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MFF Special: Almost Everything You Need to Know About Horror Franchises, Sequels and Remakes

October 21, 2015

Hello all. Mark here.

Everybody has their own personal favorite franchise/sequel/remake that cannot be gauged by any statistic. However, if you are a fan of horror movies and their evolution you will appreciate knowing the statistics of a film series that you love. The Movies, Films and Flix Metrics system (MFFM) can’t explain why the dog from The Hills Have Eyes 2 was having flashbacks or how Jason was able to punch someone’s head clean off their shoulders in Jason Takes Manhattan.  However,  it can inform you on how your favorite horror franchises held up with all its bumps  (Halloween: Resurrection), bruises (The Final Destination) and decapitating head punches. This graph sums up Jason’s head punching antics perfectly.

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The point of the  Movies, Films and Flix Metrics is to give you horror statistics. I wanted to know which horror franchises/remakes/sequels were the best for four reasons

  1. I wanted to know which horror franchises held up the best throughout their theatrical runs.
  2. I wanted to know if there are any horror sequels that are statistically better than the originals.
  3. I wanted to know which remakes were actually good.
  4. I wanted to know what straight to DVD franchises had the best critical/audience ratings.

I pulled together 300+ films, collected all the box office/audience/critical data I could find and  handed it off to the MFF data wrangler Jeremy. In the end we have a massive data set to play around with and give the world more lists. Here is a brief(ish) explanation from Jeremy about the MFFM:

The MFF crew developed the MFFM composite metric as a way to consolidate available information on movie performance (e.g., movie critics’ review scores, box office returns) into a single, easy-to-understand score.  The score can be used to objectively compare movies or movie franchises. Version 1.0 of the MFFM incorporates the following performance data: IMDB ratings, Rotten Tomatoes (RT) Critic’s Ratings, RT User Ratings, an adjusted version of Amazon user reviews, and a MFF-developed rating to describe return-on-investment (profits less budget).  To get the MFFM for a given movie, we sum the individual scores and divide by the number of non-null values (i.e., missing scores don’t negatively affect the score).  By aggregating MFFM scores for a group of movies, we can get an MFFM value for an entire movie franchise (or for a given director, actor, year, etc.).

Before I get into the MFFM lists I wanted to give you some information on the top rated horror remakes, sequels and franchises. These numbers haven’t been tampered with I just want people to know the facts when it comes to the highest rated franchises, sequels and remakes. I wanted to know four things.

  1. The top 10 critically rated  franchises, sequels and remakes.
  2. The top 10 audience rated franchises, sequels and remakes.
  3. The 10 highest box office averages for franchises and the highest grossing remakes/sequels.
  4. The 10 best ROI averages for franchises and highest ROI for remakes/sequels.

Here are the spreadsheets for the horror franchises, sequels and remakes.  I love the differences between the critic/audience ratings (audiences love the Underworld, Resident Evil and Final Destination series) and I think it has some interesting insight into the divide between critics and audiences.

Quick note: I am just sharing the information and in no way consider the Resident Evil series to be one of the best horror franchises.

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If you are interested in the average franchise box office and critical/audience ratings from the first film to the third remake you will love the charts below! Also, if you want to know which franchises were used in the data set here they are.

Quick note: The third remake is Texas Chainsaw 3D and the Vs. movies are AVP, AVPR and Jason vs. Freddy


Here are the top horror franchises, sequels and remakes according to the MFFM!

If you want to learn more click on the lists  and you will find information on the gathering/analyzing of all the data. For all the data just think Average = (IMDb user score, RT critic score, RT audience score, weighted Amazon score, domestic ROI rank value).

Top 10 Franchises (statistically speaking)

10. Halloween (50.6)

9. Saw (52)

8. Nightmare on Elm Street (52.4)

7. The Omen (52.4)

6. Psycho (54.1)

5. Scream (54.5)

4. Paranormal Activity (54.9)

3. Manhunter/Silence of the Lambs (55.2)

2. Night of the Living Dead (56.4)

And the most groovy franchise is!

