Best Actors Whove Launched 10 Hit Franchises in the Entertainment Industry by 2023


Best Actors Whove Launched 10 Hit Franchises in the Entertainment Industry by 2023

Many Hollywood stars have the ultimate dream of joining a blockbuster sensation. It’s no wonder when you listen to them share their fears of being out of work. Being part of a sensation means steady employment for years, often with hefty paychecks. And for movie studios, these sensations are a golden opportunity to rake in loads of cash worldwide. That’s why the majority of today’s big studio films are based on beloved stories.

But there are some actors who have struck gold. They’ve managed to launch not just one, but multiple sensations — a truly impressive achievement. Through a combination of luck and smart business choices, they have soared to success. A handful of these stars can even claim to be part of four or five sensational franchises. Every time they return to these familiar worlds, audiences can’t help but be filled with anticipation and joy.

1. Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford has solidified himself as the original franchise guy, and it’s safe to say that he played a significant role in Hollywood’s obsession with franchises. It all began with his iconic portrayal of Han Solo in the 1977 hit Star Wars. The immense success of this movie paved the way for two immediate sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, as well as three prequels and three more sequels, including The Force Awakens which marked the return of Han Solo.

In addition to his Star Wars journey, Ford’s collaboration with George Lucas continued with the immensely popular Indiana Jones franchise. Raiders of the Lost Ark, released in 1981, became a major blockbuster and led to four more thrilling installments featuring Ford as the beloved archaeologist. These collaborations with Lucas proved to be a stroke of luck that every actor dreams of.

Ford’s ability to choose audience-pleasing material has been a driving force behind his extensive involvement in franchises throughout his entire career. He took over the role of Jack Ryan from Alec Baldwin and starred in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, both of which captivated audiences. Even his cult favorite, Blade Runner, released in 1982, received a “legacy sequel” in 2017 with Blade Runner 2049, adding yet another successful franchise to Ford’s repertoire.

Ford’s talent lies in his ability to select characters that showcase his strengths as an actor, and audiences eagerly return for more of his performances.

2. Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves is a versatile actor who has dabbled in a wide range of film genres. One of his early breakthroughs came in 1989 with the comedy film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. The movie follows the hilarious journey of two lovable doofuses as they travel through time, encountering famous historical figures along the way. Surprisingly, the film was a huge success which led to two more installments, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and Bill & Ted Face the Music. In the latest installment, the characters have grown up and now have teenage daughters who resemble their younger selves.

Reeves also made a notable mark in the sci-fi genre with the groundbreaking 1999 film The Matrix. The movie’s profound ideas paved the way for sequels such as The Matrix Unloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, and the upcoming release The Matrix Resurrections. These sequels delved deeper into the mind-bending mix of philosophy and technology that made the original film so captivating.

One cannot forget the highly successful John Wick franchise, which has become a dominant force in recent years. In each of the four films, Reeves takes on the role of the ruthless titular character, pushing the boundaries of outrageous action while expanding the criminal underworld in which he exists. Part of the franchise’s appeal is the fact that Reeves performs the majority of his own on-screen fighting and stunts, adding an authenticity that resonates with audiences.

3. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger had a smashing start to his career as he landed his first leading role in a major studio film, Conan the Barbarian, released in 1982. This movie did so well that a sequel, Conan the Destroyer, hit the screens just two years later. But that wasn’t the only big thing that happened to him in 1984. That year, he also snagged the lead role in James Cameron’s The Terminator.

To everyone’s surprise, The Terminator became a massive hit at the box office, leading to a sequel in 1991 called Terminator 2: Judgment Day. This film was a certified blockbuster and was hailed by many as the ultimate modern action flick of its time. Schwarzenegger continued his Terminator journey by appearing in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, Terminator Genysis in 2015, and Terminator: Dark Fate in 2019.

Later in his career, after experiencing a few notable disappointments, Schwarzenegger decided to have some fun and shake things up by teaming up with his old pals, including Sylvester Stallone, in the Expendables movies. What’s particularly remarkable about these franchises is that they were all tailor-made for Schwarzenegger. No one else had the muscular prowess to embody Conan, his imposing physique added to the Terminator’s intimidating presence, and The Expendables was specifically designed to showcase his legendary status as an action star.

4. Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy
Launching a comedy franchise is no easy feat when compared to action, sci-fi, or horror franchises. These genres naturally lend themselves to sequels, as heroes can always embark on new adventures and villains can always find new victims. However, comedy films often lack that quality. Despite this challenge, Eddie Murphy has managed to successfully launch not just one, but several comedy franchises.

Beverly Hills Cop stands out as Murphy’s most prominent franchise, as it catapulted him to mega-superstardom. Audiences fell in love with the character of Detroit cop Axel Foley, leading to the creation of Beverly Hills Cop II and Beverly Hills Cop III. As of now, a fourth installment is in the works. In addition to this series, Murphy also starred in the action comedies 48 HRS. and its sequel Another 48 HRS., alongside Nick Nolte.

However, Murphy’s other franchises take on a more family-friendly tone. He lent his voice to the beloved character of Donkey in all four Shrek movies. Additionally, he portrayed the endearing Sherman Klump in the two Nutty Professor films and communicated with animals in the two Doctor Dolittle flicks. It is Murphy’s remarkable ability to resonate with both adults and children, through entirely different types of content, that has contributed significantly to his enduring popularity over the years.

5. Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone has successfully transformed his passion projects into two incredibly beloved franchises. Back in the late ’70s, he not only wrote but also starred in Rocky, a film about a rising boxer. Surprisingly, it became a massive hit at the box office and even won the prestigious Oscar for Best Picture, beating out heavyweight contenders like Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, and Network. Stallone’s dedication to the character led to five direct sequels and two appearances in the Creed spin-off series.

In 1982, Stallone took on the role of troubled veteran John Rambo in First Blood. Audiences were captivated by the way the movie tackled the serious issues faced by veterans, which paved the way for the iconic Rambo: First Blood Part II in 1985. This film portrayed Rambo as a hero on a mission to rescue prisoners of war. However, as the franchise progressed, it became more focused on graphic violence rather than storytelling. This was evident in the release of Rambo III in 1988, the rebooted Rambo in 2008, and the most recent installment, Rambo: Last Blood in 2019.

Aside from his own franchises, Stallone has also achieved success by joining forces with other legendary action heroes. He has collaborated with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford in the Expendables franchise, which currently boasts four successful films.

6. Sigourney Weaver

Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley was the lone survivor of the Nostromo in Ridley Scott’s Alien, which allowed her to continue on in the subsequent sequels. Many consider James Cameron’s Aliens to be just as good, if not better, than the original. However, David Fincher’s Alien 3 is often seen as an ambitious failure, while Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Alien: Resurrection is considered a complete mess. Nevertheless, Weaver’s presence has remained strong and steady throughout all of them.

In her other franchises, Weaver takes on supporting roles. In Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, she plays the love interest to Bill Murray, although at one point her character transforms into a demon dog. She reprised her role as Dana in a mid-credits scene of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Remarkably, Weaver has portrayed two entirely different characters in the Avatar franchise. She was human Grace Augustine in the original film and Na’vi Kiri in The Way of Water. Regardless of the genre, whether it be comedy, action, or science-fiction, Weaver’s immense talent adds a human touch to all the extraordinary events.

7. Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson, known for his serious dramatic roles in films like The Mission and Schindler’s List, might not have seemed like the typical franchise actor. However, his powerful onscreen presence caught the attention of George Lucas, who cast him as Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn in the Star Wars prequels, marking his first foray into the world of franchises. Another big break came in 2005 when Christopher Nolan chose him to portray Ducard, later revealed as the villainous Ra’s Al Ghul, in his Dark Knight Trilogy.

In 2008, Neeson’s personal franchise took off with the release of the action-packed film Taken, which quickly became a massive success. This led to the creation of two sequels, as well as a series of similar movies where he plays a lone hero taking down criminals, murderers, and psychopaths. The Taken series had a significant impact on the trajectory of his career, propelling him into the realm of action films.

Not to be forgotten is Neeson’s notable voice work as the majestic lion Aslan in the Narnia trilogy, adding to his impressive list of franchises. In total, he has an impressive four franchises under his belt.

8. Zoe Saldaña

Zoe Saldaña
Zoe Saldaña is undeniably a star in her own right, but she has carved out a unique niche for herself. Rather than always taking the lead, she often opts to be part of ensembles. This choice has proven to be fruitful, as she has become a beloved figure in two popular franchises. Disguised under green makeup, she brings the character of Gamora to life in all three volumes of the Guardians of the Galaxy series. Additionally, she has made appearances in other Marvel Cinematic Universe films like Avengers: Infinity War. Staying in the realm of outer space, Saldaña has also taken on the iconic role of Uhura in three Star Trek movies.

While it may be difficult to recognize her in her green Gamora look, it becomes even more challenging to spot her when she transforms into a tall, blue character in the Avatar films. Through the magic of motion capture, Saldaña portrays Neytiri in James Cameron’s epic movies, which happen to be the first and third highest-grossing films worldwide. Remarkably, Cameron has plans for three more installments in this incredible saga, ensuring that Saldaña will continue to bask in the glory of her franchise fame well into the 2030s.

9. Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt is a versatile actor who has found success in both live-action and animation. One of his most famous roles is Peter Quill, also known as Star-Lord, in the Guardians of the Galaxy series. His comedic timing in these films has been a hit with audiences, contributing to their strong response.

Pratt has also played a prominent role in the Jurassic World franchise as Owen Grady, the guy who managed to tame a dinosaur named Blue. While not all fans were satisfied with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World: Dominion, both films still made a significant amount of money.

In terms of animation, Pratt voiced the character Emmet Brickowski in The LEGO Movie and its sequel. Initially, many doubted that a movie based on LEGO could be successful, but Pratt’s charming portrayal of Emmet helped prove the skeptics wrong.

10. Jason Statham

Jason Statham
Jason Statham is a force to be reckoned with in the movie franchise world, having appeared in an impressive five of them. As an action star, he has a natural talent for gravitating towards films that naturally lend themselves to sequels. His tough and no-nonsense persona shines through in movies like the Crank series and the Transporter trilogy, where he effortlessly portrays a character who can take down any criminal that crosses his path. And now, in the upcoming sequel to The Meg, Statham is set to take on gigantic sharks, adding another thrilling chapter to his already impressive resume.

But Statham isn’t just about hogging the spotlight; he’s more than willing to share the stage with others. In the Fast & Furious franchise, he brings his own brand of machismo as Deckard Shaw, adding an extra dose of testosterone to a series that’s already overflowing with it. Moreover, Statham has joined forces with action legends like Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, and more in the ongoing Expendables saga. He understands that action films have always been a hit at the box office, and he’s smart enough to know that he can sustain a long and successful career by sticking to what he does best.

All in all, Jason Statham’s ability to dominate the franchise landscape, while also collaborating with other action powerhouses, is a testament to his enduring popularity and his knack for choosing projects that resonate with audiences.

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