Growing up a nearly friendless Star Wars junkie and glancing an occasional eye at how much money those first three films made between 1977 and 1983 — slowly creeping up to an unprecedented $1 billion back then — it was impossible to imagine some other franchise would ever top those staggering, world-record earnings.What could possibly do it — Three-T: Revenge of E.T.? Going, Going Goner and Back with the Wind? Titanic-er and Titanic-est? Not gonna happen, buddy.But after the last 12 years on the treadmill and a staggering 22 films as of this weekend’s Avengers: Endgame, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) has not just trounced but in fact doubled the global box office earned by the ongoing Adventures of Luke Skywaker (and also his teenage dad; and also his shaven-chested nephew — who, let’s admit, is the most interesting next-gen character of Trilogy III).And, once the numbers settle after this weekend’s deployment of Endgame, it’s likely Disney will add another billion or so to MCU’s bank, which will continue to leave the profits of the galaxy far, far away in the Tatooine dust.Which is all the same to Mickey’s Cash Utopia as they own Star Wars, anyway.Here, then, is not your typical top 10 list of favourites, but a ramp-up of worldwide, franchise-grossing numbers leading right up to — SPOILERS — the Thanos-busting finale of the first mega-wave of MCU films, where as many heads will roll as a bloody episode of Game of Thrones. (Adjust this tragedy against half the universe no longer being dead, mind you.)Hopefully moving forward post-Infinity Saga we’ll get to MCU stories including the X-Men and Fantastic Four, but that’s a conversation for another time — let’s just count the money today! (Figures highest and most recently available, all in almighty USD.) 10. Jurassic Park (five films) — $4,998,557,380Not unlike the gooey Alien saga, this ongoing cautionary slog seems unfortunately bent on lowering its standards with each new increasingly stupid chapter. We’d be better off hearing a disgusting looking puppet chirp “Not the momma!” at this point. 9. The Fast and the Furious (eight films) — $5,136,814,346Imagine writing the script to for one of these: SLAM. VROOM VROOM. SCREEEEEEECH. VRRRRRRRR-RRRRRRRRR-RRRRRR. “I live my life a quarter-mile at a time.” VRRRRRR-RRRRRRRR. SCREEECH. SMASH/CRASH/TINKLE. “Did I win? Because winning is winning, and the only way to win is to, like, win.” 8. DC Extended Universe (seven films) — $5,238,802,396This incredible dollar achievement is an almost tragicomic expression of BDSM’d fan hope, because the oppressive, bro-hard-done-by average vibe of these films is simply appalling (yes, including Wonder Woman’s villain and third act). Fingers crossed for Joker, though — please, take my money! 7. X-Men (11 films) — $5,886,273,810Slightly more uneven than MCU in a good way, this series flirts with brilliance, though why don’t the second wave of X-People in any way age over 30 years? This series includes the Wolverines and the Deadpools, with Dark Phoenix and New Mutants coming later this year, so they should easily take a hatchet to …6. Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (six films) — $5,886,273,810
Ugh, who cares?
PHOTO COURTOISIE /
PHOTO COURTOISIE/AGENCE QMI
Honestly, I did not expect to be such a sulky baby writing this, but how is it the same person could be behind three classic films, with such a jarring drop in quality for the next three wretched, CGI-infected, convoluted sequels? I’m mean, it’s simply unprecedented! What’s that? Legendary sci-fi director George who, you say? 5. Spider-Man (eight films) — $6,080,173,602I skipped the Andrew Garfield installments because of the trailer where he Spider-splorped some crook’s crotch, but Homecoming and Into the Spider-Verse were brilliant, with Michael Keaton’s Vulture sane and smartly motivated as opposed to the mentally ill and thus boring villains of the Tobey Maguire era. Miles Morales 4evR! 4. James Bond (26 films) — $7,077,929,291As a sexist imperial colonial, Mr. Bond seems least equipped for our modern, Internet-shaming times, though I did like it when John Cleese was Q. It felt more than a little weak when they tried to shove the arc story onto the last few, and that “Good waste of scotch” scene in Skyfall was f—ing heinous. But, y’know, the cars are cool: VROOM VROOM! 3. Wizarding World (10 films) — $9,194,451,317Soft spot for these — even the not-very-good Magical Beasts prequels, where Johnny Depp plays his wizard Hitler as an albino David Bowie. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Prisoner of Azkaban was probably the best actual film, though my favourite-ever scene with Daniel Radcliffe was him playing himself, waving around his saved condom on Extras. 2. Star Wars (10 films) — $9,307,186,202
Look, we have some bad news for you two …
Terry O’Neill /
A mere No. 2, though let’s not forget it’s still the most successfully merchandised franchise of all time, estimated last year to be worth about $65 billion. And the highest-grossing media franchise of all time? Anyone with a kid in the last 20 years will guess this one right away: Pokémon, at $90 billion. As the saying goes, gotta cash ’em all! 1. Marvel Cinematic Universe (21 films) — $18,619,917,114Look, I love Star Wars forever, but the reason the MCU is (ugh) overall better is this: mastermind Kevin Feige’s continuity plan, and the fact there was no huge expectation gap growing for years between clusters of films. It was all one, slowly rolled-out story, very clearly knowing the shape of its future, unlike Obi-Wan telling Luke his father was killed by Vader, or Luke kissing Leia, or the who-cares, somehow-still-ongoing question of Rey being a Skywalker or not, perhaps Papatine’s semi-clone of Anakin or whatever?But the bigger question is, do you think Thanos got teased because of his name by half his junior high, and that’s really why he decided to Thanos half of firstname.lastname@example.org@fisheyefoto