- Reviving movie franchises can be hit or miss, but successful reboots like Jurassic World and The Force Awakens have brought back beloved franchises from the dead.
- The key to reviving a movie franchise is often putting a new spin on a well-known story or waiting several years between releases to reignite excitement.
- Movies like Scream and Godzilla have proven that even long-dormant franchises can be successfully resurrected with the right approach and audience interest.
The longevity of movie franchises depends on each film’s success, but some sequels and reboots have brought franchises back from the dead years after the last film debuted. In an era where Hollywood is constantly capitalizing on known IPs and past hits, there’s no shortage of movie franchises that have been revived by a single release. Such attempts to reignite the excitement surrounding a certain story can be hit or miss, and there have been plenty of box office flops to emerge from this strategy.
While failed reboots like 2016’s Ghostbusters and 2017’s The Mummy prove that revivals don’t always work, there are just as many movies that have successfully brought franchises back from the grave. These typically come about years after the previous release or put a new spin on a well-known story. And their formula is one currently dead movie franchises can learn from.
Even the best franchises need to take a break sometimes and these film series are in danger of wearing out their welcome and becoming stale.
10 Jurassic World (2015)
The Jurassic Park Franchise
- Colin Trevorrow
- 124 minutes
- Amanda Silver , Colin Trevorrow , Rick Jaffa , Derek Connolly
Jurassic Park was a massive success when it debuted in 1993, but its sequels didn’t live up to the original. After Jurassic Park III came out in 2001, Universal Pictures put the franchise to bed for a while — but it attempted to capitalize on its popularity again in 2015. Despite being quite different from Steven Spielberg’s original film, Jurassic World proved a financial success, raking in a whopping $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office (via Box Office Mojo). The reboot spawned two sequels, and Jurassic World 4 was recently announced, proving the beloved dinosaur franchise has been fully resurrected.
9 The Force Awakens (2015)
The Star Wars Franchise
The original Star Wars trilogy changed science-fiction movies forever, and while the prequel films got a bad rap upon release, they’ve since been reevaluated. Revenge of the Sith brought the story of the Skywalker family to a close in 2005, and it seemed like that was it. However, when Disney got the rights to Star Wars, it revived the franchise with 2015’s The Force Awakens.
Serving as a sequel to the original trilogy, The Force Awakens passed the $2 billion mark (via Box Office Mojo), led to two sequels, and prompted the expansion of the franchise on Disney+. While the sequel trilogy ended with The Rise of Skywalker in 2019, shows like The Mandalorian and Andor have kept Star Wars chugging forward. Needless to say, the 2015 hit breathed new life into a galaxy far, far away.
8 Scream (2022)
The Scream Franchise
- Tyler Gillett , Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
- Mason Gooding , Melissa Barrera , Mikey Madison , Neve Campbell , David Arquette , Jenna Ortega , Kyle Gallner , Courteney Cox , Sonia Ammar , Marley Shelton , Dylan Minnette , Jasmin Savoy Brown , Jack Quaid
- 114 minutes
- Guy Busick , James Vanderbilt
1996’s Scream was a game-changer for the slasher genre, as the film broke some of the biggest slasher movie rules. Wes Craven’s next three follow-ups continued to deliver self-aware and entertaining Ghostface massacres, though none of them ever topped the original. Scream 4 hit theaters in 2011, and the series became inactive after. Following Craven’s death in 2015, it seemed like the horror franchise would remain that way. However, 2022’s Scream reboot brought the slasher series roaring back to life with a compelling new cast, more Ghostface antics, and cameos from the original cast.
Scream 2022 became a box office success, grossing $138 million worldwide on a budget of $24 million (via The Numbers). It spawned a sequel, which was equally well-received. Sadly, while the next-generation Scream series is poised to continue, the controversial firing of Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega’s exit may present obstacles for the franchise moving forward. Still, the fact that 2022’s Scream reboot brought the series back from the dead is undeniable.
