Star Wars And Marvel Can’t Compete With The Biggest Media Franchise Ever

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

Biggest Media Franchise Ever isn't Star Wars
  • Star Wars and Marvel do not rank in the top three most successful media franchises.
  • Pokemon is the most successful media franchise ever, with $88 billion in revenue.
  • Mickey Mouse & Friends is in second place, with $52.8 billion in revenue since its creation in 1928.
  • Winnie the Pooh claims third place with $48.5 billion in revenue.

When it comes to box office ticket sales, mega franchises like Star Wars and Marvel are some of the biggest brands of all time. But when you look past the theater and consider all streams of income, these franchises don’t even come close to the top. Instead, by the numbers Pokemon takes the lead as the most successful media franchise ever created with $88 billion in total revenue since inception.

It turns out Marvel and Star Wars aren’t even in the top three.

The total $88 billion in revenue makes Pokemon the most financially successful franchise of all time, with Marvel and Star Wars not even coming close to the Pocket Monster’s milestone. The next closest franchise to meet the same level of success that Pokemon has accumulated is a Disney product. Mickey Mouse & Friends claims second place with a total revenue accumulation of $52.2 billion since Walt Disney created the franchise in 1928.

Third place for most successful franchise of all time goes to Winnie The Pooh, another Disney product based on the book created by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E. H. Shepard. This franchise has brought in a total of $48.5 billion, falling $39.5 billion behind Pokemon.

Star Wars And Marvel Rank Third And Fourth, Respectively

Star Wars then wins fourth place after Pokemon with an accumulated $46.7 billion in revenue since inception in 1977, including all profits from the movies, merchandise sales, book sales, video games, and TV revenue. 

Marvel, on the other hand, falls even further behind Pokemon, coming in at ninth place. Specifically, the numbers for Marvel only count the MCU, which was created in 2008, and does not count for Marvel Comics, which was created in 1939. The MCU has accumulated $32.3 billion in revenue, coming in after the Disney Princesses, Anpanman, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Barbie.

Pokemon’s Monster Success Is Across Multiple Media Domains

Biggest Media Franchise Ever

Pokemon has generated $80.8 billion in licensed merchandise sales, $6.13 billion in mobile game sales, and $1.156 billion in box office ticket sales thanks to the 23 theatrical movies, including one live-action film. The franchise has even accumulated $3 million in Jet aircraft livery sales, where aircraft exteriors featured artwork depicting various Pokemon, while the interiors were adorned with Pokemon-themed decor.

Created in 1996, Pokemon has spent the last 28 years quietly taking over the world. The franchise began with two role-playing games created by Game Freak, based on an initial concept by its founder, Satoshi Tajiri. Launched on February 27, 1996, for the Game Boy, these games achieved unexpected success, leading to the expansion of the franchise into manga series, a trading card game, as well as anime series and films.

The animation series was released worldwide only a year after the video games, capturing the hearts of even more millennial children who would grow up memorizing the names of first-generation Pokemon.

In just a few years, Pokemon went from a new game in Japan to a franchise recognized around the world. The popularity of Pikachu in particular, turned the the adorable yellow creature into an instantly recognizable symbol when people think of Pokemon today.