The Most Successful Movie Trilogy, Ranked

Choose the movie trilogy you think is the most successful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 19, 2024 07:00
Deciding which movie trilogy stands out as the most successful involves more than just box office numbers. It's about the impact on culture, the breakthroughs in storytelling and character development, and the lasting appeal that calls fans back to these cinematic journeys again and again. As tastes and opinions vary widely, a collective input can provide a more comprehensive understanding of what resonates with audiences the most. By participating in this ranking, you add your voice to a larger conversation about film and entertainment. This allows your preferences to help shape a global consensus on the trilogies that have defined, delighted, and inspired generations of viewers. Whether you’re a casual watcher or a fervent cinephile, your votes matter in helping to highlight the trilogies that truly excel in the world of cinema.

What Is the Most Successful Movie Trilogy?

  1. 1

    The Lord of the Rings

    J.R.R. Tolkien
    This trilogy is considered one of the most successful movie franchises of all time, grossing over $2.9 billion worldwide. The films were critically acclaimed, winning numerous awards, including 17 Oscars.
    The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien. It follows the quest of a young hobbit named Frodo Baggins who is tasked with destroying a powerful ring. Along his journey, he is accompanied by a fellowship of diverse characters, including elves, dwarves, men, and other hobbits, who strive to protect him and defeat the dark forces. The story takes place in the fictional world of Middle-earth and delves into themes of heroism, friendship, sacrifice, and the struggle between good and evil.
    • Publication Year: 1954-1955
    • Genre: High fantasy
    • Number of Volumes: 3
    • Number of Chapters: 62
    • Total Word Count: 455,125
    The Lord of the Rings in other rankings
  2. 2

    The Dark Knight

    Christopher Nolan
    This trilogy, directed by Christopher Nolan, grossed over $2.4 billion worldwide and is widely regarded as one of the best superhero trilogies of all time. The films were praised for their dark tone and realistic approach to the Batman character.
    The Dark Knight is a superhero movie trilogy that explores the dark and gritty world of Gotham City and its protector, Batman. It showcases the struggles and triumphs of Batman as he battles against powerful adversaries and tries to maintain peace in the city.
    • Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
    • Director: Christopher Nolan
    • Release Dates: Batman Begins - June 15, 2005; The Dark Knight - July 18, 2008; The Dark Knight Rises - July 20, 2012
    • Runtime: Batman Begins - 140 minutes; The Dark Knight - 152 minutes; The Dark Knight Rises - 165 minutes
    • Box Office: Over $2.4 billion worldwide
  3. 3
    This Pixar trilogy is beloved by audiences of all ages and has grossed over $2.1 billion worldwide. The films were praised for their innovative animation techniques and heartwarming stories.
    Toy Story is a beloved Disney movie that takes us into the imaginative world of toys when humans are not around. The story revolves around the secret life of toys and their adventures. It follows the journey of Woody, a pull-string cowboy doll, who becomes threatened by the arrival of Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger action figure, as their rivalry evolves into an unexpected friendship. Together, they navigate through numerous obstacles to find a way back to their owner. With its heartwarming story, memorable characters, and groundbreaking animation, Toy Story is a timeless classic that has captured the hearts of millions across generations.
    • Release Date: November 22, 1995
    • Running Time: 81 minutes
    • Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
    • Director: John Lasseter
    • Writers: John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft, Joss Whedon
    Toy Story in other rankings
  4. 4
    The Godfather
    Paramount Pictures (1972) · Public domain

    The Godfather

    Electronic Arts
    Often considered one of the greatest film trilogies of all time, The Godfather films grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide and won a total of 9 Oscars. The films are known for their complex characters, intricate plotlines, and iconic quotes.
    The Godfather is a popular Mafia-themed video game inspired by the eponymous film series. It takes players into the 1940s and allows them to assume the role of a mobster operating in the fictional city of New York. The game provides an immersive and open-world environment where players can engage in various criminal activities, build their own criminal empire, and climb the ranks of the Corleone family.
    • Platform: PlayStation 2, Xbox, Microsoft Windows
    • Release Date: October 2006
    • Genre: Action-adventure
    • Single-Player: Yes
    • Multiplayer: No
  5. 5

    Star Wars

    George Lucas
    The original Star Wars trilogy grossed over $1.4 billion worldwide and revolutionized the sci-fi genre. The films have become cultural icons, inspiring countless spin-offs, merchandise, and fan theories.
    Star Wars is an iconic and highly recognized sci-fi film franchise created by George Lucas. The franchise features a collection of distinctive ringtones that have become popular over the years. These ringtones capture the essence of the Star Wars universe and are loved by fans worldwide.
    • Title: Star Wars
    • Genre: Sci-fi
    • Release Year: 1977
    • Film Series: Star Wars saga
    • Theme Music Composer: John Williams
    Star Wars in other rankings
  6. 6

