The 10 Highest-Grossing Horror Franchises of All Time

Horror has always been one of the most profitable genres at the box office. Usually produced on a low budget and starring a cast of lesser-known actors, they are designed to result in profitable profits for studios. Good horror can also be promoted well, whether it’s imaginative marketing campaigns such as e.g to smile‘s recent scary performance, or just good word of mouth from viewers telling their friends how they “just saw the scariest movie.”


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The genre has spawned some of the most iconic franchises in film history, e.g Halloweento Friday the 13th, and there was a time when horror icons like these had action figures and appeared on lunch boxes. While Marvel currently rules the box office, these franchises show that good horror will always draw an audience.

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“Paranormal Activity” – $890 million

Revival of the found footage genre that The Blair Witch Project popularized a decade ago, Paranormal Activity made a massive win for such a low budget premise. The original follows a couple who believe their house is haunted, so they set up cameras to watch them while they sleep. Correspondingly creepy gimmicks follow.

Not much happens in there Paranormal Activity, and you could argue that it’s a film anyone could make in their own home. The indie film’s tremendous success has led to the production of six sequels, each following a new family that chronicles them being afflicted by supernatural forces.

“Dracula” – $891 million

Possibly the most iconic horror character of all time Dracula started life in Bram Stoker‘s original 1897 novel. Like any famous book, it has been adapted for the big screen and 15 feature films have been produced centering on the legendary vampire, grossing an impressive $891 million in total. The best Dracula films are faithful adaptations of the source material, while the highest-grossing bloodsucker films are Van Helsingwhere he fights Hugh Jackman‘s Monster Hunter.

Even if he isn’t the star of the film, Dracula still appears in other films and becomes one of the most used characters in the media. This all builds the character’s insurmountable recognizability and places him at the top of the horror icon stack above Freddy and Jason.

Dracula can be streamed on Peacock and Tubi.

“Scary Movie” – $896 million

Somehow, a series designed to parody established horror franchises has made more at the box office than the films it satirizes. Created by the Wayans brothers, the first Scary movie was a direct parody of Scream, and I know what you did last summerpoke fun at popular slashers without being too mean.

Flashback to the days of Airplane! and The naked gun, the formula proved to be a hit with the public. Four sequels were produced, including targeted films The Exorcist, The ring, Seenand Paranormal Activity. The first film is still the best scary movie 3 is also a comedy classic.

“Hannibal” – $921 million

Based on the book by Thomas Harris, The silence of the Lambs Stars Jodie Foster as rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling, who is on the hunt for a sadistic serial killer named Buffalo Bill. She begs the imprisoned cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), and she gains helpful insight into the dark, twisted mind of a killer.

After the film was a huge commercial and critical success (winning five Academy Awards), adaptations of Harris’ other Hannibal followed novels were made. Three more films followed, each giving Lecter a bigger role. The character has remained so popular that she even got a television show starring her Mads Mikkelsenwhile a recent Clarice-focused series has also been produced.

The silence of the Lambs can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video, AMC+ and Tubi.

“Sah” – $1 billion

Proof that budget doesn’t have to be a crutch for creativity, the original Seen was produced for $1.2 million but spawned a billion dollar franchise. Starting in a bathroom that Seen franchise revolves around the victims of the Jigsaw Killer, a notorious villain who sets people in deadly traps.

After the first film, the series began fleshing out its antagonist’s backstory and explaining why he commits the crimes he commits. As the franchise progressed, his signature traps became more and more ridiculous, but the series consistently remained watchable as a new set of victims were killed in various horrifying ways.

Seen can be streamed on Peacock.

“ES” – $1.1 billion

The latest adaptation of StephenKing‘s classic story, IT, follows a group of young friends in the 80’s who are being terrorized by Pennywise, a child-eating clown. A sequel followed IT: Chapter Twowhich follows the children into adulthood as they strive to end Pennywise once and for all.

what does ITThe box office success of is so impressive that the series consists of only two films. The first film alone became the third highest R-rated film upon release. Unlocks the ’80s nostalgia made popular by stranger things while providing its own spin on the story IT one of the greatest King adaptations of all time.

IT can be streamed on Netflix and HBO Max.

“Resident Evil” – $1.2 billion

One of the highest-grossing video game adaptations of all time resident Evil abandons the storyline of the games in favor of exploring his own characters. Milla Jovovich stars as Alice, an agent for the evil Umbrella Corporation who turns against her employer after her inhumane experiments led to the zombie apocalypse.

While most resident Evil While games are known for their emphasis on horror and the creation of suspense, movies tend to lean more toward action. Alice literally becomes superhuman, banging her way through six films. A reboot that strives to be more like the games was released in 2021 with the title Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.

resident Evil can be streamed on Netflix.

“Alien” – $1.6 billion

In space, they might not be able to hear you scream, but they certainly can at the box office. From 1979 with Ridley Scott‘s extraterrestrialthe franchise has become one of the most recognizable names in sci-fi. Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley is one of the most iconic characters in cinema, while the Xenomorphs have haunted people’s nightmares for decades.

The original film functions like a space slasher film as the crew of a small cargo ship is butchered by a predatory, parasitic alien. JamesCameron the series took a more action-oriented direction Foreigner, to create one of the greatest sequels of all time. Other submissions have attempted to match the brilliance of the first two films but have failed.

extraterrestrial can be streamed on Starz.

“The Mummy” – $1.8 billion

The holy grail for 90’s kids The Mummy endeared a generation to comeback king Brendan Fraser. Starring Fraser as Rick O’Connell, the American explorer grapples with mummies and those trying to revive them. The Mummy is a perfect entry-level film for young horror fans as it leans into the genre without being overly scary or violent and almost feels like a supernatural version Indiana Jones.

Fraser starred in a trilogy of films and fought Imhotep (Arnold Voslo) twice before the fight Jet Li‘s Dragon Emperor in the third film. The stone made his film debut in the second film (the highest-grossing entry) and received his own spin-off in the form of The Scorpio King. A reboot with a leading role Tom cruise was released in 2017 but didn’t achieve the same impact as the Fraser series: Across the five films, the franchise has grossed $1.8 billion at the box office.

“The Conjuring Universe” – $2.1 billion

Another blockbuster franchise from James Wan, The incantation, began as a fictionalized account of the real-life paranormal cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren. After a family encounters disturbing hauntings in their home, they call in the Warrens to put an end to the incidents.

Sequels followed, and as each new entry introduced new nefarious ghosts and cases, some were spun off into their own films. films such as Annabelle, The nunand The Curse of La Llorona are all set in the world of The incantationall together to make it the highest-grossing franchise in horror history.

The incantation can be streamed on HBO Max.

READ MORE: The 10 Most Terrifying Dolls In Horror History

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Sarah Ridley

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