Binge-Worthy Iconic Movie Franchises And How Long It Takes

Long before Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime made binge-watching shows the norm for many people, movie studios were capitalizing off their biggest films by building franchises around them. Now those streaming services and studios have come together to make it easy for audiences to binge-watch entire franchises no matter how big or small right from their living rooms. Here are iconic movie franchises (of three or more films) to binge-watch, and how long it will take!

Kung Fu Panda

For a family-friendly choice of franchises, a good one to turn to is Kung-Fu Panda. The first film was released in 2008 in which Jack Black voiced the main character Po Ping, a giant panda who is unexpectedly chosen as the Dragon Warrior. Upon its release, the animated film was acclaimed by critics and viewers and was soon followed by Kung Fu Panda 2 in 2011 and Kung Fu Panda 3 in 2016. Watching all three films will take just over four hours, and offer entertainment for the young and the young at heart. If you can’t get enough of Po and his adventures there are also three short films as well as two television series: Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny.

Number of Movies: 3

Total Run Time: 4h 37m

©DreamWorks Animation/courtesy Everett Collection

Lord of the Rings

With each Lord of the Rings movie running three hours or more, many find it difficult to carve out time to watch one let alone all three films in the Lord of the Rings franchise, but social distancing might be the perfect time! The epic fantasy adventures are of course based on the famous novels written by J.R.R. Tolkein and take audiences into the realms of Middle-earth. Watching all three films will take just over nine hours, and if watching the extended versions will take about 11 hours and 30 minutes. Of course, there is always the option to watch the first three films of The Hobbit franchise first which will add another 7 hours and 54 minutes to your viewing time, or 8 hours and 52 minutes if watching the extended versions! All combined it is also the ninth highest-grossing film franchise of all-time.

Number of Movies: 3

Total Run Time: 9h 18m

(c) New Line/courtesy Everett Collection

Terminator

If you are looking for a little more action and a lot more classic Arnold Schwarzenegger, than the Terminator franchise is for you. The original film was released in 1984 and was followed by Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991 and depicts the battle between Skynet’s synthetic intelligence machines and John Connor’s Resistance in Skynet’s attempts to assassinate John Connor before becoming the leader. Four more films were added to the franchise in 2003, 2009, 2015 and 2019 and the franchise has now generated more than $3 billion in revenue.

Number of Movies: 6

Total Run Time: 12h 41 m

©Orion Pictures Corporation/Courtesy Everett Collection

Pitch Perfect

For something a little light-hearted and much less intense, there is nothing better than the Pitch Perfect movies. The first film was a completely unexpected sleeper hit upon its release in 2012 when it grossed over $115 million. Meanwhile, the second film went on to become the highest-grossing musical comedy after its release in 2015, beating the record which was previously held by School of Rock. There is no better way to lift your spirits than to follow the Barden Bellas trials and tribulations in the world of Acapella and beyond.

Number of Movies: 3

Total Run Time: 5h 33m

Peter Iovino/©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Star Trek

If you are in need of a total escape from reality, hop aboard the Enterprise within the Star Trek film franchise. Since the first film’s release back in 1979, there have been quite a few films released with the most recent three rebooting the iconic franchise starring a whole new cast. Between the years of 1979 to 1991 there were six films featuring the original cast. From 1994 to 2002 there were four films starring the cast of The Next Generation, and then from 2009 to 2016, there were three films featuring Chris Pine as Captain Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock. With a total of thirteen films, you have to be fully prepared for a major binge-watching session when it comes to the Star Trek universe.

Number of Movies: 13

Total Run Time: 1 day 1 hour and 17 minutes

Kimberley French / © Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

James Bond

2020 is set to bring one more James Bond movie to the franchise, bringing the total number of films based on the iconic secret agent up to 28. Fans of 007 know that the franchise began all the way back in 1962 with Dr. No starring Sean Connery. After a brief respite with George Lazenby taking the role in 1969, Connery appeared in one more film in 1971 before passing the torch on to Roger Moore for 1973’s Live and Let Die and he held the role until 1985’s A View to Kill. Timothy Dalton then starred in two films in 1987 and 1989 before Pierce Brosnan took over for 1995’s Goldeneye. After 2002’s Die Another Day, the most recent actor to take on the role has been Daniel Craig for five films. If James Bond is your choice for binge-watching be prepared to give up a solid two days with the running time just exceeding two full days! The decades of Bond have been well received as it is the seventh highest-grossing film franchise of all time.

