5 Movie Franchises with a Killer Fifth Film

Kim Taylor-Foster

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom marks the fifth film in the Jurassic franchise. Not many film concepts have historically made it to a fifth film, with waning interest and falling box office receipts sealing their fates. But occasionally, a series of films comes along with enough staying power and appeal to warrant five — or more — films. Here are five times that’s happened — and been successful.

James Bond

James Bond is a franchise that will never die. Based on Ian Fleming’s espionage novel, the first Albert R. Broccoli-produced screen adaptation landed in 1962. That film was Dr. No, and starred Sean Connery in the lead role as the suave womanizing spy, James Bond. Connery would go on the reprise the role in six more films.

The fifth, You Only Live Twice, arrived on screens in 1967 and was part-Cold War thriller and part-space adventure with kung fu elements thrown in. It was the first time we saw SPECTRE foe Blofeld in the flesh — the antagonist in the film and the mastermind behind a plot involving the disappearance of American and Soviet spacecraft in a bid to spark war between the superpowers.

Thanks to a Roald Dahl-penned screenplay, You Only Live Twice was well received and performed strong at the box office.

Dirty Harry

A charismatic and engaging main character that’s central to a franchise can be a good gauge of the chances of sequels landing. Just as James Bond himself is the key to the success of Ian Fleming’s spy series, with endless exciting espionage adventures at the ready to build around him, so “Dirty” Harry Callahan is the element that made the Clint Eastwood cop franchise keep ticking. At least, until Eastwood himself decided to bow out for fear of his age turning Harry into a parody.

The Dead Pool was the fifth and final entry in the series. About a serial killer who manipulates a “dead pool” game featuring a list of named celebrities in order of when they might die, it was Eastwood’s last chance to coin some enduring catchphrases, including “You’re out of bullets. And you know what that means… you’re s–t outta luck.” The film also featured Jim Carrey in an early dramatic role, as well as Liam Neeson. Released in 1988, people are still keen to see another Dirty Harry sequel.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe

The fifth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, following Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger tells the origin story of Captain America, as Chris Evans’s scrawny Steve Rogers goes from military reject to ultimate supersoldier after undergoing a special procedure.

It introduces the Tesseract to the franchise, which would go on to become integral to future films. Most notably, in the most recent, critically appreciated team-up movie Avengers: Infinity War, in which ultimate villain Thanos uses it to enact his deadly plan of wiping out half the universe. Also noteworthy is the presence of Red Skull – a fan favourite villain who would also go on to make a spectacular return in Infinity War a full seven years later. Evans proved a hit in the role, while director Joe Johnstone worked wonders with the period setting.

The Fast and the Furious

The Fast and the Furious franchise is a juggernaut. Beloved by moviegoing petrolheads everywhere, 2017 saw the release of its 8th installment. Another two films have been announced, as well as a spin-off titled Hobbs and Shaw due for release in July 2019. It has even spawned an ambitious live show complete with spectacular real-life stunts, a cast of actors and an all-new story.

The franchise is one of the highest-grossing of all time. Fast Five marks the studio’s first big departure from its street racing blueprint, shifting gears to make the fourth sequel a heist movie. It broke records on its release and became the highest earner of the entire five-movie franchise. It blended comedy with high-octane action to thrill audiences and critics alike. The film did, however, come under fire for its portrayal of women and stereotypical depiction of Rio de Janeiro as a destination plagued by drug trafficking and corruption — as well as its 130-minute running time.

Harry Potter

If you love Harry Potter, there’s probably not a weak spot in the series for you. It helps that there’s a certain series of bestselling books to plunder from, of course. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix marks the franchise’s fifth installment and, again, critics and audiences loved it. It even picked up two BAFTA nominations. The film memorably features Helen Bonham Carter’s Bellatrix Lestrange.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.