The 6 Most Successful Movie Franchises Based on TV Shows

Successful movies often get a second life as television shows, as studios try to duplicate the popularity of major motion pictures such as Stargate, Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, or MASH in a small-screen series format. However, when it comes to recycling popular stories or characters, the road from the movie studio to the television studio is a two-way street. Just like some popular television shows have taken their inspiration from films, there are also several successful films that have been based on television shows. Here are six successful film franchises that began as television programs.

6. The Addams Family film series (1991-1993)

Based on a dark comedy television program of the same name that ran from 1964 to 1966, the enduring popularity of The Addams Family characters inspired two major motion pictures. Starring Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya, and Christina Ricci, the 1991 film was a box office hit with a total domestic gross of $113.5 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Although 1993’s Addams Family Values was less commercially successful, it still collected a respectable domestic gross of nearly $49 million, giving this film franchise a total domestic gross of $162.4 million.

5. The Naked Gun film series (1988-1994)

Like the short-lived Police Squad! television show that this film series was based on, The Naked Gun movies also starred Leslie Nielsen as the bumbling and dim-witted detective Frank Drebin. Although the original television series was cancelled after only six episodes, it became a cult hit and spawned three major motion pictures, including The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!; The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear; and The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult. According to Box Office Mojo, The Naked Gun trilogy raked in a total combined domestic gross of nearly $217 million. Although Nielsen passed away in 2010, a reboot of the popular comedy film series is in the works, according to Variety.