Number of Movies: 27

Total Run Time: 2 days 4h and 56 minutes

(c) MGM/courtesy Everett Collection

Pirates of the Caribbean

If you want to escape to adventure, fantasy, suspense and a lot of humor, it might be time to binge-watch the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise starring Johnny Depp as the iconic Captain Jack Sparrow. The franchise’s success includes grossing nearly $5 billion worldwide making it the 14th highest-grossing film series of all time. It also holds the honor of being the first franchise in which more than one film grossed more than $1 billion worldwide.

Number of Movies: 5

Total Run Time: 12h 7minutes

c) Walt Disney/courtesy Everett Collection

Toy Story

Toy Story has been pulling at the heartstrings of audiences since 1995 and the release of the first film. Toy Story is the 20th highest-grossing franchise worldwide, the fourth highest-grossing animated franchise, and is among the most critically acclaimed franchises of all time. After the release of Toy Story 2 in 1999 and Toy Story 3 in 2010, children that fell in love with the original in 1995 were ecstatic to share the magic with their own children thanks to the release of Toy Story 4 nearly 25 years later. Toy Story is just as much fun for parents as it is for kids, making it an easy and enjoyable binge-watch.

Number of Movies: 4

Total Run Time: 6h 19m

(c) Buena Vista/courtesy Everett Collection

Bourne

For almost fifteen years Matt Damon was best known for his starring role as CIA agent Jason Bourne in the action thriller Bourne series. Damon starred in the first three films from 2002 to 2007 before the fourth film The Bourne Legacy introduced a new main character, Aaron Cross, played by Jeremy Renner. Eventually, Damon returned for the fifth and final film with 2016’s Jason Bourne. Binge-watching the Bourne series is quite the undertaking due to the many twists and turns to follow, and also the fact it takes nearly 10 hours to complete!

Number of Movies: 5

Total Run Time: 9h 59m

©Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

X-Men

With now an incredible twelve films in the franchise, many never saw the X-Men film series expanding as it did upon the release of 2000’s X-Men starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Jansse, James Marsden and Anna Paquin. Now the X-Men film series is the eighth highest-grossing film series of all time having grossed over $6 billion worldwide. Of course, that is helped by the fact that the incredibly successful films Deadpool and Deadpool 2 are both included in the X-Men franchise. Following the release of 2019’s Dark Phoenix, it seems many fans of the franchise are hoping there is less focus on the X-Men and more on Deadpool going forward.

Number of Movies: 12

Total Run Time: 1 day 35m


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Indiana Jones

You can catch Harrison Ford in a couple of iconic movie franchises, the first being Indiana Jones! The first film, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, was released in 1981 starring Ford as Indiana Jones, an archaeology professor who often finds himself involved in precarious adventures while on the search for rare artifacts. Three films were released between 1981 and 1989 and then nearly 20 years later, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls was released. While most fans would like to forget the fourth film even existed, in order to do a complete binge-watch of the entire series, the fourth must be included and it will take just over eight hours.

Number of Movies: 4

Total Run Time: 8h 2m

©Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

DC Universe

After years and years of several iterations of the Batman films, Warner Bros. decided to extend the DC Universe with several new additions to the roster. The official DC Extended Universe or DCEU begins with 2013’s Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill as Superman and was followed by Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016 to begin the journey into the Justice League films. Although DC has had a much harder time finding the success that its counterpart Marvel has, there have been seven films released including Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Aquaman and Shazam! along with many more planned. To watch all seven films will take just over 18 hours, plus another 1h and 49 m if 2020’s Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey is included. Of course, DC fans can also do a binge-watch of all Superman films or Batman films to add to their DC screen-time. The DCEU is the eleventh highest-grossing film franchise of all time, with Aquaman being its most profitable film to date.

Number of Movies: 7

Total Run Time: 18h 6m

©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Planet of the Apes

The Planet of the Apes franchise includes series, comics, books and of course movies based on a world where intelligent apes take over Earth and treat humans like animals and slaves. The original series consisted of five films from 1968 to 1973 and was taken over by two television series, before being remade for the big-screen decades later. After 10-years of a hold being put on the project, Tim Burton released 2001’s Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg to mixed reviews from fans of the original. Another ten years later, the series picked back up with three new films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and War for the Planet of the Apes.

