Top 12 Women Movie Franchises - Top 5
- Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 February 2014 23:37
- Written by Edie Nugent
8. LINDA HAMILTON
TERMINATOR series: $598 Million
Linda Hamilton’s identity has become inextricably linked with that of Sarah Connor, her character in the sci-fi action classic The Terminator (1984). Hamilton played Connor as a capable young woman who quickly adapted to life on the run from Arnold Schwarzenegger in his career defining role as the terminator: a cybernetic assassin from the future. The Terminator was a surprise hit with critics and audiences alike, and went on to earn over 70 million dollars worldwide and established its writer/director James Cameron as a major force in Hollywood. Hamilton returned for the 1991 sequel Terminator 2 which found Sarah Connor transformed physically and mentally by the events of the first film. Rising to the challenge of defending herself and her son against the time-traveling terminators, Hamilton forever left her mark on the action genre and inspired generations of women to head to the gym to achieve what trainers dubbed “Linda Hamilton arms.”
7. MILLA JOVOVICH
RESIDENT EVIL: $916 million
Milla Jovovich couldn’t have imagined when she began to make a name for herself as a fashion model in the early 90’s that she’d end up as a major film star by the end of that same decade. She also likely wouldn’t have believed that her career would find her simultaneously battling zombies in the 2002 hit Resident Evil while serving as a supermodel muse to the likes of Prada and Versace. While her performance as the amnesiatic freedom fighter Alice wasn’t a hit with critics, Jovovich resonated with audiences. Loosely based on the popular CAPCOM video game series of the same name, the film went on to earn over 100 million dollars worldwide. Jovovich returned as Alice and continued to battle the evil Umbrella Corporation responsible for the zombie apocalypse for all four of the Resident Evil sequels. Rumor has it she will likely return for the sixth and final installment in the series, which her husband and director Paul W.S. Anderson began pre-production on this past fall.
6. CARRIE FISHER
STAR WARS: Episodes IV-VI) $1.8 billion
Carrie Fisher was famous before her third birthday as the daughter of film icon Debbie Reynolds and 50’s crooner Eddie Fisher. Her first big break as Princess Leia in 1977’s Star Wars managed to overshadow both of her parents and secure her place in Hollywood history. Luke and Han Solo may have rescued this self-possessed princess, but she jumped right to the front lines to defend the Rebel Alliance and help save the galaxy following the destruction of her planet by Darth Vader. Fisher’s Leia was so popular she returned for both of the film’s sequels. Fisher starred in both The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and 1983’s Return of the Jedi where she memorably took down Jabba the Hutt while looking fabulous in perhaps the most famous bikini in film history. Even thirty years later her legacy endures, and she is rumored to return as the tough-as-nails princess in J.J. Abrams’s forthcoming Star Wars Episode VII.
5. JENNIFER LAWRENCE
THE HUNGER GAMES films: $1.6 Billion
Not only is she a blockbuster queen, but Jennifer Lawrence recently received an Oscar nomination for her role in American Hustle opposite Christian Bale, becoming the youngest actress in history to receive three Oscar nominations. Whether she’s laughing off tripping over her Dior Couture gown while accepting her 2013 Oscar for Best Actress in Silver Linings Playbook or speaking out against unrealistic body expectations in Hollywood, Lawrence embodies fearlessness. Her forthright and relatable demeanor made her a natural choice to star as the freedom fighter Katniss Everdeen in the 2012 international hit The Hunger Games, based on the best-selling young adult novel by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games earned nearly 700 million dollars worldwide. Audiences also flocked to the film’s sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which has earned over 850 million dollars to date and is the number one top grossing film of 2013. It’s also the first film with a female lead to top the yearly box office since Kate WInslet won the hearts of audiences in 1997’s Titanic.
Lawrence is not done with the franchise as she will return for the two more Hunger Games series: Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2 due in 2014 and 2015 respectively. She will no doubt move up as a top female earner at the box office.
4. SCARLETT JOHANSSON
Iron Man 2: $624K
The Avengers: 1.5 billion
Scarlett Johansson takes the crown as the Marvel queen with three Marvel films under her size 0 belt and more to come.
When Scarlett Johansson signed on to portray Russian spy Natasha Romanoff in Iron Man 2 opposite Robert Downey Jr., the comic book fan community went wild. Johansson brought considerable star power to the film but fans remained unconvinced that Johansson, known more for character pieces such as The Girl With The Pearl Earring and Woody Allen’s Match Point, could pull off the role of the charismatic and athletic Black Widow. An antagonist and later ally of Iron Man, the Black Widow returned in the massive summer hit The Avengers from writer/director Joss Whedon. Johansson proved her detractors wrong by throwing herself into the role quite literally-performing her own stunts and wirework. With the massive success of The Avengers, the Marvel series of films set box office records and looks to continue the trend with Johansson starring in Captain America: The Winter Soldier opening April 4th and Avengers: Age of Ultron in 2015.
3. KRISTEN STEWART
TWILIGHT films: $3.3 Billion
By the time Kristen Stewart has become internationally known for her performance as Bella Swan, the internationally best-selling Twilight series of books had become a full-fledged phenomenon. An entire generation of teenagers related the to struggles of Bella and her doomed romance with the handsome vampire Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson who would become Stewart’s real-life boyfriend. The success of Twilight, and the sequels The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse made Stewart a star and her vulnerable performance seemed rooted in the young actress’s own shy personality. Stewart was understandably overwhelmed by her overnight success, with the final sequels Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Breaking Dawn Part 2, the Twilight series of films has generated over a billion dollars in box office dollars in a four year period.
2. CAMERON DIAZ:
CHARLIE’S ANGELS movies: $523 million
SHREK films: $3.0 billion
Cameron Diaz spun onto the big screen, quite literally, in her first film appearance as Jim Carrey’s dream girl in The Mask (1994). The title role in the 1997 smash-hit There’s Something About Mary cemented her place in Hollywood and led her to be cast as Natalie Cook opposite Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels (2000), a modern update of the classic 70’s television series.
The next year, Diaz voiced Princess Fiona in the record setting animated film Shrek which became the fourth highest grossing film of 2001, earning almost half a billion dollars worldwide. In 2003 Diaz returned to her role as P.I. Natalie in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and followed that with the incredible success of three more Shrek movies, which has gone on to become a three billion dollar empire.
1. ZOE SALDANA
STAR TREK: $853 million
AVATAR: $2.8 billion
Zoe Saldana’s big break came with a starring role as the headstrong pirate Anamaria opposite Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003). Her strength and presence onscreen led to her two biggest roles to date as a part of the two biggest franchises of the last ten years: playing the beloved Uhura in J.J. Abrams’s 2009 reboot Star Trek and Neytiri in James Cameron’s 2009 phenomenon Avatar. Saldana was suddenly catapulted to stardom as both performances proved to be a hit with audiences and critics alike.
Saldana returned as Uhura in the 2013 hit Star Trek: Into Darkness, which together with Star Trek, has earned over $850 million as a franchise worldwide. Saldana has also signed on to all three planned sequels to the record setting Avatar, which became the number one highest grossing film in history.
And she isn’t done yet with a key role in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy as Gamora. With three huge blockbuster franchises under her name, she may even surpass the top male earner at the box office (Tom Hanks).