Star Wars Surpasses James Bond as the Third-Highest-Grossing Movie Franchise
As of December 27, 2016, Rogue One‘s $616M worldwide take has propelled the Star Wars franchise past the James Bond film series to make it the third-highest-grossing film franchise ever made.
Prior to the release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the Star Wars franchise (made up of two complete trilogies and a theatrically-released pilot movie for a television series) sat comfortably at the fifth spot in the list of highest-grossing movie franchises, about $1.491B behind the Middle-Earth franchise (made up of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, and the largely-forgotten animated movie from Ralph Bakshi, collectively grossing over $5.883B). Once The Force Awakens ended its run, the Star Wars franchise led the Middle-Earth franchise by $577M. At that point, the movie held the fourth spot on the list, about $580M behind the $7.040B James Bond franchise.
Fast-forward to the present day, and the Star Wars franchise has collectively earned $7.075B and counting, placing it ever so slightly past the film series made up of 24 official entries (Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View To Kill, The Living Daylights, License To Kill, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre) and 2 unofficial ones (the 1967 spoof version of Casino Royale and Never Say Never Again). Since the James Bond franchise is currently in a bit of a bind (what with the rights to distribute the franchise on the verge of going to another studio and it becoming unclear on whether or not Daniel Craig will return or if he’s going to be replaced), it can be safe to presume that Star Wars will continue to hold this position for a while. But what’s more interesting is the place where it’s currently at.
Star Wars is still behind the $8.5B-grossing Wizarding World series (made up of the octalogy of Harry Potter movies and the first of five Fantastic Beasts films) and the $10.9B-grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe (a setting which is currently made up of the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Avengers, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Ant-Man, and Doctor Strange sub-franchises and is set to add installments such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel to its ranks). By the end of Rogue One‘s box office run and the release of 2017’s Episode VIII, Star Wars should take the second-highest-grossing franchise spot away from the fantasy setting constructed J. K. Rowling. Depending on when the Han Solo movie is released (presuming the movie is moved to a December 2018 date instead of its current May 2018 date), Fantastic Beasts 2 has a shot of briefly retaking that title before returning to become the third-highest-grossing movie franchise – an impressive feat in and of itself.
The real question, of course, is whether or not Star Wars can take the status of first-highest-grossing film franchise away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The answer to that is pretty safely going to be a “no” in almost every single scenario. Unless Disney decides to take a break from the setting (which they’ve gone on-record as saying they have plans for up to the mid-2020s) and they decide to make multiple Star Wars movies per year, the Galaxy Far, Far Away doesn’t have any real chance of overtaking the Universe of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. That being said, it’s unlikely that any one superhero sub-franchise part of the shared setting will manage to overtake Star Wars, so being in second place isn’t all that bad – especially not for Disney, who will laugh all the way to the bank as their two key franchises ensure that they dominate at the box office for years to come.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.