3. James Bond
Includes: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall
Current Earnings: $6,198,420,185
Secrets Of Its Success: There have been gadgets, double entendres and mystifyingly kazoo-soundtracked set-pieces. Beautiful women, cat-stroking villains and, as The West Wing’s Jed Bartlett pointed out, an iconic cocktail that’s actually not as cool as it sounds. But, whether played by aloof Connery, smirking Moore or brooding Craig, the one constant in this staggeringly successful franchise, and its most important ingredient, is 007 himself. Ian Fleming’s creation epitomises style, class, heroism and masculinity.
Audiences don’t care whether 007’s clashing with Soviet counter-intelligence agencies, metal-mouthed giants or megalomaniacs – they want escapism in the company of a debonair hero who can punch the baddie and get the girl. The franchise may have been through six actors and adapted to each generation but Bond, and everything adventurous and sophisticated that he represents, endures.