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The Falls and Rises of Film Franchises

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Franchise Ranking

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Key starIMDbUser Rating starRotten TomatoesCritics Rating starBox OfficeBox Office Opening Weekend (US)
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Franchise Analysis

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Franchise Comparison

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Line IMDb Users Rating
Line Rotten Tomatoes Critics Rating
Bars Box OfficeBox office Opening Weekend (Million US Dollars)
Highest Earning Films in a Franchise

The opening weekend for a film says a lot about its probable success, and in terms of earnings over that weekend, the film in a franchise with the highest earnings is most likely to be the eighth.

That means when you take the opening weekends for each film in the top major franchises and find an average for every entry in a series - the average of Attack of the Clones and Chamber of Secrets gives film 2, for example - it's actually the eighth film that comes out on top - presumably if a franchise can make it to eight films, the public is pretty keen to see it.

Film Average Opening Weekend
Most Successful Film Franchises

While the Harry Potter franchise earnt the most across all its opening weekends, the best average earnings were for The Hunger Games, followed by Jurassic Park.

Harry Potter had a high total of its takings, but that's across eight films - when it's an average of film-by-film earnings, The Hunger Games and Jurassic Park beat the Boy Who Lived down to third place. Meanwhile, horror films tended to group up towards the bottom of both rankings - quite the scare for their producers!

Title Average Opening Weekend Takings Total Opening Weekend Takings
Highest-Rated Film Franchises

Everyone has a favourite film, but what's the favourite franchise? When you take the average review scores of the entire series, Harry Potter and Indiana Jones are tied for most popular by users on IMDb - but critics on Rotten Tomatoes give the edge to the Harrison Ford classic, making it the top-rated film franchise overall.

The only horror franchise that made it close to the top was Alien - which earned an out-of-this-world combined review score of 7.28, only 0.20 lower than Star Wars.

Title IMDB Score Rotten Tomatos Score Average Score
Critics vs Fans - the Top 10 Film Quality Disagreements
10 films IMDb liked much more than Rotten Tomatoes 10 films Rotten Tomatoes liked much more than IMDb

Critics and the public don't always agree on what films are worth watching. When Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb scores are put onto the same scale and compared, there's quite a significant difference between some of their scoring.

Users on IMDb rate films higher than critics on Rotten Tomatoes for the most part, giving vastly better reviews of Underworld: Evolution and films from the Saw, Police Academy, and Resident Evil Franchises. But the critics thought a lot more of Spy Kids than everyone else did - by a whole 3.9 points on a scale of 1-10. Have a look and see the top films for maximum difference of opinion.

10 films IMDb liked much more than Rotten Tomatoes 10 films Rotten Tomatoes liked much more than IMDb
Commercially Successful Bad Films

Just because a film is bad doesn't mean it can't make a lot of money. When reviews from IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes are combined and compared to opening weekend box office earnings, Twilight: New Moon and its sequel, Breaking Dawn: Part 1 top the list when it comes to poorly reviewed moneymakers.

Have a look at the graph to see what other films with a low combined review score managed to earn a large amount of money in their opening weekend.

Film Badness Score Opening Weekend (US)
Franchises That Improved Over Time

Sequels are rarely better than the original - over the course of the research, only 6 franchises improved from film to film on average. The most successful was Mission: Impossible, which saw the most gain in review scores on average - but not a single series consistently improved on every new film.

Films Within Franchise Year Made IMDB Score Rotten Tomatos Score Combined Score
Franchises That Got Worse Over Time

It's well known that a sequel to a smash hit is usually not quite as good. Spy Kids is the prime example - degrading by an average of 1.48 points (on a 1-10 scale) in review scores with every new film, with a massive decrease in scores over the series. Look at the graph to see the franchises where sequels lost the most points with each new sequel.

Films Within Franchise Year Made IMDB Score Rotten Tomatos Score Combined Score