> Ticket sales: $2.494 billion
Spider-Man has had three films so far. The fourth, a re-start of the series titled “The Amazing Spider-Man,” is set to hit theaters in July 2012 with a new set of actors, including a new Spider-Man. The three prior films had gross sales in box offices globally of almost $2.5 billion. The new trailer: a mutated spider bites a kid named Peter Parker and he goes on to put on tights and a mask to fight evil and greed. Sound familiar? Same story, hopefully with some new twists.
> Ticket sales: $2.531 billion
The Batman franchise has had several leading ‘Batmen,’ but the 2008 Dark Knight release with Christian Bale and Heath Ledger brought in a whopping $1 billion of the franchise’s $2.53 billion in sales for all six movies. The newest coming installment, “The Dark Knight Rises,” is set to be released in July 2012, and it is listed as being the ending to the Dark Knight theme. It is amazing how many times this series can be rebooted with new general features and the same characters over and over in Gotham City without the audience tiring of the same hero.
> Ticket sales: $2.667 billion
At first, Transformers seemed as if it might be suited for children only, but the action-packed adventures in a galactic war of man versus machine managed to impress movie watchers of all ages. It has had three installments with Shia LaBeouf as the leading character. We do not have any confirmation yet, but a Transformers 4 and Transformers 5 are said to be coming down the pipe. Rumors suggest the new films will have a new leading actor as well as a new director instead of Michael Bay. The new character, director, plots, and scripts are all still said to be work-in-progress for now, so stay tuned.
> Ticket sales: $2.78 billion
Avatar was a record-breaker on too many fronts to count. Compared to other franchises on this list, Avatar is still just one film that generated $2.78 billion in global box office sales after its late-2009 release. We count Avatar as a franchise because James Cameron has announced two more releases coming in the coming years. This film was effectively the antithesis of the story of the American Indians during the 1800s, but set well into the future and on a different planet. In Cameron’s version, however, the aliens have won so far in their battle against the greedy invaders looking to reward stockholders. The one film was such a big financial success that the series is almost a shoe-in to be ranked far higher than No.7 in the top ten franchises of all-time after the sequels are released.
6. The Lord of the Rings
> Ticket sales: $2.908 billion
The Lord of the Rings franchise released three movies in the last decade, not counting the low-budget animated films of prior years. The three films generated over $2.9 billion in sales. Two new installments of the “The Hobbit,” to be released in late-2012 and late 2013 are about to breathe new life into the Tolkien books-based franchise. The Lord of the Rings may soon go by The Hobbit, but make no mistake. This is Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and the $2.9 billion in movie ticket sales will son be far higher. Imagine the add-on sales just for re-releasing the first three films in theaters in the months before The Hobbit.