Do you love horror movies? Have you ever been curious as to what the most successful horror franchises of all time are? From iconic figures like Jason, Freddy Krueger, and Michael Meyers, one has to wonder where all the horror greats fit in on a complete ranking of the top highest-grossing horror franchises.
It might surprise you to learn which films fall on the top of the heap and which settled in at the bottom. From Halloween to Final Destination to Saw, find out where all your favorite grisly tales rank on this list of the highest-grossing horror franchises of all time.
10 The Ring - $614 million
It should be common knowledge by now but if you ever receive a mysterious unmarked videotape don't watch it! You might only have seven days to live before a creepy long-haired girl named Samara crawls out of your TV screen to kill you. At least, that's how the story goes in The Ring (Japanese name "Ringu") story.
While The Ring only has three films in the American remake of the franchise (the latest being 2017's Rings), it also has the added benefit of the original Japenese franchise which is composed of eight films, two TV series, manga, and a video game. Altogether this makes the franchise pretty lucrative at $614 million worldwide.
9 Halloween - $620 million
Halloween is known as the film that helped kickstart the golden age of slasher films. Along with other movies like Psycho and Friday the 13th, Halloween has long been hailed as a juggernaut in the horror film arena. The franchise is comprised of eleven films altogether, the most recent being the 2018 sequel to the original 1970 film.
The sequel quickly became the highest-grossing movie in the franchise with original star Jamie Lee Curtis and co-creator, John Carpenter, returning. Michael Meyers is still one of the most, if not the most, iconic horror figure of all time. It's a wonder this franchise didn't rank much higher.
8 Final Destination - $665 million
Death doesn't give up and neither does this franchise. Final Destination first released in 2009 and quickly became popular among young adults who liked the whacky premise of a group of teens who survive a near-fatal crash only be hunted down by death for messing with destiny. The series has five films altogether and there are talks it will be revived for a sixth film.
The last movie was released in 2011. Altogether the franchise has made $665 million at the box office with the first film being the one to gross the highest. Nowadays people know it as the franchise that scared them away from tanning beds, roller coasters, and driving behind logging trucks for good.
7 Jaws - $798 million
Jaws isn't just a phenomenon for horror fans, the film is widely considered one of the best movies of all time and the original "blockbuster" movie. It was released in 1975 and helped make Steve Spielberg the acclaimed director he is today. One of the most praised attributes of the movie is its ingenuity in building suspense. It certainly started a shark movie phenomenon that has lasted well into the modern age.
Although I wonder if Spielberg knew he might indirectly have helped create the Sharknado franchise. Although Jaws is the only movie that people pay much attention to, the franchise did spawn three follow-up films. The original 1975 film made the most money at a staggering $470 million and the franchise has a whole has made $798 million. It's surprising there hasn't been an official Jaws remake yet.
6 Paranormal Activity - $890 million
It's kind of crazy to remember that Paranormal Activity was a tiny found footage film made for only $15,000 back in 2007. Since then, it has spawned a lucrative horror franchise comprised of six different films and made $890 million at the worldwide box office. Each movie in the series had the same basic premise.
A family, usually with intense CCTV, would be tormented by a demonic presence and the footage would be caught on camera. There was kind of an overarching plot between films but for the most part, each one was standalone. The last Paranormal Activity film was released in 2015.
5 Hannibal - $924 million
You might be surprised to see the Hannibal franchise so high up on this list because there hasn't been a new film in years. But then again, Silence of the Lambs is a classic horror film, still studied and discussed heavily in the horror and film communities today.
Even though Silence of the Lambs isn't the highest-grossing film in the franchise (that honor goes to the 2001 film, Hannibal) it did help put the cannibal on the map. It was due to the franchise's success that NBC went ahead with the fan-favorite series, Hannibal, that ran for three seasons. As a whole, the Hannibal series almost made $1 billion but stopped just shy at $924 million.
4 Saw - $976 million
As one of the biggest draws for people who are fans of horror torture, Saw is undeniably a heavyweight champion at the box office. Jigsaw is one of the most iconic horror figures of all time. Some might even say he deserves a ranking on par with other horror icons such as Michael Meyers and Freddy Kreuger.
There have been eight Saw movies released since 2004. The latest movie, Jigsaw, starred Michael C. Hall in the titular role and aimed to explore the origins of the game-playing mastermind. Although the original Saw is still the one heralded as a classic, audiences love Saw and it will soon see a reboot by none other than comedian Chris Rock which could finally push it over the $1 billion mark.
3 Resident Evil - $1.2 billion
These zombie-fighting films may not be critical darlings but that never stopped audiences from turning up in droves to see Mila Jovovich kick some serious T-virus butt. Not even Umbrella Corp could stop this franchise's box office domination. It doesn't hurt that Resident Evil also had two franchises vying for the audience's money.
In addition to the popular live-action films, Resident Evil has also spawned an animated series that made a fair chunk of change. All in all, Resident Evil made around $1.2 billion with its latest (and last) entry, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, making the most.
2 Alien - $1.3 billion
The Ridley Scott-directed franchise began back in 1979 with a film that is still widely considered one of the best science-fiction horror movies of all time. Alien helped launched the career of esteemed actress Sigourney Weaver. Since 1979, the movie has spawned five follow-up films including Aliens, Alien³, Alien Resurrection, Prometheus, and Alien: Covenant.
Prometheus is the highest-grossing individual film of the franchise, it made $400k worldwide. As for the entire Alien franchise combined? It comes in at number two on this list with a staggering gross of $1.3 billion. No word yet on if we'll get another Alien film in the future but if so, it could knock The Conjuring out of the top spot.
1 The Conjuring Universe - $1.6 billion
It's not all that surprising that The Conjuring is ranked as the highest-grossing horror franchise of all time when you consider the unwavering popularity of the films. Since 2013, there has been nearly one new film in the franchise per year with plenty more on the way. The films follow the paranormal investigations of Lorraine and Ed Warren, based on the real-life demonologists.
The initial film series based on the Warrens has spawned three spin-offs. The first spin-off, Annabelle, will release its third film later this month. Last year, The Nun debuted with the highest-gross of all films and earlier this year The Curse of La Llorona entered the franchise. Altogether the franchise has raked in more than $1.6 billion worldwide.