    The Bourne Trilogy

    Robert Ludlum
    This action-packed series grossed over $945 million worldwide and is known for its intense fight scenes and gripping storyline. The films were praised for their realistic portrayal of espionage and espionage tactics.
    The Bourne Trilogy is a popular trilogy of action thriller films based on the character Jason Bourne, a former CIA assassin suffering from amnesia. The trilogy follows Jason Bourne as he attempts to uncover his true identity and evade capture by the CIA. The films are known for their high-octane action sequences, intense plotlines, and intricate espionage themes.
    • Genre: Action, Thriller
    • Films: The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum
    • Director: Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum)
    • Main Actor: Matt Damon
    • Running Time: Approximately 119-123 minutes per film
    The Bourne Trilogy in other rankings
  7. 7
    The Matrix
    Jamie Zawinski (program); Church of emacs (screenshot) · Attribution
    This trilogy grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide and is known for its groundbreaking visual effects and philosophical themes. The films have become cultural touchstones, inspiring countless parodies and references in popular culture.
    The Matrix is a science fiction film trilogy that explores the concept of a simulated reality called the Matrix, in which humanity is unknowingly enslaved by machines. The story follows a group of rebels led by the protagonist Neo as they fight against the oppressors and seek to free humanity from its virtual prison.
    • Genre: Science fiction
    • Release Dates: 1999, 2003
    • Director(s): Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski
    • Protagonist: Neo (Thomas A. Anderson), portrayed by Keanu Reeves
    • Antagonist: Agent Smith, portrayed by Hugo Weaving
  8. 8

    Back to the Future

    Robert Zemeckis
    This beloved trilogy grossed over $957 million worldwide and is known for its clever time-travel plotlines and iconic characters. The films have become cultural touchstones, inspiring countless references in popular culture.
    Back to the Future is a popular science fiction movie trilogy that follows the adventures of teenager Marty McFly as he travels through time with the help of a DeLorean car converted into a time machine by the eccentric scientist Dr. Emmett Brown. The trilogy combines elements of comedy, action, and adventure, captivating audiences with its engaging storyline and memorable characters.
    • Director: Robert Zemeckis
    • Release Dates: 1985, 1989, 1990
    • Genre: Science Fiction, Adventure, Comedy
    • Box Office Revenue: Over $976 million worldwide
    • Writer: Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale
  9. 9
    The Hunger Games
    Diseñadores publicitarios · Public domain

    The Hunger Games

    Suzanne Collins
    This dystopian trilogy grossed over $2.9 billion worldwide and is known for its strong female lead and social commentary. The films were praised for their visual effects and action sequences.
    The Hunger Games is a dystopian young adult novel written by Suzanne Collins. It is the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy, set in a post-apocalyptic nation of Panem. The story follows sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to participate in a sadistic televised event called the Hunger Games, where teenagers from twelve districts fight to the death.
    • Genre: Dystopian, Adventure, Science Fiction
    • Publication Date: September 14, 2008
    • Setting: Post-apocalyptic nation of Panem
    • Protagonist: Katniss Everdeen
    • Age Range: Young Adult
    The Hunger Games in other rankings
  10. 10
    The Hobbit
    Strebe at English Wikipedia · Public domain

    The Hobbit

    Peter Jackson
    This prequel trilogy to The Lord of the Rings grossed over $2.9 billion worldwide and is known for its stunning visual effects and memorable characters. The films were criticized for their deviation from the source material, but still proved to be a commercial success.
    The Hobbit is a highly successful movie trilogy based on the novel of the same name by J.R.R Tolkien. It is set in the fantasy world of Middle-earth and serves as a prequel to the even more popular Lord of the Rings trilogy. The story follows Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit who embarks on an epic journey alongside a group of dwarves to reclaim their homeland from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Throughout their quest, they encounter various creatures and face numerous challenges.
    • Release dates: 2012-2014
    • Directed by: Peter Jackson
    • Production companies: New Line Cinema, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, WingNut Films
    • Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
    • Running time (total): 474 minutes

Missing your favorite movie trilogy?


Ranking factors for successful movie trilogy

  1. Box office performance
    The total gross earnings of the movies in the trilogy is an important benchmark of success. The trilogy with the highest box office earnings would be considered more successful.
  2. Critical acclaim
    The positive reviews and accolades received by the movies from film critics and industry experts can also be used to measure success.
  3. Fan reception
    Public opinion and fan engagement with the trilogy can be used to gauge success. This can be seen through fan base growth, merchandise sales, and social media engagement.
  4. Impact on pop culture
    The trilogy's influence on pop culture, including references in other media, parodies and remakes, can also be considered a measure of success.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most successful movie trilogy. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or trilogy is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 189 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each trilogy once every 24 hours. The rank of each trilogy is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most successful movie trilogy

Movie trilogies have been a staple in the film industry for decades, captivating audiences with their interconnected stories and characters. From epic adventures to heart-wrenching dramas, trilogies have the ability to transport viewers to new worlds and leave a lasting impact. But what makes a trilogy successful? Is it the box office numbers, critical acclaim, or the emotional connection that audiences have with the characters? In this article, we explore the most successful movie trilogies and what makes them stand out from the rest.

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