  1. Evil Dead (64.2) 


The Evil Dead franchise has the highest critic (81.5)/audience (77.25) scores and it the only horror series to almost double its box office with each outing.  Evil Dead 2  had a better critical score than Evil Dead (very rare) and the Evil Dead remake made the top 10 remakes list. Also,  Army of Darkness has the third highest critical score (70) of any third horror film (Here are the top 10 critically rated third films).

Things I’ve learned: Pretty much every one was happy with Evil Dead winning. I did have one person saying he refused to look at the data because there is no way anything is better than Friday the 13th. I liked his candor.


Top 15 Sequels (statistically speaking) – I included 15 because .74 points separated 10-15

Sidenote: I am a huge fan of the Universal monster films but there is no reliable domestic box office data so I couldn’t include them in the metrics. If these lists focused only on critical/audience reception Bride of Frankenstein and Son of Frankenstein would’ve made the top five.

15. Army of Darkness (56.13)

14. Purge: Anarchy: (56.28)

13. Red Dragon (56.42)

12. The Devil’s Rejects (56.73)

11. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (56. 78)

10. Saw 2 (56.87)

9. Paranormal Activity 2 (57.36)

8. Day of the Dead (58.34)

7. Paranormal Activity 3 (58.985)

6. Scream 2 (59.945) – My favorite horror sequel. 

5. Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (64.146)

4. Evil Dead 2 (70.6) – Higher MFFM score than Evil Dead (74.03)

3. Dawn of the Dead (74.239)

And the most acid blooded and Chianti soaked sequel (s) is (are)!

There are two films because there are a lot of people who do not consider Silence of the Lambs to be a sequel .

  1. Silence of the Lambs (78.834) and Aliens (74.356). If you consider Silence to be a sequel it wins. If not,  Aliens wins it all!



Silence of the Lambs (78.8)  had a massive MFFM jump from Manhunter (59.6) and it made $252,000,000 domestically. It was one point behind Aliens critic/audience score but its massive ROI (12.3) won the day. Silence and Aliens are the only two sequels to have a higher MFFM than their predecessors. Nine of the 15 films were number two in the franchises which is an interesting fact. In case you were wondering here are the top 10 critic/audience/MFFM rated number two films.

I was very happy to see Wes Craven’s New Nightmare showing up in the MFFM list. Aside from Red Dragon (4th film in series. Here are the top 10 critically rated fourth films), New Nightmare is the latest (7th) of the franchise installments to make the list.

Things I’ve learned: Silence of the Lambs is not a sequel but it is a sequel. Many people say it isn’t. Many people say it is. Also, Aliens is apparently an action sequel to a horror movie (so says the internet).


Top 10 Remakes (statistically speaking)

I was able to find Metacritic scores for all the remakes (except Invasion of the Body Snatchers) so I included them into the formula.

10. The Crazies (54)

9. Fright Night (54.2)

8. Evil Dead (54.6)

7. The Ring (54.9)

6. Dawn of the Dead (60)

5. Let Me In (64.3)

4. Cape Fear (65.455)

3. The Thing (68.685)

2. The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (70)

And the most arm snapping remake is…..

  1. The Fly (70.156)

The Fly


The rankings between The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Fly closely resemble the Silence of the Lambs/Aliens battle. The Thing had a higher critic/audience score but The Fly’s domestic box office success ($80,456,545) and Metacritic/RT Critic/Audience score won the day.

Things I’ve learned: Statistics or no statistics The Thing is way better than anything ever made.


Top 10 Theatrical/Straight to DVD Franchises

Some of these films were theatrically released  but they didn’t qualify for the main lists because they didn’t have four theatrical releases. We had to depend on audience/critical scores for these franchises because box office information wasn’t available.

10. Pumpkin Head 44.3

9.  Return of the Living Dead 46.7

8. Candyman 47.9

7. Feast 47.9

6. Joy Ride 48.9

5. Night of the Demons 49

4. Hatchet 49

3. Tremors 52.4

2. Cube 52.7

And the most critically/audience beloved STDVD horor franchise is…..

  1. Phantasm 54.9



Phantasm is the bomb. I love that series.

What I’ve learned: Apparently Wrong Turn 2 (72) has a better critical rating than Wrong Turn (41).

There you have it! Hopefully, these statistics have enlightened you and provided you something to debate about as Halloween nears!

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