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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A media franchise is an intellectual property involving the characters, setting and trademarks of an original work of media (usually a work of fiction), such as a film, a work of literature, a television program or a video game. Generally, a whole series is made in a particular medium, along with merchandising and endorsements. Multiple sequels are often planned well in advance, and (in the case of motion pictures) actors and directors often sign multi-film deals to ensure their participation.

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Known media franchises

Some media franchises are accidental, such as the Ma and Pa Kettle series of films (the title characters of which broke out of the 1947 film The Egg and I), and some are planned, such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The most profitable film franchises include Harry Potter, Star Wars, James Bond, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lord of the Rings.

Long-running film franchises were common in the studio era, when Hollywood studios had actors and directors under long-term contracts. Examples include Andy Hardy, Ma and Pa Kettle, Bulldog Drummond, Superman, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes. The longest-running modern film franchises include James Bond, Godzilla, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Batman and Star Trek. In such cases, even lead actors are often replaced as they age. They either lose interest, or their characters are killed.

Development to other forms

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Fiction

Media franchises tend to cross over from their original media to other forms. Literary franchises are often transported to film, such as Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, and other popular detectives, as well as Superman, Spider-Man, and other popular comic book superheroes. Television and film franchises are often expanded upon in novels, particularly those in the fantasy and science fiction genres, such as Star Trek, Doctor Who and Star Wars. Similarly, fantasy, science fiction films and television shows are frequently adapted into an animated television series or a video game, or both.

Non-fiction

Non-fiction literary franchises include the ...For Dummies and The Complete Idiot's Guide to... reference books. An enduring and extensive example of a media franchise is Playboy Enterprises, which began expanding well beyond its successful magazine, Playboy, within a few years after its first publication, into such enterprises as a modeling agency, several television shows (Playboy's Penthouse, in 1959), its own television channel. 25 years later, Playboy released private clubs and restaurants, movie theaters, a radio show, direct to video films, music and book publishing (including original works in addition to its anthologies of cartoons, photographs, recipes, advice, articles or fiction that had originally appeared in the magazine), footwear, clothing of every kind, jewelry, housewares (lamps, clocks, bedding, glassware), guitars and gambling, playing cards, pinball machines and pet accessories, billiard balls, bedroom appurtenances, enhancements, plus countless other items of merchandise.

See also

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