7 Godzilla (2014)
The Godzilla Franchise & MonsterVerse
- Gareth Edwards
- 123 Minutes
- Max Borenstein , David Callaham
There has been no shortage of Godzilla movies since the monster’s debut in 1954. However, there was a brief time during the early 2000s when it seemed like the franchise had died out. The Millennium Era movies ran from 1999 to 2004, concluding with Godzilla: Final Wars. The titular kaiju didn’t helm another movie again until 2014’s Godzilla, which revived the Godzilla franchise and the MonsterVerse. It’s no surprise it successfully reignited interest in both properties, as the 2014 film grossed an impressive $538 million at the worldwide box office (via Box Office Mojo).
6 The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes (2023)
The Hunger Games Franchise
The Hunger Games was a cultural phenomenon following the book’s release in 2008 and Lionsgate’s movie adaptations throughout the 2010s. Mockingjay – Part 2 brought the beloved dystopian series to a close in 2015, and with no further source material to adapt, it seemed the story was at an end. Fortunately for diehard fans of the franchise, Suzanne Collins penned a prequel novel in 2020: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
The President Snow prequel became a movie not long after, hitting theaters and reigniting interest in The Hunger Games in 2023. And despite having a disappointing opening and becoming the lowest-grossing film in the franchise, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes broke several records and proved itself a worthy addition to the story. It’s unclear if the Hunger Games prequel will spawn further spinoffs, but it succeeded in bringing the franchise back for a time, reminding viewers why they loved it in the first place.
5 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
The Lord Of The Rings Franchise
Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies proved massive hits, but 2003’s The Return of the King marked the end of Frodo’s story. It wasn’t until almost a decade later that Warner Bros. released another addition to the fantasy franchise with 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Despite so much time passing between Return of the King and An Unexpected Journey, viewers were clearly excited by the prospect of another Lord of the Rings film. An Unexpected Journey made a little over $1 billion at the worldwide box office (via Box Office Mojo) and went on to see two sequels made.
4 Creed (2015)
The Rocky Franchise
- 2h 13m
- Aaron Covington , Ryan Coogler
2006’s Rocky Balboa was intended as the ending of the beloved action franchise, but Creed brought it back to life in 2015. While Creed saw Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky passing the torch to Michael B. Jordan’s character, the story allowed the Rocky movies to continue in a new way. Creed grossed an impressive $173 million on a production budget of $37 million (via The Numbers). It proved a success, earning more sequels and highlighting the success of the Rocky franchise nearly a decade after it initially concluded.
3 Batman Begins (2005)
The Batman Franchise
Batman is a character who’s appeared in numerous movies over the years, but the caped crusader seemed to be taking a break after his run in the 1990s. The DC hero appeared on-screen from 1992’s Batman Returns to 1997’s Batman & Robin, and the latter was such a flop that it put a stop to Batman’s adventures for a few years. Bruce Wayne returned to the big screen in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, which became a sensation and kickstarted one of the most highly regarded superhero series of all time.
Batman Begins made $356 million at the worldwide box office, and that paled in comparison to its two sequels, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises (via The Numbers). Nolan’s take on DC’s vigilante proved he still had stories left to tell. And despite Nolan’s Batman only getting three movies, the character has shown up in more projects since then.
2 Star Trek (2009)
Star Trek was only lacking new releases for a few years, but the franchise was arguably dead during the early 2000s, with its television run going less than spectacular and both Insurrection and Nemesis flopping in 1998 and 2002, respectively. The future looked bleak for the once-strong sci-fi franchise, but 2009’s Star Trek reboot brought it back to the big screen after seven years and successfully revitalized it. Two more feature films followed its release, and Star Trek‘s TV landscape has since started to look up.
1 Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011)
The Planet Of The Apes Franchise
The original Planet of the Apes was a huge success back in 1968, so it’s no surprise the film saw multiple sequels throughout the 1970s. However, 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes was the last addition to the franchise for a long time — and the initial attempt to revive it with 2001’s Planet of the Apes reboot didn’t go as planned. After the failure of the remake, the franchise died for another 10 years. It wasn’t until the prequel film Rise of the Planet of the Apes hit theaters in 2011 that it truly came back to life.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes succeeded with general audiences and critics alike, and it grossed $481 million on a budget of $93 million (via Box Office Mojo). The film also received two follow-ups in 2014 and 2017. It revived interest in the franchise after decades and proved that a prequel was the right approach to continue its legacy.
Source: Box Office Mojo, The Numbers