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What Other Movie Franchises Reached Nine Films?

When F9 zooms into movie theaters, it won’t just take the Fast & Furious franchise to outer space for the first time. It’ll also make this the rare series to reach nine or more entries. As the likes of Divergent can attest, it can be difficult to properly wrap up a series containing just three or four movies. It’s impressive to consider a franchise so successful that it manages to endure for nine-plus entries.

Not too many franchises have reached the nine-movie milestone, but the ones that have are surprisingly varied in scale and tone. Rather than just being a bunch of explosion-laden blockbusters, certain sagas that have reached or even exceeded nine installments belong to genres like the slasher movie or the low-budget comedy. And, yes, there are examples of long-running superhero movie franchises that have also managed to clock past the nine-movie threshold.


But what exactly led to these particular franchises managing to stick around for so long in the pop culture consciousness? In honor of F9 joining this rare breed of film series, let’s take a look at the factors that explain how certain franchises endure so many adventures.

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Madea

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Image via Lionsgate

If it seems bonkers that the Tyler Perry character Madea could spawn a multitude of movies, just remember she originated in plays. In the theatre world, Madea has managed to star or is heavily featured in 18 different productions. If anything, her film adaptations are just carrying on the tradition of Madea being a figure who can sustain a large number of stories. The film adaptation of the character began with Diary of a Mad Black Woman in 2005. It would be the first of nine theatrical star vehicles for the character while Madea would also have small roles in two additional directorial efforts from Perry.


Despite starring in movies for over 14 years, the Madea franchise didn’t change or evolve much in terms of tone or actors like other perennial franchises like James Bond. Why would Perry change anything, though, when the box office results were so consistently successful? The characters proved so popular that, despite A Madea Family Funeral supposedly being the final installment, Madea will soon return for a 2022 Netflix film.

Planet of the Apes

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Image via 20th Century Fox

The famous ending of the original Planet of the Apes was full of despair and memorable imagery, but it wasn’t packed with elements that lent themselves to setting up future adventures. That didn’t stop the producers from turning this sci-fi classic into one of the longest-running franchises in history. The solution for keeping this series going was to introduce time travel into the mix and show how primates from the future ended up inspiring the ape uprising that would doom humanity.

Even when the original Planet of the Apes series ran its course, the brand name wouldn’t remain dormant for long. After Tim Burton’s ill-advised Planet of the Apes remake in 2001 starring Mark Wahlberg, the franchise once again went into the past for a trilogy of films chronicling the rise of the ape Caesar (Andy Serkis). These features utilized cutting-edge motion-capture animation technology as well as a commitment to plopping dramatically engaging characters into all the action-packed monkey business. Sometimes, prequels can be the kiss of death for a franchise, but for Planet of the Apes, going to the past has only been positive.

Star Trek

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Image via Paramount Pictures

Star Trek got its start on TV but some of its most impactful pop culture moments have been on the big screen. The cast of the original TV program got to headline a series of movies throughout the 1970s and 1980s that varied in quality but did cement the Star Trek property as more than just a 1960s fad. Of course, William Shatner couldn’t star in Star Trek features forever, so the decision was made to have the cast of The Next Generation make the leap to movie theaters starting with Star Trek: Generations.

The rotating door of cast members has always helped the Star Trek movies from staying in creative slumps for too long. Case in point: once the Next Generation actors had run their course in theatrical endeavors, a 2009 reboot simply titled Star Trek introduced a new cast taking on the roles of Kirk (Chris Pine), Spock (Zachary Quinto), and the rest of the crew. Now having run for 12 features, this franchise is set to continue traveling where no man has gone before with a new installment scheduled for June 2023.

James Bond

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Image via MGM

The James Bond series hasn’t just reached nine installments. It reached that number back in 1974 with The Man with the Golden Gun. This series has been churning for nearly six decades, creating 24 (soon to be 25) movies in the process. It also doesn’t appear to be winding down anytime soon. You’d think moviegoers would get sick and tired of all those shaken (not stirred) martinis. However, the Bond series is always trading out new actors to portray its lead role.

Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig, to name a few, have all taken on the 007 mantle. In the process of taking over this franchise, each new performer has ushered in a new tone for the series. Brosnan’s movies, for instance, leaned on goofier over-the-top antics while Craig’s Bond was all about gritty realism. This ability to constantly add new elements to this series has allowed the James Bond franchise to go well beyond just nine entries.

