Most film studios envision at least a trilogy out of any franchise with any potential. It takes a very popular franchise to get beyond four, let alone two trilogies. And only the most enduring sagas can make it to seven films. With Star Wars: Force Awakens being the latest series to reach that magical number, I decided to look at the Top 7 franchises that have reached at least seven films.
In slotting the series, I considered factors like one continual story vs. standalone, scope, cultural impact, best/worst films and limited it to film series that started after 1975 so no Dracula, Charlie Chaplin or Sherlock Holmes films.
Honorable mention goes to Saw, the one horror movie franchise that’s kept one continual story going throughout the series. [Saw: The Complete Collection] The James Bond series was also on my initial list thanks to an amazing original seven films, but the lack of continuity from one movie to the next made it a regrettable list casualty.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
- Star Trek Generations (1994)
Why No. 7? Early on in its run, the other sci-fi franchise developed a pesky trend of every other film being great while the odd-numbered films were … less awesome. But when Star Trek is on its game, it’s a sci-fi thrill ride with very few equals.
Best in Series: Wrath of Khan — This is the iconic Star Trek film where Kirk and company square off a sinister foe and crew every bit their equal spawning perhaps the most signature moment in the franchise.
Worst in Series: The Final Frontier — The fifth film in the series truly earns its reputation as the black sheep of the franchise.
- 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)
Why No. 6? X-Men was Marvel’s first major film franchise and it kicked off strongly before its third and fourth chapters nearly threatened to kill off audience interest. Thankfully it got a second lease on life with the unexpectedly terrific First Class that essentially served as a series reboot.
Best in Series: X-Men: First Class. This franchise was on a downward slope and the “prequel” seemed like a desperate attempt to resuscitate the series. It did and provided fans a dynamic younger version of Professor X and Magneto.
Worst in Series: X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The film so bad 20th Century Fox is simply acting like it didn’t exist in order to let Ryan Reynolds do Deadpool right.
X-Men and the Wolverine Collection (X-Men / X2: X-Men United / X-Men: The Last Stand / X-Men Origins: Wolverine / X-Men: First Class / The Wolverine) [Blu-ray]
X-Men: Days of Future Past (The Rogue Cut) [Blu-ray]
- Rocky (1976)
- Rocky II (1979)
- Rocky III (1982)
- Rocky IV (1985)
- Rocky V (1990)
- Rocky Balboa (2006)
- Creed (2015)
Why No. 5? Sure the plots are pretty similar throughout the first three films in particular, but the quality of this series has been far more consistent. Book ended by two stellar films and some fantastic moments in between, this is the first series most people think of when you say boxing movie for a reason.
Best in Series: Either the first or the latest film though if you’re feeling especially patriotic, Rocky IV.
Worst in Series: Any answer besides Rocky V is unacceptable.