1:37 AM PDT 10/26/2011 by Rebecca Ford, Chris Godley
The third film in a franchise can often be a box office and critical disaster, but a few threequels -- including the recently released "Paranormal Activity 3" -- have proven that "third time's a charm." From a magical tale about a green ogre in a land far, far away to an emotional story about a group of toys whose owner is leaving them for college, these 15 films have shown that a threequel can make it to "infinity and beyond."
Who needs Megan Fox? Not the Transformers franchise. The third installment, which featured the return of Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and John Turturro, became the fourth highest-grossing film of all time.
Toy Story 3 became the king of animated films when it sauntered into theaters in 2010. It became Pixar's most successful film, as well as the highest grossing film of 2010. The emotional film, which could bring tears to even the manliest of men, was also a critical success.
The third of Disney's Johnny Depp-starring pirate flicks is currently the most expensive film every made (at about $300 million), but found lots of love overseas. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End had one of the biggest overseas openings of all time. While the threequel was at first supossed to be the final in a trilogy, a fourth film, On Stranger Tides, was released on May 2011.
Another threequel of 2007, Spider-Man 3 was the third in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. It's not only the most successful film in the series worldwide, but also Marvel's most successful film to date.
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs took the prehistoric characters into a tropical world beneath the ice. The film received a warm reception by audiences to become the the fourth highest grossing animated film of all time.
The sixth and final film in the saga, and the third in the series' chronological order, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith felt The Force at the box office. Fans can view the George Lucas creation in 3D when the series heads to theaters beginning in February 2012. Revenge of the Sith is set for a 2014 3D release.
Shrek the Third saw the friendly ogre on a mission to get Artie to become the heir to Far, Far Away. The film opened to magical numbers, joining a couple other threequels of 2007 (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Spider-Man 3) as one of the highest grossing films of the year.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was the lowest grossing of the franchise, but still ranks as the 33rd highest grossing film of all time. The film, which saw Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) in his third year of school dealing with Dementors and a new Dark Arts teacher, was also critically praised.
The Twi-hards came out in force for the third installment in the glittering vampire franchise, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Domestically, the threequel surpassed its predecessors to become the highest grossing film in the franchise.
Steven Spielberg's 1989 adventure threequel, which was co-written by executive producer George Lucas, broke box office records and, despite competition from tentpole Batman that year, went on to become the highest-grossing film worldwide in 1989.
The third of the Bourne films grossed $69.3 million in ticket sales in its first weekend of release, making it the highest August 2007 opening in the U.S. In January 2008, the film won in all three categories in which it was nominated at the Oscars.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Worldwide Gross: $433,371,112
Twelve years after the second installment, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines hit theaters and while it didn't garner as big of a box office success as its predecessor, it was still a mighty machine in numbers.
While The Matrix Revolutions didn't gross as much as its predecessor, The Matrix Reloaded, the third installment still went on the gross $427 million worldwide. Fans and critics didn't give it the rave reviews to the threequel that they did to the original, but many bought a ticket to a show to say goodbye to Neo (Keanu Reeves) and the gang.
The Amazon -- aka Diana Prince -- has been portrayed by the likes of Lynda Carter, Cathy Lee Crosby, Adrienne Palicki, Keri Russell and, most recently, Gal Gadot, who is set to star in Zack Snyder's upcoming "Batman vs. Superman." View gallery
Nearly everything about "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" represents an improvement over the first installment of Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved creation. Watch video