Watching a good movie can be a life changing experience. Nothing else comes close to seeing characters come to life onscreen, engage in the plot, and then witness the climax unfold before your very eyes.
A standalone movie in and of itself is a fantastic event, but one that can sometimes feel too short. This is why movie franchises are so popular, because audiences can re-engage with the same characters in future productions.
Below are five must-see movie franchises from the past 25 years.
Ocean Film Series
With the release of the first film in this series, everyone loved Ocean’s 11; it was the perfect combination of comedy, action, excitement and thrill. Whether you are a fan of gambling, heists, comedic timing, or the specific A-list actors of the film, you have undoubtedly been blown away by the film.
The success of Ocean’s first film led to a trilogy that was largely director Steven Soderbergh’s universe. Even though a fourth installment of the franchise was released in 2018, many fans believe the Original Trilogy is the collection of films that share the most similarities.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
There’s no way to talk about movie franchises without mentioning the one franchise that has dominated cinema for the past ten to fifteen years. The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU for short, is now up to the task 24 interconnected films that share intrigues, characters and themes.
When the first Iron Man movie came out in the late 2000s, few fans could have predicted that it would lead to such an explosion for Marvel movies and comic book movies in general. One blockbuster film led to another, before the ultimate team movie was created in the form of The Avengers.
While there are several individual films and trilogies contained within the MCU, the franchise as a whole covers 24 films that have grossed nearly $ 15 billion in box office revenue. The highest-grossing domestic film in the franchise is Avengers: Endgame, with Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War in second and third place.
Many franchises on this list no longer have plans to add new movies, but that’s far from the case for the MCU. These films are still going strong, despite the death or retirement offscreen of several major characters along the way.
There are very few movie franchises that polarize audiences the way Star Wars does. Adored and hated in equal measure, especially by its own fans, Star Wars films are always entertained in theaters.
The story of Star Wars began with the original trilogy, which is considered by most critics and fans to be the greatest set of films in the franchise as a whole. These films paved the way for people to tell unique and engaging sci-fi and space fantasy stories, even though the CGI and special effects weren’t as polished as in modern films.
A prequel trilogy has finally made its way into theaters, but it never had the same adoration from fans and critics. Eventually, the franchise was put on hold, but a possible Disney purchase led to a revival with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and several subsequent sequels and tangentially linked films.
The wizarding world
What started with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone has grown into one of the highest-grossing, eye-catching franchises of all time. The Seven Harry Potter Books make up the first eight films in The Wizarding World franchise, featuring the journey of Harry Potter and his friends as they battle the dark wizard Voldemort.
Even though the Harry Potter story ended with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, fans still have much to be excited about this franchise. A new film series, Fantastic Beasts, has already released two films, and a third is on the way.
Most franchises have a niche appeal, with a specific type of fan who is most excited about their next iteration. Much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Harry Potter films have been successful because of their universal appeal. Children, young adults, parents and even grandparents could enjoy these movies, as there was something for everyone.
Fast and furious
A guide to movie franchises wouldn’t be complete without discussing Fast and Furious, one of the oldest movie franchises today.
What started as a toned-down movie about race car drivers attempting modest heists has turned into one of the most bombastic, exciting and mind-blowing franchises of all time.
The first film in this franchise was released in 2001, and a total of nine films have since been made with the first set of characters. More Fast and Furious movies are on the way, with each release surpassing the others at the box office.
Find your next cinematic obsession
If you missed watching one or more of the above movie franchises, now is a great time to start. With so many movies to choose from, you can most likely create a movie playlist to keep you busy for several weeks.
There’s always magic in watching a single movie that doesn’t have a prequel, sequel, or material tangentially tied to the release. Fans, however, spoke with their wallets as they happily returned to theaters to watch blockbuster movie franchises that offer one great payout after another.