The 10 Highest-Grossing Comedy Franchises Of All Time, According To Box Office Mojo

Comedy series tend to follow very similar trends, as the first movies are massive successes but their follow-ups fall short, both critically and at the box office. However, there are others that manage to break that mold and avoid the sophomore slump.

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Great comedies are based on momentum, energy, and comedic timing. And though some long-running comedy series repeat the same jokes, they have an undeniable vitality about them that keeps audiences glued to the screen. Between pot-smoking teddy bears, violent but heartwarming Christmas films, and tons of teen movies, these comedy franchises have raked in billions worldwide.

10 Austin Powers - $676.8 Million

In a lot of ways, Austin Powers hasn't aged well, but at the time in the late '90s and early 2000s, it was one of the most popular franchises in the world. On paper, the Austin Powers movies should never have been as popular as they were. The movie has such a high concept about a cryogenically frozen spy from the '60s who can time travel back and forth.

It is a niche concept, but it managed to make hundreds of millions of dollars. Granted, it took a while for fans to get on board, as the first movie barely made $70 million. But the sequel, The Spy Who Shagged Me, massively outdid expectations for New Line Cinema, making more than $300 million.

9 Beverly Hills Cop - $735.5 Million

In the '80s, Eddie Murphy was arguably the most bankable star on Earth, and outside of Shrek, the most success he had in the movie industry was Beverly Hills Cop. It did what Murphy did so brilliantly in '80s movies, which was to play fish-out-of-water characters, and in this case, it was a street smart Detroit cop being thrown into Beverly Hills.

Beverly Hills Cop was the best of the lot and it spawned two sequels. Though the quality was considered to have dropped with each consecutive release, it wasn't enough to hinder Murphy's bankability, as the series has made a total of almost three-quarters of a billion dollars. Not only that, but that number will soon grow, as Beverly Hills Cop 4 is in production.

8 Ted - $765 Million

Though many other comedy franchises have grossed more money at the box office, Ted is one of the most impressive when it comes to the average gross per movie. There are only two movies in the series, but cute animations don't only do well for Star Wars and Disney, but for stoner comedies too apparently.

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What also helped the first movie's success was that it was a refreshing comedy at the time. Ted had an unusual premise that used animation in an inventive way that hadn't been done in the genre since Team America: World Police. Not only was the franchise successful at the box office, but it surely must have made money hand-over-fist when it came to the Ted bears too.

7 Rush Hour - $850 Million

Rush Hour is seen as one of the worst action series according to Metacritic, but that isn't because the action sequences are bad. The action scenes with Jackie Chan showing off his best acrobatic skills are spectacular. However, it's the constant racial jokes where Asian culture is the punchline that anchors down Rush Hour's critical reception.

But that didn't hurt too much when it came to general audiences, as the movies are critic-proof in every sense. Every movie performed well at the box office, as viewers loved the surprising inspired choice to match Chan and Chris Tucker together for a buddy cop movie. And in fairness, their chemistry got stronger with each sequel.

6 Scary Movie - $896.5 Million

The Scary Movie series has grossed a surprising amount worldwide, but it isn't as impressive as some of the others, as that high of a number is somehwat down to how many movies there are in the series. There are five movies in the franchise, and it was a case of diminishing returns with each consecutive movie in the series starting with Scary Movie 3.

The parody film could never have been that successful for so long if it stayed the same, as the first movie was essentially a parody of a movie that was already a satire of the genre. And that's why the series branched out by parodying things like 8 Mile in the third film.

5 Home Alone - $915 Million

For many, Home Alone is a favorite Christmas movie, as it combines the warmth of the holiday season with violence, and in many ways, it's the family-friendly Die Hard. As Home Alone is one of the most popular Christmas movies, the annual figure it makes from streaming syndication alone must have multiplied the box office gross several times over.

That figure wouldn't be too different without the third movie, as the non-Macaulay Culkin-starring Home Alone 3 brought in a massively disappointing $80 million. However, providing it gets a theatrical release and isn't just available on Disney+, the total gross for the figure could grow, as a Home Alone reboot is in development.

4 American Pie - $990.1 Million

Just like the Scary Movie films, American Pie has capitalized on the success of the original movie so much that there are nine films in the series. However, after the third film, American Wedding, they were all direct-to-DVD until the "proper" sequel American Reunion, which saw the original cast return.

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Before the series became led by Eugen Levy, who plays Jim's Dad, the films were the most popular teen movies of the 2000s, and at points, they were oddly relatable. The four theatrically released films in the franchise have grossed close to $1 billion. But since then, the series has reverted back to the direct-to-DVD formula, as 2020 saw the release of American Pie Presents: Girls' Rules. It's completely unrelated to the series and is an American Pie movie in name only.

3 Fockers - $1.16 Billion

Few people would have ever thought that Robert De Niro would be the star of a comedy franchise, let alone that the franchise would be the most financially successful project he's ever been a part of (excluding Joker).

The dramatic actor, who usually plays murderous gangsters, essentially parodies himself in Meet The Parents, as he portrays a grumpy father who hates his daughter's new boyfriend. It was a hilarious standalone movie, but it expanded into a franchise full of absurd characters with Meet The Fockers and Little Fockers.

2 The Hangover - $1.41 Billion

As a series, The Hangover is another case of disappointing sequels, and it was never going to go any other way. The sequels could never top the original, as the first movie was like lightning in a bottle. But that isn't to say the sequels weren't still successful, as the total box office gross speaks for itself.

Even though the second movie repeated the gags of the original almost beat for beat, it still grossed over $100 million more than its predecessor. But in the end, it was clear that even director Todd Phillips was done with the series by the third movie. The threequel was a heist film, and in hindsight, it was a foreshadow of the crime direction Phillips went in with his following movies, War Dogs and Joker.

1 Deadpool - $1.57 Billion

Marvel's Deadpool is unlike every other high-grossing comedy series, as it already had an existing fanbase due to being a popular comic book. However, the first movie still managed to defy all expectations, as the film's production had a low budget because the studio wasn't confident in its success. But each movie in the series grossed almost $800 million apiece.

Audiences couldn't get enough of the charm and charisma that Ryan Reynolds carries as Deadpool. And fans positively reacted to humor that pokes holes in its own genre, as it's what they have been saying for years. As the character has been inducted into the MCU, that $1.5 billion figure will exponentially expand with Deadpool 3.

NEXT: 10 2000s Comedy Movies That Deserved Sequels



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