Investing

The Most Valuable Movie Franchises Of All-Time

5. Shrek

> Ticket sales: $2.954 billion

The four Shrek films, released from 2001 to 2010, tally up to $2.954 billion in sales. The offshoot Puss in Boots is too new to add into the Shrek franchise value for now. While no new installments have been announced, the Shrek franchise just seems too profitable to kick to the curb entirely. Maybe DreamWorks doesn’t want to rush it or press it, but a game theorist would predict more Shrek installments are coming. DreamWorks is public after all and that means the company should do what is best for its shareholders.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean

> Ticket sales: $3.72 billion

Pirates of the Caribbean was supposed to be a three-part series, made after the Disney theme, but a fourth installment was already released in May 2011. Now, there appears to be a fifth movie coming in 2013 and a sixth in 2014. Johnny Depp may be an old man by the time he gets to walk away from being Jack Sparrow because this franchise has been so profitable. The four-part series to date has racked up $3.72 billion in global box office ticket sales.

3. (or 2.) Star Wars

> Ticket sales: $4.2 billion

Star Wars seems almost penalized because the 1970s and 1980s ticket prices were far lower than today. Still, $4.2 billion and growing after six films (not counting animation) is not bad at all. The series is also about to get two boosts on top of the already released Blu-ray format of the six film saga released earlier in 2011. The first boost will be the Electronic Arts MMO video game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, set for release in December 2011. Also, the fourth film, Episode 1, will be released in a 3-D version February 2012, according to IMDB. That will only drive sales higher for Fox and LucasFilms on top of more than three decades worth of books, comics, toys, games, and other merchandise sold. This film franchise has reached just about every culture on the planet now and everyone in the world knows what a lightsaber is.

2. (or 3.) James Bond

> Ticket sales: $5.03 billion

The James Bond movies have not only helped kick off so many successful actor careers, but also introduced the rest of us to a glamorous spy world. The franchise is now about 23 films and growing. Daniel Craig is set to return as 007 in 2012 with a film dubbed Skyfall. Craig is the latest in a long list of actors that played Mr. Bond, including Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and others. It is one of the greatest movie franchises and is only going to keep growing through time. Whether you like Aston Martins, shaken martinis, the most luxurious casinos or beach settings in the world, everyone knows who James Bond is. There are some large discrepancies on ticket sales because of so many films being very old now, but combining sources between IMDB and Box Office Mojo put the global Bond ticket sales of almost a half-century at just over $5 billion. We would note that in 2010 CNBC listed it as $3.55 billion. It’s possible our combined figures go further back on an international basis.

1. Harry Potter

> Ticket sales: $7.66 billion

Harry Potter was a magical franchise for both children and adults after author J.K. Rowling sold millions and millions of novels to real-world muggles. It is the current movie franchise king after eight films. This franchise should easily maintain its leading position for quite some time considering its $7.66 billion in global combined movie sales. For all practical purposes, the series is over … for now. Just don’t be shocked when you hear about spin-off franchises in the future. Harry and the rest of lot will have kids and in between now and the next decade or so there are many other characters that could grow into books and film series all on their own. Maybe it will take a few years or maybe a decade, but there will be more battles involving the witches and wizards and other creatures of Rowling’s magical world.

JON C. OGG