As it happens every summer, the blockbuster season is filled with film franchises returning to theaters with a new installment. While some franchises testing the waters with sequels — 21 Jump Street and How to Train Your Dragon both released follow ups in June — The Expendables is stepping into trilogy territory. Later this summer, the film will debut its threequel in theaters. But the question is, will it push forward with a fourth (Transformers) or seventh (Fast and Furious), or just stick with three?
The famed trilogy has worked out for a number of franchises, from the planned (Star Wars) to the “let’s just do it for fun” (Ocean’s). But how successful were all three films? While fans covet all three Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi both made over $100 million less than A New Hope at the box office. However it’s not the case for every franchise. We examined some of movie’s most beloved trilogies to figure out what was the peak installment.
It turns out that the first film was the most successful. In 43 percent of the trilogies, the initial bow raked in the largest haul at the box office. Like A New Hope, the first of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man film, The Godfather, Ocean’s 11, Men In Black all out performed their follow ups.
As for the rest of the films, sequels and threequels were pretty evenly split. Though one thing noticeably helped a few franchises: 3-D. The addition of the technology boosted ticket prices and increased the overall box office intake for films like Iron Man 3 and Jackass 3-D. But then there were other franchises like Austin Powers, where the success of the brand grew so much that the third film, Goldmember, made nearly four times the amount of first release.
So how did Matrix: Reloaded, Friday After Next and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome do compared to their respective counterparts? Click through the gallery above to find out.