Skip to main content

30 Longest Running Movie Franchises

Resident Evil (2002 -)

No. Of Films: 6 - Resident Evil (2002), Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004) , Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), Resident Evil: Retribution (2012), Resident Evil 6 (2014)

Quantity Over Quality? Let's not kid ourselves. The Resident Evil franchise has never been loved by critics - the first film, widely considered the best, holds a rating of just 33% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

In recent years, though, the franchise has made something of a comeback. Apocalypse was a total duff, but 2012's Retribution earned favourable reviews, hinting that the in-the-works RE6 could have some life in it…

Box Office Haul: $913,705,586

Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974-2013)

No. Of Films: 7 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986), Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990), Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) , The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006), T exas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

Quantity Over Quality? If you want to see a filmic chainsaw massacre in Texas, your best bet is still Tobe Hooper's 1974 original. Gritty, grubby and still terrifying, it knew exactly what it was doing when it unleashed Leatherface on a bunch of screaming teens.

The less said about the sequels and the remakes the better. Though TCM2 benefited from an appearance by Dennis Hopper, the series hit a low point with Matthew McConaughey's The Next Generation before sinking lower still with 2006 prequel The Beginning.

Just. Make. It. End.

Box Office Haul: $237,073,192

Police Academy (1984 -)

No. Of Films: 8 - Police Academy (1984), Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), Police Academy 3: Back in Training (1986), Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol (1987), Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach (1988), Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989), Police Academy 7: Mission to Moscow (1994), Police Academy (2015)

Quantity Over Quality? It's not like we're talking about high art here. With its goofy jokes and even goofier cast, the first Police Academy had fun with a decent concept - and it should probably have all stopped there.

Though part two gave us Bobcat Goldthwaite, parts four, five, six and seven deserve life imprisonment. And there's a reboot on the way…

Box Office Haul:

Children Of The Corn (1984-2011)

No. Of Films: 8 - Children Of The Corn (1984), Children Of The Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1993), Children Of The Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995), Children Of The Corn IV: The Gathering (1996), Children Of The Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998), Children Of The Corn 666: Isaac's Return (1999), Children Of The Corn: Revelation (2001), Children Of The Corn: Genesis (2011)

Quantity Over Quality? The Linda Hamilton-starring first film is a patchy, eerie adaptation of Stephen King's short story that features more creepy children than you can shake a corn on the cob at.

The sequels all do the 'rinse and repeat' thing, though, stretching an already-paper-thin concept to breaking point. And then carrying on anyway. We expect a reboot any day now…

Box Office Haul: $21,549,975 (first two films, the rest were DTV)

Star Wars (1977 -)

No. Of Films: 8 - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (1983), Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones (2002), Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith (2005), Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008), Star Wars: Episode VII (2015)

Quantity Over Quality?
Before George Lucas threw a spanner in the works with his belated prequel trilogy, it would have been easy to argue that the Star Wars films form one quality package (even if Jedi has its moments).

Though the prequels are definitely more nipper-friendly than the original films (and, crucially, over-rely on green screen to the detriment of just about everything, including acting), there's a new hope in the form of Episode VII.

JJ Abrams' reboot is only the beginning, too, with Disney planning a whole new series of films - plus a load of spin-offs. Get ready to spend a lot of time in that galaxy far, far away…

Box Office Haul : $4,485,672,683

Harry Potter (2001-2011)

No. Of Films: 8 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) , Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)

Quantity Over Quality? Thanks to the literary framework laid down by JK Rowling, the Harry Potter franchise is about as solid as they come.

True, there are dips (was The Half-Blood Prince really necessary?), but viewers are taken on one heck of a journey from the franchise's fizzy, kid-friendly opener right through to the tragedy-laden drama of the two-part closer.

Box Office Haul:

Alien (1979 -)

No. Of Films: 7 - Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Alien 3 (1992), Alien: Resurrection (1997), Alien Vs Predator (2004), Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem (2007), Prometheus (2012)

Quantity Over Quality? The Alien franchise is an interesting one in that it hasn't been subjected to the sheer number of sequels that a lot of other big horror franchises have (compare the modest four films in the original run with Friday The 13th 's 10).

That doesn't mean the quality isn't all over the place, though. While the first two films are untouchable, Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection divide audiences right down the middle, while most fans would quite happily retcon the Alien Vs Predator spin-offs.

Meanwhile, Prometheus wasn't quite the return to from that xeno-philes were expecting, though there's a (very faint) glimmer of hope in a potential Prometheus 2…

Box Office Haul: $1,406,580,804

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984-2010)

No. Of Films: 9 - A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) , A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985), A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987), A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991) , Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994), Freddy Vs. Jaso n (2003), A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Quantity Over Quality? A Nightmare On Elm Street is the brainchild of writer/director Wes Craven, so it makes sense that the best entries in the franchise are all his.

The original is a hugely creative slasher, while ANOES3 (which Craven co-scripted) smartly relocates the action to a hospital psychiatric ward (and reintroduces heroine Nancy).

We’d have to get through another three increasingly-awful sequels before Craven returned with the granddaddy of Nightmare flicks, twisting the franchise in on itself for post-modern swan song Wes Craven's New Nightmare . (Yes, we're ignoring the reboot.)

Box Office Haul: $448,268,230

Planet Of The Apes (1968 -)

No. Of Films: 9 - Planet Of The Apes (1968), Beneath The Planet Of The Apes (1970), Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971), Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes (1972), Battle For The Planet Of The Apes (1973), Planet Of The Apes (2001), Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011), Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)

Quantity Over Quality? The first five sequels to Charlton Heston's mighty original were rushed into production to be released every summer over a five year stretch, so quality varies massively.

Generally speaking, the quality of the original six films adheres to the rule of diminishing returns so that by the time Battle For The Planet Of The Apes came around, nobody seemed to care anymore.

That is, until 2011's unexpectedly awesome reboot reignited interest in the franchise in the wake of a dreadful Tim Burton movie. With Dawn due this year, the apes are back on a high…

Box Office Haul: $926,756,360

Hellraiser (1987 -)

No. Of Films: 10 - Hellraiser (1987), Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988), Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Hellraiser: Inferno (2000), Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002), Hellraiser: Deader (2005), Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005), Hellraiser: Revelations (2011), Hellraiser Reboot (2015)

Quantity Over Quality? You can pretty much write off any of the sequels after Hellbound: Hellraiser II.

Clive Barker's icky original is a fantastically morbid fairytale featuring some of the most iconic horror characters ever created (we're looking at you Pinhead), while Hellbound didn't disappoint, taking the franchise to hellish new depths. (Seriously, Hellraiser: Deader ?!)

Further sequels only rinsed the property for every drop of blood it could find, though - so much so that a Barker-directed reboot is now in the works to start the process all over again. Hell is cyclical, after all...

Box Office Haul: