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What 9 of the last 10 movie box-office champs have in common

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World proves that three sequels and reboots are better than one. Chris Pratt in Jurassic World proves that three sequels and reboots are better than one.
Chris Pratt in Jurassic World proves that three sequels and reboots are better than one. Photograph by Chuck Zlotnick — Universal Pictures

Jurassic World’s T. rex-sized box office numbers have already trampled several records. The latest? The Universal Pictures flick reached the $1 billion mark in just 14 days, faster than any other movie in history. But moviegoers’ love affair with sequels (and reboots, a la the latest in the Jurassic Park series) is nothing new. In fact, over the last decade, nine out of 10 top-grossing films of the year have been extensions of existing franchises. So if the list below feels like deja vu all over again, that’s because it is.

Box office data compiled by Rentrak.

2014: Guardians of the Galaxy

Still of Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy

The late-summer flick about a group of intergalactic former criminals was the 10th installment in the Marvel Comics “universe.” The movie cost $170 million to make, then raked in more than $774 million at the box office—not a bad ROI for Marvel owner Walt Disney Co.

2013: Iron Man 3

“Marvel’s Iron Man 3”

Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)

Ph: Film Frame

© 2012 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2012 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Another Marvel hit, Iron Man 3 became the 16th film to reach the $1 billion mark (it grossed $1.2 billion in worldwide ticket sales). The original, which came out in 2008, grossed a comparatively paltry $585.2 million.

 

2012: The Avengers

Marvel’s “The Avengers”

What do you get when you put Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk and Thor together? That’s right, yet another Marvel hit. This ensemble of misanthropic superheros raked in a whopping $1.5 billion worldwide.

 

 

2011: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2

She’s a wizard, Harry.

Lucky for Warner Bros., the studio behind the Harry Potter series, the battle at Hogwarts provided enough fodder for eight fantasy films. But the latest and final installment performed the best. Released in the fall of 2011, Deathly Hallows earned $1.3 billion in ticket sales.

2010: Avatar

L to R, Sam Worthington as Jake Sully and Zo‘ Saldana as Neytiri

PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION.

The science fiction flick about a blue, humanoid species is the only outlier over the last decade—it is neither a sequel nor a reboot of an existing franchise. It was also an unequivocal success, garnering nine Academy Award nominations and grossing $2.8 billion worldwide. The sequel, of course, is coming soon. Avatar 2 is set for release in 2017.

2009: Transformers: The Revenge of the Fallen

(Left to right) Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) speaks with the Autobot® Jetfire as his cohorts Mikaela Banes (Megan Fox), Agent Simmons (John Turturro) and Leo (Ramon Rodriguez) look on in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” directed by Michael Bay.

The Michael Bay-directed sci-fi sequel was a bigger hit than the first Transformers flick, raking in $386.3 million globally. (An animated “original” version of the movie, released in the mid-80s, earned less than $6 million at the box office.)

2008: The Dark Knight

CHRISTIAN BALE stars as Batman and HEATH LEDGER stars as The Joker in Warner Bros. PicturesÕ and Legendary PicturesÕ action drama ÒThe Dark Knight,Ó distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and also starring Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman.
PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE USED SOLELY FOR ADVERTISING, PROMOTION, PUBLICITY OR REVIEWS OF THIS SPECIFIC MOTION PICTURE AND TO REMAIN THE PROPERTY OF THE STUDIO. NOT FOR SALE OR REDISTRIBUTION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Fans flocked to see actor Christian Bale reprising the role of Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman. The film, which brought in just over $1 billion in box office sales, became the second-highest-grossing superhero movie of all time. (No. 1? The Avengers.)

2007: Spider-Man 3

The third installation in the Spider-Man trilogy raked in less revenue than the previous two movies, but still managed to top all other flicks in 2007. By end of the year, worldwide ticket sales reached an impressive $890.9 million.

2006: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

Keira Knightley, Johnny Depp, Mackenzie Crook in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’

Captain Jack Sparrow, played by a swashbuckling Johnny Depp, captured audiences once again in this sequel to 2003’s The Curse of the Black Pearl. It also captured an impressive booty at the box office: $1.1. billion in worldwide ticket sales.

2005: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

The epic space opera that just keeps on giving broke several box office records with the last of three prequels, Revenge of the Sith. Despite mixed reviews, each of the three movies (and, of course, the original trilogy) was a box office success—the Sith earned creator Lucasfilm $848.8 million. When the latest in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, hits theaters this December, it will likely blow even Jurassic World out of the water.