It’s about time we hashed this out. “Genre” of course being Sci Fi/Fantasy or otherwise otherworldly.
Are you kidding?
It’s got to be Marvel.
Iron Man (2008)
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Doctor Strange (2016)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
With these coming in the next year plus:
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Black Panther (2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
Captain Marvel (2019)
Plus the animated movies, the TV shows, etc.
Gotta go with Marvel. I’d put Harry Potter second, as the later films were good. Star Wars gets marred by the prequels. Fast and Furious movies are fun, but dumb.
“Greatest” is a bit vague. That could mean most successful (financially or critically) and/or longest running and/or most entries. If the last, I believe the answer is…
But it is possible some other film series emanating from some other country has been going on longer, just not on these shores.
1954 Godzilla (Godzilla, King of The Monsters)
1955 Godzilla Raids Again
1962 King Kong vs. Godzilla
1964 Mothra vs. Godzilla
1964 Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster
1965 Invasion of Astro-Monster (Godzilla vs. Monster Zero)
1966 Ebirah, Horror of the Deep (Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster)
1967 Son of Godzilla
1968 Destroy All Monsters
1969 All Monsters Attack (Godzilla’s Revenge)
1971 Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster)
1972 Godzilla vs. Gigan
1973 Godzilla vs. Megalon
1974 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla
1975 Terror of Mechagodzilla
1984 The Return of Godzilla (Godzilla 1985)
1989 Godzilla vs. Biollante
1991 Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah
1992 Godzilla vs. Mothra (Godzilla & Mothra: The Battle for Earth)
1993 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II
1994 Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla
1995 Godzilla vs. Destoroyah
1999 Godzilla 2000: Millennium (Godzilla 2000)
2000 Godzilla vs. Megaguirus
2001 Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack
2002 Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla
2003 Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.
2004 Godzilla: Final Wars
2007 Always: Sunset on Third Street 2
2016 Godzilla Resurgence (Shin Godzilla)
And those are just the Japanese ones.
Lord of the Rings followed by Star Trek. I’ll give Marvel third if it counts, I would lean towards it not being Sci-Fi/Fantasy though.
I think Doctor Who should be on the list but not a big deal as I would place it high on the list.
Star Wars has so many terrible entries it should be last.
Should Indiana Jones count? I think it deserves to be on the list more than comic book franchises.
Everything in superhero comics is either pseudo-science or magic. It’s about as SciFi/Fantasy as it gets.
But its superhero comics, it has always been classified separate from Science Fiction/Fantasy. Comics is its own genre. Otherwise why can’t we count biblical stories as Science Fiction/Fantasy?
Gotta go with Star Wars. The movies aren’t the greatest ever, but the franchise has also spawned best-selling books, computer games and TV shows, among other things.
Not really sure what metric of greatness is used here, but GeGeGe no Kitarō is a well-regarded horror comic that’s been going strong since the 1960s (if you can really pin it there).
How do Mills & Boon and romance compare? In literature, of course.
As for films, how about James Bond?
So, I didn’t understand the question, when I answered, to be specifically about the fantasy/Sci-Fi genre and I had the James Bond movies in mind. But I guess Moonraker isn’t enough to qualify for the category.
Otherwise I’d have to go with Star Wars for sheer cultural impact, or Marvel for sheer size.
Are we talking film? Are we talking books? Are we talking something combined?
I dislike questions that leave so much unstated you can’t answer them.
The invisible car, though.
Books: Lord of the Rings
Kid Lit: Harry Potter
Soundtrack: Star Wars
Mini skirts: Star Trek
Are there non-genre franchises?
One measure of greatness of a story “universe” in my mind is how many fresh stories it could generate. Lord of the Ring has a story that ends*. Star Wars has one story that it tells over and over again. Harry Potter has a story that ends. Godzilla has variations on one story that it tells over and over again. Star Trek, on the other hand, has already shown a wide variety of kinds of stories, some pretty dark, some light-hearted, along with a wide variety of characters. Get some great writers and a willing studio, and it could go on forever, making money every time.
I hate comic book movies, so I’m not even considering those.
*Yes, you could spend time on side stories on such characters as Beorn or Tom Bombadil, or material from the Silmarilion about the First or Second ages, but those aren’t really commercial.
“Comics” is a medium, not a genre.
The way the OP is describing it, I guess Clint Eastwood doing sequel after sequel after sequel after sequel as Harry Callahan of the SFPD would count: he never has to deal with aliens or wizards or alien wizards; he only ever faces mundane criminals, and he responds with little more than detective work and pistol marksmanship; and hundreds of millions of dollars obligingly rolled in.
I picked Star Wars because it seems to have the most spin-offs (books, toys, games, etc) and the largest following. I may actually be underestimating the others on offer, but that’s my instinct.