Number of Movies: 9

Total Run Time: 16h 21m

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Jurassic Park

There are now five moves in the Jurassic Park franchise, with more on the way! The first, and most iconic, Jurassic Park film was released on June 11, 1993 and was followed by two sequels: The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III in four-year intervals. After several delays, the franchise was revived bigger than ever with 2015’s Jurassic World starring Chris Pratt. The film made history as the first movie to gross over $500 million in its opening weekend! Thanks to the continued success of the franchise, it is now the twelfth highest-grossing film franchise of all time. If you are ready to dive into the action and adventure of Jurassic Park, you have to carve yourself out 10 hours to watch all five films.

Number of Movies: 5

Total Run Time: 10h 1m

©MCA/Courtesy Everett Collection

Twilight

For audiences in need of a little less action and a lot more fantasy and adventure, it might be time to settle into a Twilight marathon. There were five films released in the Twilight Saga from 2008 to 2012, and it has gone down in history for having one of the most loyal and intense fanbases of all time! Altogether, the film series grossed over $3.3 billion making it the eighteenth highest-grossing film franchise ever. An entire Twilight binge-watch will take you slightly over 10 hours.

Number of Movies: 5

Total Run Time: 10h 6m

Peter Sorel/Summit Entertainment.

Mission: Impossible

It is hard to say that when Tom Cruise took on the role of Ethan Hunt in the action spy film Mission: Impossible in 1996 that he knew he would still be portraying the character more than two decades later! So far there have been six films in the franchise released and two confirmed for 2021 and 2022 releases, which will add to the over $3.5 billion made from the franchise making it the sixteenth highest-grossing franchise ever. If you are in the mood for some espionage and Tom Cruise, it will take just over 13 hours to watch all six Mission: Impossible films.

Number of Movies: 6

Total Run Time: 13h 2m

David James /© Paramount /Courtesy Everett Collection

Transformers

Many fans of the first Transformers film now believe that the series has run its course with the later films becoming more and more ridiculous, but the fact remains, it is an exciting and fun watch from start to finish. The first Transformers film was released in 2007 and has since been followed by four sequels and one stand-alone film Bumblebee. Despite increasing criticism of the franchise, it has made over $4.8 billion making it the thirteenth highest-grossing film franchise with 2011’s Dark of the Moon making the most out of all the films. Watching all the Transformers films is quite the endeavor however as it will take just shy of 15 hours to watch all six films.

Number of Movies: 6

Total Run Time: 14h 41m

©Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

Scary Movie

If action, adventure, espionage, fighting machines, and romance is just not what you are looking for, then a great option for just great laughs is the Scary Movie franchise. The first Scary Movie film was released in 2000 and parodied the hit thrillers Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer with great success. After the film instantly became a cult classic with fans, it has since been followed by four more films with fun being poked at many well-known horror movies. It may not be one of the highest-grossing film franchises of all time, but it is worth a watch for some laughs and the best part is that watching all five movies will only take just over seven hours!

Number of Movies: 5

Total Run Time: 7h 6m

(c) Dimension/courtesy Everett Collection

Rambo

Luckily for fans of Sylvester Stallone, the actor has been a part of several big-name franchises and one of the biggest is Rambo. The actor first took on the role of John Rambo back in 1982’s First Blood. He has since reprised the role over nearly 30 years starring in 1985’s Rambo: First Blood Part II, 1988’s Rambo III, 2008’s Rambo and 2019’s Rambo: Last Blood. Fans of the franchise know that the films aren’t for the faint of heart, so it might be a lot to watch in sequence but if you choose to do so, it will take just over 8 hours.

Number of Movies: 5

Total Run Time: 8 h 1m

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Hunger Games

Hunger Games is one of the most successful book to film franchises of all time and might be perfect for a binge-watching session. The films are known for kicking off Jennifer Lawrence’s career and for providing an escape into Suzanne Collins’ science fiction dystopian world of Panem. The films were released very quickly from 2012-2015 and instantly struck a chord with both audiences and critics who just wanted more. In North America, The Hunger Games film series is the second highest-grossing film series based on young adult books, after the Harry Potter series, and with nearly $3 billion grossed from the films, it is the 21st highest-earning film franchise.