X-Men

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Image via 20th Century Fox

By the time the X-Men eventually join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they will have already had plenty of escapades on the big-screen. This series started in 2000 and spawned six direct follow-ups. The franchise would further branch out with a trilogy of standalone Wolverine movies as well as further spin-offs like The New Mutants and the Deadpool films. All told, this franchise produced 13 individual installments.

The series was able to keep on going by finding answers in the past. After X-Men: The Last Stand, the X-Men franchise opted to go the prequel route with X-Men: First Class, opening up 40 years worth of stories for future movies to tell in the process. Embracing spin-offs that each carried their distinct flavor also helped ensure the longevity of these comic book movie adaptations. Even as the original incarnation of these films has now been paused thanks to Marvel Studios taking over the property, it remains apparent that this take on the X-Men had no trouble leaping past the nine-movie mark.

Hellraiser

Hellraiser

Image via Entertainment Film

“We have such sights to show you.” So says Pinhead (Doug Bradley) in the original Hellraiser. The line could also come from a Hellraiser diehard introducing this horror series to a total novice. There are indeed all kinds of sights to be found in the Hellraiser saga, though not all of them good. The first Hellraiser, written and directed by Clive Barker, is widely regarded as a masterpiece and one with enough pop culture cache to spawn a series of sequels. However, the box office intake on these films quickly dwindled, and Hellraiser: Bloodline was the last title in the series to debut in theaters.

Hellraiser didn’t stop at just four installments, though. The franchise has managed to reach ten entries by going the direct-to-video route starting with Hellraiser: Inferno. The critical marks have dropped drastically since that initial 1985 feature, but embarking on this road has ensured that Hellraiser is one of the longer-running American horror franchises. The Hellraiser saga isn’t about to end anytime soon either. After a pair of installments that cost under $1 million each to produce, a new take on the material is set for a 2022 release on Hulu.

Friday the 13th

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Image via Paramount

Nobody involved in the original Friday the 13th could have imagined this franchise continuing for so long. Originally made to cash in on the novelty of its title—and the success of Halloween—the initial feature proved lucrative enough to spawn further follow ups. Once the deceased child character Jason Voorhees was revived as an adult slasher villain, this series had an unkillable menace that could prove frightening across countless motion pictures.

It also helped that the series was willing to engage in very strange eye-catching premises once a bunch of sequels had been produced. The novelty of Jason visiting Manhattan or Hell was the lynchpin of later entries while Jason X embraced meta-humor and the sci-fi genre to ensure the series could keep going. Opting for a full-on remake in 2009 further ensured that the Friday the 13th series could carry on. Though it’s been over a decade since the last entry in this franchise graced movie theaters, the Friday the 13th films still have amassed a whopping 12 entries.

Batman

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Image via HBO Max

New Batman comics have been produced for over 80 years now, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Batman movies have had similar longevity. Technically beginning with the 1966 film adaptation of Adam West’s Batman TV show, the era of Warner Bros.-produced Batman blockbusters began in 1989 with Tim Burton’s Batman. This box office sensation immediately spawned a series of follow-ups throughout the 1990s, followed shortly afterward by a trio of acclaimed features helmed by Christopher Nolan.

Like many long-running blockbuster franchises, recasting has been key for the cinematic incarnation of Batman. Everyone from Val Kilmer to Ben Affleck has worn the cape-and-cowl. In addition, the drastically different tones explored in each new iteration of the character have ensured that, even if a new Batman movie isn’t your favorite, it won’t just be a retread of the past. This level of variety has produced an enduring series of features that looks to continue next year with the Matt Reeves directed The Batman.

The Pink Panther

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Image via United Artists

In the vein of Charlie Chaplin’s The Tramp, Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau was a beloved comedy figure that could get into physical comedy antics across several movies. Such adventures took place in the Pink Panther franchise. Sellers was so widely-revered in this series’ lead role that he portrayed the character on six separate occasions while he was still alive. Even after his passing, The Trail of the Pink Panther compiled archival footage of Sellers in the role to create a whole new movie.

Given how lucrative the franchise was, producers have constantly tried to keep the Pink Panther series going by hiring new actors to take on the lead role, such as Roberto Benigni and Steve Martin, the latter even portraying a new version of Clouseau. None of these new leads have come anywhere close to matching the success of Sellers. However, these constant attempts to restart the series explain how The Pink Panther has managed to span 11 movies, with yet another installment on the way.

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