"Harry Potter" Franchise. This is not only the most valuable film franchise of all-time, but also one of the most valuable literary franchises. J.K. Rowling's fertile mind created a gold mine. The eight "Harry Potter" films have raked in approximately $7.66 billion worldwide according to TheNumbers.com. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" was released in 2011, and that may be the last film in the series. However, many industry insiders have surmised that spinoffs of the franchise will come to fruition, and there will be additional films involving Harry Potter & Co. in the future.
"James Bond" Franchise. Ian Fleming's novels brought the British secret agent to life. In the 1960s, the first James Bond films were made with Sean Connery in the starring role. As the decades have rolled along, stars like Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig have taken on the role of the secret agent. The action hero is also a Hall of Fame performer with the ladies, and that has cemented his worldwide appeal. The 23 James Bond films have raked in more than $5 billion.
"Star Wars" Franchise. "Star Wars" has become one of the most legendary and influential film franchises of all-time. Series creator George Lucas has taken the image of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader and made them into recognizable film symbols around the world. Eight "Star Wars" movies have grossed more than $4.4 billion. That does not include the money that has been made from merchandising "Star Wars" toys and "Star Wars" cartoons.
"Shrek" Franchise. The fifth-leading film franchise of all-time is a rather remarkable achievement. It is the only cartoon movie to rank that high in the franchise standings. Much of the credit has to go to the voice talents of mega-stars Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz for bringing the characters of Shrek, Donkey and Princess Fiona to life. The four Shrek films have brought in just over $2.9 billion.
"Lord of the Rings" Franchise. This franchise is sixth at the start of 2012, but it should be moving up the ladder as new installments of "The Hobbit" were scheduled to be released in late 2012 and late 2013. The first three films in the franchise have brought in about $2.9 billion, slightly behind the "Shrek" franchise. Based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkein, director Peter Jackson has turned this franchise into pure film gold.
"Batman" Franchise. The comic book superhero has turned into a very valuable film franchise, with eight films that have brought in more than $2.6 billion. In some ways, the figure is misleading because the 2008 release of "The Dark Knight" with Christian Bale and Heath Ledger has brought in more than $1 billion, while the other seven have brought in $1.6 billion. The ninth movie in the franchise's history is set to be released in the summer of 2012.