It may seem hard to believe at first, but Pokemon is the highest grossing franchise of all-time, destroying Marvel and Star Wars. The franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, and is focused on fictional creatures called Pokémon, which humans, known as Pokémon Trainers, catch and train to battle each other for sport. It started as a pair of video games for the Nintendo Game Boy and has gone on to become the second best-selling video game franchise in history with Mario at number one for that list. However, Pokémon dominates the overall franchise record.
It's estimated that the Pokémon franchise has earned $59.1 billion since 1995. That total includes everything from cartoons, game sales, and anything with the Pokémon name. Additionally, the enormous success of the iOS Pokémon Go game has raised the awareness level up even higher. Putting those numbers in perspective shows that the Star Wars franchise, which comes in second on the all-time highest grossing franchises, is at $42.9 billion. That number is nothing to scoff at, but one would have imagined that the number would have been higher due to the nearly 20-year head start.
Coming in third place is the Hello Kitty franchise, which has earned an estimated $41 billion and puts it directly behind Star Wars. From there, the numbers take a pretty big dive for number 4. The Harry Potter franchise is at number 4 with an estimated $26.4 billion, while Nintendo's Mario is right behind that at $26.2 billion. At number 6 is the Batman franchise at $23.8 billion and then the Marvel Cinematic Universe is at $21.7 million, which is pretty remarkable since it just started in 2008.
The MCU still has a lot of projects on the way and the franchise will definitely be climbing the ranks over the next handful of years. The same can be said about Star Wars, but Pokémon is an unstoppable worldwide phenomenon that is also relatively young when compared to Hello Kitty, Batman, and Star Wars. Rounding out the top ten is the Mickey and Friends franchise with $21.1 billion, James Bond with $19.9 billion, and The Lord of the Rings franchise at $19.8 billion.
Pokémon fans have the Detective Pikachu movie to look forward to next. The movie is based off of the wildly successful video game of the same name, even with mixed reviews from critics and fans. In 2016, it was announced that Legendary Entertainment had acquired the rights to make a live-action film. Detective Pikachu stars Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe, and Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Detective Pikachu. Filming began in London in January 2018 and the project is set to be released on May 10th, 2019. While we wait for Detective Pikachu to come out and earn the Pokémon franchise more cash, you can check out the list of the highest grossing franchises at Wikipedia.