Sometimes it takes a film franchise a couple of installments to reach its full potential. The sequel to The Terminator, for example, earned more than six times as much as its predecessor on its opening weekend. On the critical side of things, The Empire Strikes Back—the second Star Wars movie—is ranked as the best film in the series by both amateur moviegoers and professional reviewers. Those are a few of the franchises profiled by a new web tool on TotallyMoney.com.
Using data from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and box office totals, the finance website visualized the top 30 film franchises to see how the installments of each one stack up. The project yielded some surprising results, like that in longest franchises, the eighth title tends to make the most money on opening weekend. Harry Potter, Star Trek, and Star Wars all follow this trend. But according to the numbers, the same can’t be said for quality. The ratings of blockbuster franchises, both viewer-generated (IMDb) and critic-generated (Rotten Tomatoes), are lowest for the most recent installments. Mission Impossible is one exception, with the third and fourth films earning the most critical praise.
The tool also highlights the rare discrepancies between critical and public response. The franchise with the biggest imbalance was Saw, which received dismal Rotten Tomatoes ratings for all seven movies and above-average ratings on IMDb. Spy Kids displays the opposite pattern, with the first two films scoring much higher with critics than with audiences.
You can search the site by individual franchise or scroll through the full list, which includes classics like Die Hard, Indiana Jones, Rocky, and The Hunger Games. The tool also lets you compare two franchises head-to-head, so you can settle any debates with friends about whose favorites series is superior once and for all.