Movie franchise is ... Definition and opportunities, an overview of the best franchises

Any fan of the film industry knows firsthand about such a thing as a “franchise”. The popularity of this phenomenon is also perfectly explainable, because if you have a ready-made idea that has proved to be excellent at the box office, you can continue to shoot an infinite number of sequels, prequels and spin-offs. Does this bring income to filmmakers? Of course. Does the franchise have any negative impact on the industry as a whole? Of course. Today we will try to understand the concept of a franchise in a movie: what does it mean and what are its features. As a bonus, we will consider examples of the most popular paintings, which are the product of activities in this direction.

A movie franchise is ...

When they talk about the phenomenon we are considering in the film industry, it is often called another word - media franchise. This term combines not only films, but also other entertainment products, such as games, series, books and comics.

In simple terms, a movie franchise is a series of films that are related to each other by the same theme. Usually they involve the same characters or the same setting. If we approach this issue from a more scientific side, we will get the following definition: a franchise in a movie is an intellectual property agreement consisting of a certain entourage, a caste of fictional characters and other details of a unique, well-developed “universe”. Usually we are talking about a series of films or individual sequels and prequels, which are either a direct continuation of the stories told in the original films, or a story offshoot.

The acquisition of rights to a franchise in the cinema is a guarantee that the buyer gets the idea, the name of the product and much more from what was listed earlier. It is very beneficial to engage in such projects, since the director already has a ready-made ideological line with a good reputation, on the basis of which you can shoot a successful picture in advance.

Top movie franchises

What can be included in film franchise?

When a successful film is taken under the wing of particularly enterprising producers, various sequels, prequels and spin-offs begin to appear on the screens. Surely even an ordinary viewer at least once heard these terms. As a rule, sequels are called the second and all subsequent films in the franchise. They are a direct continuation of the first part and develop the storyline begun earlier. Sometimes the third and fourth films get their own names - triquels (more frequent use) and quadriquels (less commonly used). And vice versa, the pictures in which the events preceding the first part are revealed are called prequels.

As for the term “spin-offs,” they mean films that are in the same “universe” as the original story. So, in simple terms, a movie franchise is a kind of “offshoot” from the main plot, remaining within the framework of the general concept. The most understandable example would be the upcoming spin-off for the popular TV series Game of Thrones, the final season of which starts this year.

Finally, having understood what a franchise in a movie means, we move on to the most interesting. Let's try to recall the best representatives of this phenomenon, which are familiar to the modern viewer. Note that the arrangement of the films in the article is arbitrary, we did not rely on any special ratings. The only thing that unites them is fame and great profitability.


Since the release of the first “Iron Man”, the cinema universe Marvel has managed to “score” a warm little place in the top positions of the world box office. Every year, the franchise delights its fans with new adventures of the famous superheroes, who descended directly from the pages of comics. Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man are just a few iconic Marvel characters about whom individual films were shot, but within the framework of the same Universe. It is safe to say that the highest grossing Hollywood company will continue to follow the planned path and, hopefully, will release many new successful films in the future.

"Harry Potter"

Another of the most profitable movie franchises of our time. Despite the fact that the story of the boy who survived has a fairly even literary basis, its embodiment in the films turned out to be completely different. In the first two parts, director Chris Columbus managed to tell a trivial family tale and remained faithful to the original atmosphere of magic. With the release of the third film, the franchise began to acquire a darker and darker shade - both in the plot and in technical solutions. Now that Potter’s story has come to an end, Fantastic Beasts, a series of other films from the same “universe,” began to be released.

A movie franchise is ... (in simple words)

"James Bond"

Speaking about the longest-running film franchises, one cannot fail to mention Bondiana. This mega-popular series of films about the British spy was released back in 1961 and continues to delight fans to this day. One of her secrets of longevity is that more than one actor plays the role of Bond. The modern viewer is probably used to Daniel Craig, but other icons such as Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Dalton and Roger Moore managed to visit him in the status 007.


We will not go far from the militants and recall, perhaps, the most stellar role of Bruce Willis. In Die Hard, the actor plays a character named John McClain, an eternally slightly tired and close to alcoholic policeman. The first part of the film franchise came out in 1988 and was an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Roderick Thorpe. To date, there are 5 films, each of which was remembered by the viewer not only for excellent action scenes, but also very charismatic villains.

"Lord of the Rings"

Perhaps the best fantasy franchise in the movie is the film adaptation of the two most famous works of the world famous English writer J. R. R. Tolkien. Both trilogies, filmed by The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, brought their creators nearly $ 6 billion. And while many fans continue heated discussions about the “Hobbit”, one cannot deny the fact that the long-awaited “Return to Middle-earth” managed to raise a very good cash register. On the whole, the Lord of the Rings film franchise was highly praised by both viewers and critics, receiving 37 Academy Award nominations and winning 18 of them.

