The Greatest Movie Franchises of All Time

By Kevin Fallon

How does "Scream" stack up?

Scream 4_post.jpg

The Weinstein Company


Fifteen years ago, Scream opened in theaters, barely scaring up $6 million in its first weekend of release. But Wes Craven's horror genre-reviving film eventually grossed over $100 million and spawned an entire franchise. Now, more than a decade after Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette last faced off against the Ghostface Killer in Scream 3, a fourth installment of the series is out in theaters.

Over three films, the Scream brand has grossed nearly $300 million--that's closer to $500 million when you adjust for inflation. The franchise's first two efforts were critically successful as well, arguably earning canonical status in the horror genre (Scream 3, on the other hand...).

So how does the series compare to The Greatest Movie Franchises Ever?

Back in November, with the seventh Harry Potter film's release, we ranked the 50 Greatest Movies Franchises of All Time. We used a formula that weighed a franchise's cumulative box office gross (adjusted for inflation) and critical reception equally. While action-adventure films topped the countdown (Indiana Jones came in at number one), Scream placed at a respectable number 30, ahead of juggernauts such asĀ Twilight and Star Trek. How will Scream 4 affect the series' overall ranking? Unkind reviews like the ones earned by Scream 3 could doom the entire franchise off the list, but a strong box office (which is predicted) and warm critical response (the earliest reviews signal a "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes) could boost its status even higher. Here's the current ranking--we'll see how Scream 4 changes things:



Here's an abbreviated explanation of the process we used to come up with the rankings:

To determine the film's financial success, we adjusted the grosses for each film in every series for inflation using a ratio of today's average movie ticket price to the average cost the year the movie was released. We then averaged those results.

To determine a film's critical success, we used Rotten Tomatoes' critics' scores. We then found the average for each franchise's films.

Read a fuller analysis, posted when the seventh Harry Potter film hit theaters: "The Greatest Movie Franchises of All Time." The gallery above has been updated to reflect current rankings.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/04/the-greatest-movie-franchises-of-all-time/237361/