One franchise to rule them all. That seems like the operating procedure and main goal of Hollywood these days. Don’t just make a movie for a movie’s sake, but rather make one that can have a bunch of sequels and spin-offs. The franchise arms race is what rules Tinseltown. The Lord of the Rings didn’t have this as its core goal early though when it first came out. Peter Jackson just wanted to do Tolkien justice. That being said, for a while it sat in the top-5 of the biggest franchises ever. But over the weekend, according to Movie Web, it was passed by the Fast and Furious franchise in terms of worldwide box office gross.
The numbers for the highest-grossing box office franchises don’t go on a per movie basis, but rather pile together everything the franchise ever put out. The Lord of the Rings had been sitting in the five-spot for a while now, having taken home a little less than $5.9 billion through its first three movies and then the subsequent three Hobbit films. But with a strong international debut over the weekend. F9 blew past it. It took in over $163 million to push over $6 billion as a franchise.
Of course, The Lord of the Rings, as a movie franchise was, for now, destined to continue falling on this list. The three books in J.R.R. Tolkien’s titular series along with The Hobbit, which Peter Jackson somehow pushed into three separate films was basically the end of the popular source material for these films. Sure, Amazon is developing a television series around some of Tolkien’s other writings about this world, but nothing with the same fantasy recognition as those first books.
With Fast & Furious moving into the fifth spot over The Lord of the Rings it now has its eyes set on the others in the top-5. That will be a tougher lift. Next up at around $7 billion is the James Bond franchise. But that one is about to get another flick in the group with No Time to Die set to come out in September of this year. Then there is Harry Potter which has taken in over $9 billion at the box office. While no additional movies are technically in the works, there have been rumors of a possible next film, maybe an adaptation of The Cursed Child. After that, good luck catching Star Wars at $9.3 billion and then Marvel at over $18 billion which is completely lapping the field.
As for The Lord of the Rings, as I said, there is an Amazon series set to come out in the next couple of years, but no additional movies planning to hit the big screen anytime soon. But its inclusion on this list is remarkable in that the six films were the least of the bunch. Starting with The Fellowship of the Ring and following with The Two Towers and The Return of the King, Peter Jackson pulled off a masterpiece of filmmaking in the early 2000s translating Tolkien’s work onto the big screen in a way few thought possible at the time.
The Lord of the Rings’ first three movies also won 18 Oscars (mostly from the third movie) something no other flick on this franchise list can claim. In that way, they do stand a bit above the rest in terms of overall reception. Money isn’t everything folks, it’s just most things. Though it won’t ever get back into the top-5, it’s still one of the greatest franchises ever which means more these days than ever before.