ability. They became the most successful film franchise of all time and were all of at least a good standard. Therefore, in my view, they deserve the 1st position on this list.

      Halloween was a horror franchise which changed the way the public see the genre. It maintained pace with its terrifying sequel and, apart from a few lapses, one of which you pointed out in Season of the Witch, it continued to steam-roll itself into the 21st Century when Rob Zombie regenerated it.

      Again thank you for your comments and I hope you continue to enjoy Movie Metropolis.

  4. I love that Harry Potter is number one. The special effects in every single film are amazing. I’m not a fan of Bond, but as it is clear that so many people are, it’s obvious why it should appear. My burning question, where is ‘The land before time’ films in the list?! 🙂 enjoyed reading this and will look forward to the fortnightly countdowns. Can I suggest one- top 5 Disney films xxx

    • Thank you for your comments. I can already confirm that Top 5 Disney Films will be featuring in March so stay tuned for when that will be appearing.

      Harry Potter has indeed revolutionised the way children view reading and the films themselves have brought generations together as they are accessible to sons, daughters, mums, dads and grandparents. As I said in the post, there will probably never be a series which captures the imagination of so many ever again.

      Twilight tried to do this and failed miserably and whilst the Hunger Games series looks set to be the next best thing, I think it will fall short of the standards set by Harry Potter.

      The Land Before Time is without a doubt one of the best animated series’ of all time, but the lacklustre standard of some of the sequels as well as the constant changes in voice acting meant it couldn’t be included in the list.

      Again, thank you for your comments and I hope you continue to enjoy the site.

  5. I’m just going to list a few that I think should’ve/could’ve taken the place of JP, I know you love the film but as a frnchise it’s basically one amazing film and two beer coasters.

    Indianna Jones
    Star Wars
    Toy Story
    Marvel Cinematic Universe

    I also feel a franchise needs to contain more than just a trilogy of films, but I know that’s just as much of an opinion as a top 5 list in itself.

    • Hello Sam, thank you for your comments, it’s much appreciated. Firstly, in-line with what some other comments have said, yes I am a huge fan of Jurassic Park but these fortnightly lists are completely impartial and favouritism is not part of the process of selection.

      To show this, I’m not a huge fan of Lord of the Rings but I had to include it in the list simply because of how much prowess it has as a film franchise.

      I included Indiana Jones in my list of ‘Honourable Mentions’ at the end but feel that it wasn’t consistant enough as a series to warrant a placing in this list. Marvel Cinematic Universe cannot be included in the list as a whole because in my opinion, it doesn’t fall under an entire film series, it is a selection of films involving different characters and a different story arc. However, the X-Men films can be included and they were also listed under ‘Honourable Mentions.’

      As explained above, it would be hypocritical of me to include Star Wars in the listings as the three prequels stripped away all the good work that George Lucas and his team created with Episodes 4, 5 and 6. They were not of a good quality of film-making and whilst that seems to be the most controversial omission in my list, it is one I have to stand by.

      Jurassic Park changed the way people see the ‘Blockbuster’. It revolutionised CGI effects to a degree that could never be imagined back in 1993 and yes, whilst I agree the sequels failed to live up to the standard set by the first, they packed enough punch, heart-racing action and storytelling to warrant the silver medal in my list.

      Again, thank you for your comments and I hope you continue to enjoy reading Movie Metropolis.

      • In that case then you cannot include Halloween as a franchise as Halloween 3 has nothing at all to do with Michael Myers. Marvel films all take place within the same universe with intertwining characters and plot lines… How can that not be classed as a franchise?

      • Hi Sam.

        You are right about Halloween 3 not involving Michael Myers and perhaps I should’ve taken this into account a little more than I did, but the series itself redesigned the horror genre completely. It invented a new face of fear to the people who went to see it, and apart from a few lapses in pace, H3 being one of them, it steam-rolled itself into the 21st Century when Rob Zombie again reinvented it with his remake. A good franchise can reinvent itself if necessary. This is what Jurassic Park is doing with the release of JP4 in June next year, 13 years after JP3 was released.

        Marvel is just too broad to include as a movie franchise. Marvel itself is a company, much like the studios which produce the other films in this list. Yes, all the characters intertwine but it is simply too bulky to include. As I said though, they can be broken down to their specific series’. X-Men and Iron Man (from 2013) can be included.

        With regards to the rules I made about how films get their place here, perhaps I should’ve put those across a little better and thanks to you, I will be doing this in the future.

        The exciting thing about these lists is to encourage debate and opinion and that is exactly what they are meant to do, so I thank you for yours.

      • I wouldn’t call throwing money at Rob Zombie to make a very near shot by shot remake of a film that has aged well just so they can cash in on the brand name is reinventing itself, but ho hum

      • Sam, with all due respect, have you seen the remake of Halloween?

        There are hardly any similarities between that and John Carpenter’s original. In fact, the entire first act is completely different. Zombie decided to look at Michael’s backstory which John Carpenter completely omitted and after a scene showing Michael as a young boy, it moved on to Laurie Strode as a young woman, obviously played by the excellent Jamie Lee Curtis. They are both completely different films.

        As I said, these fortnightly countdowns are just an opinion and they are there to encourage debate.

  6. Great list! I saw the comment about not putting Star Wars on the list. What I do is I usually separate Star Wars into the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. I have a tendency to completely ignore the prequels, except for Revenge of The Sith. I was actually wondering what you thought of the Back To The Future, Godfather, and Bourne films.

    • That’s a good idea, the prequels definitely don’t deserve to be in the same league as the original trilogy.

      I like Back to the Future, in fact, I think they’re excellent, but I just don’t think they are as good as the other films in my list – the sequels aren’t quite up to scratch.

      The Godfather is one of the best films of all time, no denying that, but I don’t think its sequels matched the first, well maybe the second did, but I needed consistency to include the series in my Top 5.

      Bourne I’m not a huge fan of, they seem to be stilted, like they’re holding back from being brilliant, Matt Damon for me isn’t a good choice and there are so many similar films out there that I couldn’t include them.

      I’m glad you liked the list and thanks so much for your comment.

  7. Nice list man! Good job! I would have put a place for The Dark Knight Saga and Star Wars. But hey your list does not have The Twilight Saga so I’m good with it. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment! 🙂 I do like Batman, but I thought if I included it, I would have to include the series as a whole, which would include some pretty terrible films.

      I explained my reasons behind Star Wars being omitted in another comment. Basically, the prequels are the reason why – I’m sure you can guess why 😉

      I don’t know why anyone would include Twilight in any ‘Best of’ lists haha.

      Thanks so much for commenting!

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