Every year, countless movies come out—some to rave reviews and some that close after barely a whisper. But sometimes, you are sure that a movie is destined to be great because it’s a blockbuster sequel or part of a popular franchise. But you might be surprised to learn that some of these recurring movies have an astounding number of sequels.
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street – 9 films
A Nightmare on Elm Street is slightly younger than the next horror entry on this list (see below), but it’s also viewed as a leader in the genre. This time, a maniacal serial killer is burned at the stake by angry parents after he brutally murdered their children. Somehow, he’s able to still find young victims from beyond the grave — but only if they’re sleeping. Directed by Wes Craven, the original 1984 slasher flick cemented his place as a master at horror and catapulted New Line Cinema as a film company. Freddy Krueger returned in seven additional films and a crossover movie with another slasher frontrunner, Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. You may know that film as Freddy vs. Jason.
6. Halloween – 11 films
Dramas and superhero films aren’t the only genres that enjoy successful sequels (more on that later). The classic slasher film Halloween first terrified viewers in 1978 as homicidal Michael Myers slowly stalked his victims around a fictional town in Illinois. Over 40 years later, the iconic film has rolled out a total of 11 films, with more than half of them featuring Jamie Lee Curtis as a leading lady—including the last release in 2018. The original Halloween defined the slasher genre, and to this day it is still used as a benchmark to judge other horror films.
5. Star Trek – 13 films
Star Trek is one of the few franchises that manages to straddle film and television. The TV arm is more iconic thanks to seven separate series that broke the mold, from the first interracial kiss on TV to scripting spinoff storylines around a black captain and a female captain—Deep Space Nine and Voyager, respectively. However, the movie division holds its own. With 13 films in total, producers breathed new life into the Star Trek universe by breaking from canon with an alternate timeline in 2008. The Chris Pine (Captain Kirk)-fronted reboots are referred to as the Kelvin Timeline because of this shift.
4. Batman – 14 films
Superheroes factor into the list again with Batman. Technically, this should really fall under reboots rather than sequels since Batman’s story has been retold four times. The very first Batman movie debuted in 1943 as a serial and served as a World War II propaganda film. Additional reboots occurred in 1966, 1989, 1995, and 2005. The three most recent films—Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Joker—see Batman act as a supporting character rather than the only lead. Adam West (of the TV series), Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck have all played the Dark Knight. Dante Pereira-Olson will play Batman in the October 2019 movie, Joker.
3. Marvel Cinematic Universe – 21 films
Not to be confused with a reboot, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) actually offers a continuous timeline, just told from the angle of its various superheroes. The best way to describe the MCU is that each individual superhero must square off against his own evil boss in his own movies, but all of the superheroes must work together to face the big boss, Thanos. All of the movies released from the 2008 Iron Man to today’s Avengers: Endgame are referred to as The Infinity Saga. To date, 21 films have been released as part of the MCU, with one more planned for a summer 2019 release.
2. James Bond – 26 films
James Bond debuted in 1962 with Sean Connery playing the titular role in Dr. No. Since then, the movie series based on books by the same name from Ian Fleming has continued to roll on and amass a huge following. The movies follow the suave and agile MI6 agent as he continues to foil Spectre villains and tango (sometimes literally) with leading ladies. Six men have played the official role to date: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Sir Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig. While Sean Connery played James Bond the longest and reprised the role after Roger Moore retired, George Lazenby played in only one movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
1. Godzilla – 35 films
Debuting in 1954, second to Gundam and Voltron, Godzilla is one of the most enduring cinematic exports and best-known kaiju (monster) films from Japan. The movie incorporates the nation’s real experience with nuclear radiation from World War II and uses it as the catalyst for awakening a prehistoric sea creature, Godzilla. The film series spawned 34 spinoff kaiju characters including Mothra, Rodan and even King Kong, who is now part of the kaiju genre thanks to Kong: Skull Island. Of the 35 films produced, all but three were created by the current and original creator of the Godzilla brand, Toho Films.
Did any of your favorite movies make the list? Or were you surprised by which ones topped it? If you were surprised by these figures, this list is the perfect excuse to spend next weekend binge-watching these movies.