It’s Good Friday! You know why it’s Good Friday? Because it means that The Fate of the Furious comes out!
To be honest, I’m not on The Fast and the Furious hype train that everyone else seems to be on, including our good friend Mark Myers. I haven’t seen a single film in the series and I don’t think that I’m going to start with number 8.
For a franchise, an eighth film is hallowed ground. Few seem to reach that level, and when they do, it’s to do a crazy stunt like Take Manhattan or get kicked by Busta Rhymes. The Fast and the Furious series, however, seems to get more popular and more ridiculous as it goes, so there is legitimate expectation that this will be one of the biggest films of the year. With that, this list highlights 5 of the Most Successful Eighth Films in Franchises, as determined by US Domestic Gross. Obviously, there are probably better metrics, as I’m not even taking into account the budgets. What do you want from me, nerd? I’m not a goddamn statistician.
5. Dawn of the Planet of Apes
Domestic Box Office (2014): $208 Million
Adjusted for Inflation: $223 Million
Who knew you could tell a talking apes story in this day and age without it becoming a silly time-waster, but after two quality outputs in the franchise that dates back to the 1960s, we now know that it is possible.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes the ball from the 2011 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes and runs with it, building on the themes set up by its predecessor. Certified Fresh at 90%, Dawn is a smart story about the similarities between warring factions and the differences that exist on the same side.
4. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Domestic Box Office (2016): $330 Million
Adjusted for Inflation: $330 Million
There’s an argument to be had that this isn’t a Batman film, but a Superman film. There’s also an argument about whether or not this is the eighth film in the franchise, depending on whether you think the 1966 Batman or Batman: Mask of the Phantasm belong in the franchise list. If you accept the former but not the latter, which I did, this film is the eighth Batman in the franchise.
There’s been a lot of justified hate for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but that doesn’t mean that there was coin to be made from it. Everybody got paid, thanks to foreign markets, but the most recent dip into the Batman franchise is a far cry from the masterful work Christopher Nolan did over the course of three films. Standing at 27% on Rotten Tomatoes, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a bit of an unpleasant mess, but not even the biggest mess in the current DCEU, as Suicide Squad failed outdo this pile on the Rotten Tomatoes score.
Domestic Box Office (2016): $363 Million
Adjusted for Inflation: $365 Million
People loved Deadpool, in case you weren’t aware. They loved the irreverent humor and the unflinching violence and the cursing and the Ryan Reynolds getting pegged by a strap-on. Most people, anyway. I thought it was just okay, but to be honest ‘just okay’ is more than I can say for most the films in the X-Men franchise.
Deadpool was a surprise hit, and completely vindicated Ryan Reynolds unflinching determination to get the movie in front of audiences and critics. It stands at a Certified Fresh 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, which puts it right around the range of some of the best films in the franchise. Best of all, it allowed us to finally get the Wolverine movie we always hoped we’d get, so there’s that. Without Deadpool, there’d be no Logan, so I’ll happily allow this film to exist.
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Domestic Box Office (2011): $381 Million
Adjusted for Inflation: $415 Million
The final film of the epic Harry Potter franchise was long awaited by Potterheads all over the world. It was a little bit of a controversy back in 2011 to break up the final film into two separate movies, but that practice has become the norm afterwards, as both The Hunger Games and Twilight series soon followed suit.
By most accounts, the Harry Potter film franchise more or less got better as the actors got older, then sort of plateaued towards the end. Fans that read the books more or less found them to be faithful adaptations, and all eight films are currently fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is arguably the most celebrated adaptation in the franchise, as it currently holds a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed the most money of all.
1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Domestic Box Office (2016): $531 Million
Adjusted for Inflation: $531 Million
That’s right, the most successful eighth film in any film series is none other than 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which actually wound up #7 on my top 10 of 2016. Though, if I did my list over, it would probably fall slightly closer to #10.
I really enjoyed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, especially the last half of it. For the most part, that seems to be the consensus: the beginning is a bit of a mess, but the film is vindicated by the last act, which features some of the best battle scenes in any Star Wars film ever. It’s standing at a very solid 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and does a great job of expanding upon the Star Wars lore and universe.
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