Before a strong opening weekend for Hunger Games that seemed to confirm that studio Lionsgate has the recipe for a global franchise, Jennifer Lawrence earlier this month attended the European premiere of the film in London. While it will be a while for the four-movie series to wrap up its box office run, THR looks at the 10 biggest film franchises in terms of foreign (non-U.S.) box office, based on figures by The-Numbers.com.
Coming in at number 10 of the biggest international box office hits is Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible series, which has grossed more than $1.35 billion at theaters overseas. Global audiences enjoy American secret agent Ethan Hunt's action sequences as much as U.S. moviegoers do as was clear when Cruise was in China for a shoot for the franchise.
Audiences around the globe feel warm and fuzzy about Fox's Ice Age gang, which has brought in around $1.354 billion in box office outside the U.S. In late 2009, characters from the franchise posed with children on Sydney, Australia's Bondi Beach, which was transformed into a winter wonderland to celebrate the DVD release of Ice Age 3: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs.
'The Twilight Saga'
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 premiere in Barcelona brought out Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson - along with their rabid fan base. Spain is not alone in embracing the vampire saga, which has brought in $1.43 billion in international territories, making it number eight on the list of global film powerhouses.
Transformers has raked in around $1.6 billion in foreign box office, making it the seventh best performing film series outside the U.S. Here is Megan Fox blowing a kiss on the red carpet during the world premiere of Transformers - Revenge of the Fallen in Tokyo in 2009.
'Lord of the Rings'
Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson and his fellow winners got a hero's welcome in Wellington, New Zealand after receiving Oscar honors for Return of The King. The three movies in the series have made $1.9 billion in foreign box office, ranking them sixth among global franchises.
Shrek, Cameron Diaz, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeff Katzenberg (far left) and others had a good time at the Korean premiere of Shrek the Third in Seoul. Moviegoers enjoyed seeing green, and so has DWA. The Shrek franchise has grossed more than $2.07 billion internationally.
With about $2.3 billion in overseas box office, Star Wars comes in fourth among global movie hit series. The franchise's passionate fan base became famous for camping out in front of movie theaters, in this case in New York, to catch an early screening.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean has been a global box office juggernaut. Bounty outside the U.S. so far: more than $2.4 billion. That puts Pirates in the third place among foreign box office smash series. Here, Johnny Depp signs autographs for fans at the U.K. premiere of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest in London.
As the current 007, Daniel Craig, here at the Casino Royale premiere in Germany, has ensured that James Bond remains a bankable box office draw. The spy series has made $3.48 billion in box office receipts outside the U.S. That haul is topped only by one franchise...
The Harry Potter films have proven to be pure box office magic - in the U.S. and abroad where its receipts are estimated at more than $5.3 billion. Daniel Radcliffe can be all smiles, and so can studio Warner Bros. for having the top foreign box office franchise.
Who better to judge the best movies of all time than the people who make them? Studio chiefs, Oscar winners and TV royalty all were surveyed as THR publishes its first definitive entertainment-industry ranking of cinema's most superlative. View gallery