The Earnings Of The Biggest Movie Franchises Over The Last 20 Years

Submitted by Visual Capitalist

From Iron Man to Luke Skywalker, viewers love watching their favorite heroes triumph over evil time and time again. These successful movie franchises have won our hearts, and padded film studios’ wallets in the process.

Today’s animation comes from Reddit user /u/rebellious_scum and it charts North American box office sales for select movie franchises, as reported by movie data website The Numbers. The daily ticket earnings were captured from May 19, 1999 (release date of Star Wars: Episode I) to April 4, 2019 and adjusted for inflation.

What stands out the most?

The clear takeaway from the animation is Marvel’s exponential earnings growth since it debuted with Iron Man in 2008.

As of April 4, the franchise had earned inflation-adjusted revenue of $7.63 billion – almost double that of runner-up Star Wars, which totaled $4.03 billion. Of course, this does not take into account data from the record-shattering release of Avengers: Endgame on April 26th, which would skew numbers in Marvel’s favor even more.

Average Revenue Per Movie

While these numbers sound impressive, what’s the average revenue each movie has generated in North America?

Using the animation’s inflation-adjusted numbers, here’s how it all breaks down:

Source: VisualCapitalist.com

Star Wars and Middle Earth top the list in terms of average revenue per movie. Meanwhile, Marvel lands in third place and is closely followed by Pirates of the Caribbean, the Wizarding World, and the DC Extended Universe (DCEU).

Compared to direct competitor DCEU, Marvel earns roughly $30 million more per movie.

The Rate of Movie Production

The secret, in part, to Marvel’s astronomical surge?

They produce movies at breakneck speed. The studio knows it has a winning recipe, and cooks up movies quickly to stay fresh in viewers’ minds.

In twelve years, Marvel Studios has produced 22 movies including Avengers: Endgame. By comparison, the giant James Bond franchise has produced 24 movies since its inception 57 years ago in 1962.

Source: 007.com, Marvel.com

The Market Share Leaders

With Disney’s recent purchase of Fox, the ownership of movie franchises became even more concentrated.

Today, Hollywood essentially has three parent companies: The Walt Disney Company, Universal/Comcast Corp., and WarnerMedia (previously TimeWarner). Here’s who owns the above eight franchises:

Sources: Business Insider, Forbes, Fortune, The Tolkien Society

Disney is a major player in the franchise space, and shows no signs of slowing down. There are even talks that the company is looking to reboot the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

In an industry full of risk, studios are looking to capitalize on a winning franchise formula: build a trusted brand with beloved characters, and produce movies as fast as time will allow.