4 Horror Movie Franchises That Killed at the Box Office

Since the dawn of filmmaking, horror has been one of the most popular genres for fans. Every year, new movies hit theaters and on-demand platforms with the hopes of drawing in eager fans looking for a new fright. Chances are, if a new film makes waves in the box office, it will spawn a sequel or two (or seven). Every once in awhile, a horror movie franchise comes along that makes history. Here are a few of the most successful frightening franchises.

Scream, Scream 4, Courteney Cox

Source: Dimension Films

4. Scream

Horror master Wes Craven, who rose to fame with the ’80s classic A Nightmare on Elm Street, tapped into a whole new generation of horror fans with 1996’s Scream. The film featured a smart script from Dawson’s Creek writer Kevin Williamson that blended pop culture references and comedy with bone-chilling moments of terror. Scream was a sleeper hit, slowly gaining popularity amongst Millenials, many of whom saw it as the first horror film that spoke their language. It was so successful that it ultimately spawned three sequels, which have grossed a combined $604.4 million worldwide.

paranormal activity

Source: Paramount

3. Paranormal Activity

Made on a shoestring budget with an unknown cast and crew, there’s no way Writer/Director Oren Pelin could have predicted the success of 2007’s Paranormal Activity. But eight years and six films later, this series is one of the most lucrative franchises in horror history. For the most part, the films offer a found footage/documentary-style look at haunting incidents and the people who lived them. Audiences were drawn to how real the films felt, and devoted fans have made a habit out of taking in sequels. All in all, the Paranormal Activity franchise has scared up more than $811 million worldwide in box office revenue.

source: Lions Gate

source: Lions Gate

2. Saw

It started as a low-budget horror thriller about a sinister man who calls himself Jigsaw. He forces his victims to confront their worst qualities or die unimaginable, painful deaths. But in 2003, when Australian filmmaking team James Wan and Leigh Whannell sold their short film in an attempt to pick up financing for a feature-length film, they unknowingly spawned the 21st century’s first legitimate horror franchise. There have been seven Saw films altogether, all eagerly viewed by fans who relished each new installment’s increasingly sadistic plot twists. Lions Gate has made more than $873 million worldwide off the franchise, which makes Jigsaw one of the most profitable serial killers of all time.

Source: alienisolation.com

Source: alienisolation.com

1. Alien

There’s no disputing that the unknown chasms of space have the potential to be terrifying. Ridley Scott capitalized on that fear with his wildly successful Alien franchise. The first film tells the story of Alice Ripley, a scientist trapped on board a spacecraft with a murderous extraterrestrial. It was an enormous box-office success, prompting the film’s studio, Fox, to order the follow-up, 1985’s Aliens. Since 1979, this sci-fi/horror series has churned out seven films, including the 2012 prequel Prometheus. To date, the global box office earnings for the entire franchise tops out at a whopping $1.26 billion.

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