30 Longest Running Movie Franchises

The Exorcist (1973 - 2004)

No. Of Films: 4 - The Exorcist (1973), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), The Exorcist III (1989), Exorcist: The Beginning (2004), Dominion: Prequel To The Exorcist (2004)

Quantity Over Quality? If any movie franchise is cursed, it's the Exorcist franchise. While the first film's the defining possession flick against which all other possession flicks must be measured, the remaining films in the franchise sort of resemble the celluloid version of green puke.

Exorcist II dragged the concept into a weird disco version of a horror flick, while Exorcist: The Beginning was ripped apart by the studio, reshot by another director and released under a different title…

Only The Exorcist III comes close to capturing the same chills as the original, and even that film required last-minute reshoots to insert an exorcism into the story…

Box Office Haul: $496,966,909

Note: All box office data sourced from The Numbers and correct as of 5 May 2014.

Dirty Harry (1971-1988)

No. Of Films: 5 - Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), Sudden Impact (1983), The Dead Pool (1988)

Quantity Over Quality? With Clint Eastwood growling and firing pistols throughout, the Dirty Harry franchise is surprisingly sturdy through the course of its four sequels.

The Enforcer gives Clint a female assistant (Tyne Daly), while Magnum Force keeps tensions running high as Harry dives into the tricky issue of police corruption - with surprising results.

Box Office Haul: $224,579,600

Death Wish (1974-1994)

No. Of Films: 5 - Death Wish (1974) , Death Wish II ( 1982), Death Wish 3 (1985), Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987), Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994)

Quantity Over Quality? Though the first film in Charles Brosnan's violent, gun-toting franchise sparked a media furore about vigilantism, it remains the best in the five-film series.

The sequels are another matter, though, cranking up the anarchy with lacklustre results. It's crazy to see a franchise default to blueprint as early as its first sequel, but that's exactly what happens with Death Wish II - and beyond.

Box Office Haul: $62,808,612

Child's Play (1988 -)

No. Of Films: 6 - Child's Play ( 1988), Child's Play 2 (1990), Child's Play 3 (1991) , Bride Of Chucky (1998) , Seed Of Chuck y (2004), Curse Of Chucky (2013)

Quantity Over Quality? Tabloid scandal buried the franchise in the wake of its second sequel, but until then, this horror series about the little doll that could (kill) was ticking along nicely thanks to its jet-black humour and iconic antagonist.

The humour is what has kept the franchise fresh, not least when it unexpectedly returned from the dead with the brilliant Bride Of Chucky , which benefitted from the slick direction of Ronny Yu (and it did puppet sex way before Team America ).

Seed Of Chucky pushed the post-modernism too far, but that's OK because sixth entry Curse Of Chucky took things back to basics with surprisingly entertaining results. Here's hoping for Chucky VII

Box Office Haul:

Night Of The Living Dead (1968 -)

No. Of Films: 6 - Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) , Day of the Dead (1985) , Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), Survival of the Dead (2009)

Quantity Over Quality? Night Of The Living Dead remains one of the best zombie flicks ever made, with sequel Dawn Of The Dead coming a close second.

While Zack Snyder remade Dawn in 2004 (and did a pretty decent job), franchise overlord George A. Romero is not to be upstaged, which is why he resurrected his series in 2005's Land Of The Dead.

It's a fun post-apocalyptic flick and a solid continuation of the series, though latest entry Survival isn't a patch on the earlier films.

Box Office Haul: $172,251,464

Rocky (1976 -)

No. Of Films: 7 - Rocky (1976), Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), Rocky IV (1985), Rocky V (1990), Rocky Balboa (2006), Creed (2015)

Quantity Over Quality? Sylvester Stallone's series of boxing melodramas is one of the greatest sports franchises ever created.

It survives the inevitable slide into soap opera by pitting Rocky against memorably badass foes (Dolph Lundgren, Mr T) and only loses its footing with the dreadful Rocky V.

Happily, belated sequel Rocky Balboa signalled a return to (heavyweight) form. Also, there's a spin-off, Creed , in the works. Michael B. Jordan will star as the son of Apollo Creed. We can't wait.

Box Office Haul: $1,126,780,409

National Lampoon (1983-1989)

No. Of Films: 7 - National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), National Lampoon's Class Reunion (1982), National Lampoon's Movie Madness (1982), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), National Lampoon's Joy Of Sex (1984), National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Quantity Over Quality? Just counting the original National Lampoon films that were made before the name was bought out (and not counting the films that also bought the NL tag during the '80s but weren't produced by NL), it's clear to see there's serious quality here.

From stunning debut Animal House to the various Vacation films, there's a reason the name National Lampoon became as revered in comedy as Judd Apatow later would.

Box Office Haul: $286,874,576

Saw (2004-2010)

No. Of Films: 7 - Saw (2004), Saw II (2005) , Saw III (2006), Saw IV (2007), Saw V (2008), Saw VI (2009), Saw: The Final Chapter (2010)

Quantity Over Quality? If torture porn's your thing, surely there's no better franchise than this gooey, wince-inducing carousel of pain and misery.

While the first film's more of a twisty-turny thriller, the subsequent sequels played up the torture angle to - some might argue - the detriment of the overall story.

Saw V and final entry Saw: The Final Chapter were definitely torture to sit through…

Box Office Haul: $877,355,411

Fast & Furious (2001 -)

No. Of Films: 7 - The Fast And The Furious (2001), Fast 2 Furious (2003), The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006), F ast & Furious (2009), Fast Five (2011), Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Fast & Furious 7 (2015)

Quantity Over Quality? Who'd have thought that a fun if throwaway action flick from 2001 would eventually spawn one of cinema's mega-franchises?

If you're an F& F fan, it's likely you think that the franchise has only improved with time, going from middling car flick to all-out heist franchise, starring some of the coolest action superstars Hollywood has to offer.

Box Office Haul: $2,383,350,003

X-Men (2000 -)

No. Of Films: 7 - X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), X-Men: First Class (2011), The Wolverine (2013), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Quantity Over Quality? There's definitely a 50/50 split in the X-franchise so far. X-Me n, X2 and X-Men: First Class are clear stand-outs, while the two Wolverine films and The Last Stand left something to be desired.

With X-Men: Days Of Future Past out in mere weeks, here's hoping it can tip the balance in the mutants' favour.

DOFP isn't the end, either. Fox has already commenced work on X-Force and X-Men: Apocalypse , clearly hoping to build a franchise to rival even the Avengers.

Box Office Haul:

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.