Number of Movies: 4

Total Run Time: 9h 8m

Murray Close/©Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection

Mad Max

If dystopian and post-apocalyptic worlds are what you are looking for when in need of an escape then Mad Max is the film series for you. Back in 1979, a then relatively unknown Mel Gibson starred in the first film as Max Rockatansky, a police officer in a future Australia in the midst of collapse due to war and resource shortages. After the murder of his wife and child, Max embarks across the wasteland surviving off his own skill and taking revenge on those who took his family away. Two more Mad Max films were released in 1981 and 1985 before the movie was rebooted with 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road starring Tom Hardy. Fury Road became the first film of the Mad Max franchise to receive Academy Award recognition, including being nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for Miller, and winning six of its ten nominations. Watching all four Mad Max movies will be a relatively short movie binge-watch and will take just short of seven hours.

Number of Movies: 4

Total Run Time: 6h 49m

(c) American International/courtesy Everett Collection

Die Hard

In 1988, Bruce Willis took on the now-iconic role of New York City police detective John McClane in Die Hard not knowing that it would become one of the most iconic films of all time. The film was followed by Die Hard 2 in 1990, Die Hard with a Vengeance in 1995, Live Free or Die Hard in 2007, and A Good Day to Die Hard in 2013. Despite the newer films receiving mixed or negative reviews from critics, fans can’t get enough of the films which have grossed $1.4 billion worldwide. For those wanting a John McClane fix, it will take just over ten hours to watch all five films.

Number of Movies: 5

Total Run Time: 10h 14m

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Fast & Furious

So far, eight films have been released in the Fast & Furious franchise, but F9 is slated for an April 2021 release and an untitled tenth film is already in the works. The franchise has become one of the biggest across the globe and has continued on after the tragic passing of star Paul Walker with names like Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, and John Cena all joining the series. Including the spin-off film Hobbs & Shaw, the films have grossed nearly $6 billion making it the tenth highest-grossing franchise. To watch all eight films would take nearly 16 hours, and if you also want to include the spinoff than you have to add another two hours and 16 minutes.

Number of Movies: 8

Total Run Time: 15h 57m

©Universal/courtesy Everett Collection

Star Wars

One of the biggest undertakings of film franchises to watch in order would, of course, be Star Wars. Including the standalone films Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Solo: A Star Wars Story, it would take over one full day to watch all eleven films in the franchise. It should come as no surprise that as one of the longest-standing and most iconic film franchises in movie history that Star Wars is the second highest-grossing franchise of all time. Combined the films have made over $10 billion and interestingly enough 2015’s The Force Awakens is the highest-grossing of them all after making over $2 billion on its own.

Number of Movies: 11

Total Run Time: 1 day 1h

Everett Collection

Harry Potter with Fantastic Beasts

Those with cable will have noticed that many channels like to do Harry Potter movie marathons and that is because fans can’t get enough of the series no matter how much time goes by! Including the first two films of the spin-off prequel series Fantastic Beasts, there are now ten films in the Wizarding World film franchise. Combined these films are third on the highest-grossing list with over $9.1 billion made. To watch all eight Harry Potter films plus the two Fantastic Beasts ones will take just over one full day.

Number of Movies: 10

Total Run Time: 1 day 6m

(c) Warner Brothers/courtesy Everett Collection

Rocky and Creed

If you are looking for a different Sylvester Stallone binge-watch other than Rambo, there is absolutely nothing better than the Rocky series. Widely regarded as one of the best sports movies of all time, the saga began back in 1976 when Stallone wrote and starred in Rocky and to the surprise of many earned Best Picture, Best Director and Best Film Editing awards at the Academy Awards. Unsurprisingly, the franchise has stood the test of time offering up five additional Rocky films, and was expanded in 2015 with the release of Creed starring Stallone and Michael B. Jordan. The film series has grossed more than $1.7 billion at the worldwide box office and to watch all eight films will take you just shy of 15 hours.

Number of Movies: 8

Total Run Time: 14h 55m

Everett Collection

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Last but certainly not least is the mega Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). When Marvel began its plans for creating the MCU, they knew the project would be so big that they divided it into phases and it all began with phase one’s release of Iron Man in 2008 starring Robert Downey Jr. Since then there have been a total of 23 MCU films released all leading up to 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. It should come as no surprise that the MCU is the highest-grossing film franchise of all-time having grossed over $22 billion dollars. It is well-known that Avengers: Endgame is the most profitable film in the franchise with nearly $2.8 billion grossed worldwide making it the highest-grossing film of all time. You will need lots of breaks, stretching and hydration to get through an MCU binge-watch because it will take over two whole days!

Number of Movies: 23

Total Run Time: 2 days 2h and 3m

© Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Marvel / courtesy Everett Collection

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