Money. Money is awesome and it makes the world go ’round. Movies. Movies are also awesome. They don’t make the world turn, but they’re damn fun to watch. Well, most of them anyway (that’s a post for another day). In any case, wouldn’t it be fun if we looked at the biggest movie franchises of all time? So for background, let’s say that we’ll be looking at the highest grossing franchises with data being provided by The Numbers. Of course, no NSB piece would be complete without color commentary. That being said, some of these quickie reviews may contain spoilers. Now that we have the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get to the chewy center of this candy-coated treat.
Sitting atop the throne on our journey is Harry Potter. The tale of a misfit boy that discovers he is a wizard whose fate is inexorably intertwined with a dark figure that haunts the world of wizardry. This journey spans eight films with most of the cast returning for all the installments with the exception of the enigmatic headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, played by Richard Harris. A great set of films for the old and the young, if not a bit plagued by annoying instances of indecision and tragically moronic behavior common to prepubescence and the human condition.
James Bond $6,198,294,722
Say what you will about all of Daniel Craig’s predecessors, James Bond was a credible and a heavy-hitting money maker before he came along. The iconic playboy spy story in archetypal form, with an awesome pedigree. In order of appearance: Barry Nelson, Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Christopher Cazenove, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and finally Daniel Craig. The story of a secret agent codename 007. A cultured gentleman with a penchant for maiming and killing badasses all around the world.
What’s there to say about Star Wars other than that we all wish we could erase Episode 1 from our memories. Incidentally, for the uninitiated, Episode 1 is actually episode 4 insofar as release order is concerned. The original first installment came to us from the hands of George Lucas in 1977. The tale of a farm boy turned laser-sword-wielding, telekinetic martial artist and fighter pilot. Probably responsible for most of the imaginary space battles that filled my youth. Recently, the rights have been purchased by Disney who promises a continuation of the story. With a good portion of the cast returning from the original trilogy, things may be looking up. All that aside, this franchise is responsible for perhaps the illest dwarf ever envisioned. Yes, Yoda.
Lord of the Rings $3,952,441,216
First off, let me just say, if you haven’t seen the LOTR trilogy, I’ll attempt to save you roughly 9 hours of your life. Before I go on, I’m not saying it wasn’t an awesome cinematic journey, I’m just saying if I knew the movies would basically be the story of grown men (yes, even the hobbits are adults) taking the scenic route to get somewhere only to breakdown, cry, and hug it out, I would have told them to shove it and do some push ups. Other than all that drama, I guess we’re looking at a decent experience. I read the novels, way more awesome, but then again, books always seem to be better. Our imaginations aren’t limited by technology or production budgets.
To say Johnny Depp made this whole franchise what it is would not be a stretch by any means. His slurred speech and drunken antics added just the right dash of comedy to the action and adventure to create an entertaining experience. It really might as well be called Johnny’s Pirate Adventure. Yeah, after the second installment, the story got a bit… well horrible. Yet, to be honest, I wouldn’t mind watching the films again, albeit with my hand on the remote so I can shorten the experience. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly do aptly play the supporting roles and the villains aren’t bad… I’ll just say I would recommend the first two films.
Batman – $3,714,171,639
Shrek – $3,510,784,482
Twilight – $3,352,322,180
Spider-Man – $3,254,035,946
Ice Age – $2,801,890,250