What does a movie franchise mean?

"Star Wars"

A real gem among all the movie franchises of our time. Initially, George Lucas conceived Star Wars with a series of 9 paintings. The first trilogy was released in 1977 and was able to earn a resounding success, earning more than $ 2 billion. With the development of new digital technologies, the “continuation” saw the light in the form of a second trilogy, which was actually a prequel to the original films. Now George Lucas has already moved away from his brainchild, but the release of new paintings on the Star Wars universe continues to this day. This time, the “Disney” company turned out to be at the helm, the work of which causes many fans of the space saga many questions. Despite this, Star Wars continues to be profitable, which means the franchise is definitely not going to leave the screens.

The most famous movie franchise

"Indiana Jones"

There is no doubt that Indiana Jones films have always dominated the adventure movie niche with exciting pursuits and searching for ancient treasures. On the account of the franchise there are already 4 full-length films and one series telling about the adventures of the protagonist in his young years. On screen, the image of the charming archaeologist Jones was first embodied by Harrison Ford. Subsequently, the role was able to try on himself and another actor, but it was only in the framework of the serial spin-off. Despite his age, Harrison Ford plans to star in the fifth part of the franchise, which, according to rumors, is preparing to be released in 2021.

The Fast and the Furious

The release of the seventh film in the franchise literally blew up the world box office. In just seventeen days, Fast and the Furious 7 managed to raise over $ 1 billion. Of course, such a rush to see exactly the seventh part can also be associated with the tragic death of one of the leading actors - Paul Walker. It is not known whether the franchise will expect the same deafening success in the future. After the release of Fast and the Furious 8, it became clear that the audience was ready to continue to go to the cinema to watch new parts and pay good money for it. Let's see what the result will be shown by the upcoming franchise paintings, which are already being prepared for release.

"Pirates of the Caribbean"

The indisputable key to the success of the best movie franchise about pirates was Johnny Depp, who played one of his best roles. The eccentric Jack Sparrow was the main character of all the films released at the moment, the total number of which is 5. By the release of the movie “Dead Men Tell No Tales”, the franchise managed to earn over $ 3.7 billion. Rumor has it that Depp will leave his famous role as Sparrow and will no longer return to filming the sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean. It is unlikely that the producers will abandon one of the highest grossing movie franchises, so, most likely, in the future, adventures of new pirates will be waiting for us!

Most Profitable Franchise Films


Perhaps this is the only DC comics superhero who was able to build around himself one of the most famous movie franchises. He had to go through many restarts - both among films and among animation. Actors such as Val Kilmer, Michael Keaton and George Clooney have already visited this famous crime fighter. The film franchise about Batman was taken to a new level by the director Christopher Nolan, who shot a whole trilogy dedicated to the Dark Knight. This time Christian Bale got the main role, and the films themselves took on a darker and more serious tone than their predecessors. Now Batman is played by Ben Affleck, and although there have not been any separate pictures with him yet, the release of the long-awaited solo album is planned for 2020.


A series of sci-fi horror films about an extremely aggressive alien creature. The main series of films consists of 4 parts, the very first of which was released in 1979 with Sigourney Weaver in the title role. In the director’s chair, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Fincher, as well as the future author of Amelie Jean-Pierre Genet, managed to visit. In 2012, the release of a new picture from Ridley Scott called "Prometheus", which was supposed to be the backstory to the popular original. Later, the second trilogy acquired an independent direction and abandoned the title of “direct prequel,” while still remaining in the same universe as Alien. The release of the final film, as the director promises, will help to dot all i.

The highest grossing movie franchise

"Mad Max"

Most likely, many viewers first became acquainted with this franchise in 2015, when the Road of Fury was released, which became a real commercial success. In fact, a series of films about Mad Max originated in the 70s, when the main role was played not by Tom Hardy, but by Mel Gibson. At that time, this genre was just beginning to emerge, and it was the second part of the franchise that managed to initiate a real "boom" in post-apocalyptic cinema around the world. Despite the fact that the “Mad Max” of 1979 did not at first gain much popularity, it was decided to shoot the sequel. The first and second films were shot by the Australian director George Miller, and he returned Max to the big screens in the 2015 restart. At the moment, the next part is being prepared called "The Wasteland", in which Tom Hardy will continue to play the main role.

List of movie franchises

Several worthy projects can fill our list of movie franchises: Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Resident Evil, Terminator, Godzilla, People in black "and others. In fact, the vast majority of the modern film industry consists precisely of franchises. Many of them show excellent results at the box office, many, according to most viewers, it is better to retire. In any case, it is up to the viewer to decide whether to watch and maintain a particular franchise.


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