Is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) really the best of the wizarding series? How about J.J. Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek (2009) being considered superior to Wrath of Khan (1982)? Well, according to research by Totallymoney.com, the peak of long-running franchises comes with the eighth instalment.
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The data factored in information from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes and official opening weekend box-office numbers, with other surprises being uncovered along the way.
Indiana Jones was the top franchise overall, with critics giving it the nod over Harry Potter after members of the cinema going public gave both series the same scores.
Another surprise came with The Hunger Games outperforming all comers when it came to opening weekend numbers. The Jennifer Lawrence teen series beat out Jurassic Park, with an overall average of $13 million more every debut weekend over the next best franchise.
Elsewhere, Tom Cruise continued to defy the odds with the fourth and fifth films of the Mission Impossible series outscoring his previous three outings and spy Ethan Hunt.
Film professionals and casual film fans disagreed on a number of titles, with critics generally frowning on sequels whereas ticket-paying members of the public seemingly enjoying sequels more. Using Rotten Tomatoes to gauge reviews from critics and IMDb as the cinemagoer barometer, only Spy Kids follow ups proved to be more popular with critics.
The biggest discrepancy comes with the Saw franchise, which saw a dramatic approval rating drop for the last three films of the series on Rotten Tomatoes, where as fans loved the bloody sequels. It will be interesting to see how the new film, Jigsaw, performs later this month on general release.
However, it was’t all good news on the sequel front. Several popular movie sagas took a battering from both fans and critics alike.
Transformers and Police Academy unified both parties as the box-office and ratings dropped significantly over later entries in the franchises.
The ‘best’ worst film in terms of viewer ratings versus box-office was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Twilight finale Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012). The vampire saga saw review scores plummet, but still drew a whopping $150 million on its opening weekend.
‘Conventional wisdom has always said that sequels are rarely better than the original, but that doesn’t seem to be the case,’ said Joe Gardiner, TotallyMoney’s Head of Brand and Communications. ‘Many of our favourite film series just get better and better, and the peak could come anywhere. We all have our favourite films – it’s hard to predict which will be a winner in the box office and in the reviews.’