Nothing gives you the right dose of fright and adrenaline quite like a good zombie movie. Sure, while the typical haunted mansions and vengeful spirits offer their own flavor of gloom, there’s something about zombies that give you the intense feelings of breathlessness and panic.
From the petrifying classic Resident Evil to the chaotic World War Z, there is a long and impressive list of must-watch zombie media franchises that have made their share in imparting fear and terror in the minds of many. However, which among these top tiers do you think achieved the greatest success?
To help you determine the answer to that, here is a countdown of the top-grossing zombie franchises that are sure to give you the scream you’re aching for. Continue reading to see what must-watch movies made our list.
Gross earnings: $102,391,540
There’s not a zombie movie quite like Zombieland. Whether you’re searching for that typical rush of terror associated with supernatural films or simply looking for a unique dose of laughter, this post-apocalyptic zombie comedy film is sure to give you exactly what you’re searching for.
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin, Zombieland will take you into a world where zombies roam the Earth, Bill Murray cosplays as a living dead, and the remaining human species rely on their own wits to survive, find companions, fall in love, and go for a twinkies-hunt.
For its opening weekend, the film had already scored a whopping $24.7 million in the U.S. alone, snowballing into a worldwide total gross of $102,391,540.
9. Resident Evil
Gross earnings: $102,984,862
Surely, when it comes to the topic of zombies, the title “Resident Evil” will never cease to become part of the discussion. Serving as the movie adaptation of the popular Capcom survival video game series of the same name, the film promises the usual ingredients that come with a typical zombie film masterpiece: a badass lead, a swarm of flesh-hungry undead, and a thrilling exploit towards uncovering the mystery behind the supernatural.
During its opening weekend, Resident Evil managed to secure $17,707,106 in the U.S. alone, which soon increased to become $102,984,862 for its overall worldwide gross earnings.
Gross earnings: $107,139,399
Topping Resident Evil by just over five million is none other than the 2012 animated comedy horror film ParaNorman. Carrying a global revenue of $107,139,399 up its sleeves, the film is the first and only cartoon zombie flick that made it into the top-grossing zombie media franchises of all time.
Following the story of Norman, a seemingly normal kid with a unique ability to talk to ghosts, the film interestingly blends elements of horror, mystery, friendship, comedy, and acceptance together. Complete with spooky visuals, curses and prophecies, as well as a gang of misfits trying to save the town from the supernatural, ParaNorman is one of the top modern zombie flicks that is sure to give you a thrilling yet pleasant experience.
7. Warm Bodies
Gross earnings: $116,980,662
If there’s an Edward and Bella for the vampire-human realm, then there’s R and Julie in the zombie world. Based on a young adult novel of the same name, Warm Bodies focuses on the story of an introspective zombie who fell in love with a human and gradually regains part of his humanity bit by bit.
Complete with action, thrill, charm, and some tenderness, Warm Bodies explores the power of human connection and how love can make us all feel human again. During its opening weekend, the film already managed to score $20,353,967 in the U.S. alone. It soon bagged a worldwide total gross of $116,980,662; thereby making it the seventh most successful zombie media franchise of all time.
6. Resident Evil: Apocalypse
Gross earnings: $129,342,769
You bet it. With the apparent success of the first film, it comes as a no surprise that the sequel of Resident Evil ended up as another top hit in the cinema. Released about two years since the launch of the first film, Resident Evil: Apocalypse continues to follow the adventures of Alice as she teams up with a group of survivors to finally put an end to the people responsible for the ongoing worldwide pandemonium, the Umbrella Corporation.
Collecting a total of $23,036,273 for its opening weekend alone, the sequel had successfully exceeded the first film in the franchise and even managed to hit a total worldwide gross eanrings of $129,342,769.
5. Resident Evil: Extinction
Gross earnings: $148,412,065
Remaining faithful to the popularity of the film series, Resident Evil: Extinction is another unforgettable picture in the Resident Evil block. In this chapter, Alice is back again to kill more zombies and finally bring down the Umbrella Corporation once and for all. Meanwhile, her friends and other remaining survivors, including Carlos Olivera, L.J., K-Mart, Claire Redfield, and Nurse Betty struggle to survive in a zombie-infested Las Vegas.
In its first week, the film already collected $23,678,580 and even went on to bag a staggering $148,412,065 in its overall worldwide grossing.
4. Resident Evil: Retribution
Gross earnings: $240,004,424
Serving as the fifth installment of the Resident Evil film series, Resident Evil: Retribution proved itself to be a worthy part of the franchise. In the story, left with no other safe place to go to, Alice continues to hunt those who are behind the worldwide zombie outbreak. Accompanied by newfound allies and existing friends, she must now keep up a strong fight to finally save the world from the brink of oblivion.
Overall, the film was able to hold the title of the fourth highest-grossing zombie movie of all time, with a worldwide gross earnings of $240,004,424.
3. Resident Evil: Afterlife
Gross earnings: $300,228,084
With a $26,650,264 opening weekend record and a $300,228,084 worldwide total gross earning, the fourth installment of the Resident Evil franchise has managed to secure its place as the third most successful zombie film of all time.
In this chapter, Alice and her company were hinted about an uninfected place called Arcadia, and they must now battle to the death against the evil Umbrella Corporation and a pool of man-eating zombies just to secure their place in the promised sanctuary.
2. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Gross earnings: $312,242,626
Finally, ending the success of the Resident Evil film franchise, the last installment titled Resident Evil: The Final Chapter made sure that the popular film series went out with a memorable and commendable ending.
In its first weekend, the final chapter of the franchise raked in $13.6 million, which quickly soared to become $312,242,626 in its worldwide gross earnings. With these impressive numbers, the film has managed to establish itself as one of the biggest zombie films of all time, even securing the number two spot in this list.
1. World War Z
Gross earnings: $540,007,876
And now, for the top zombie media franchise of all time, no other film has managed to surpass the 2013 action-packed zombie film World War Z yet. Featuring Brad Pitt as he tries to find a cure amid a zombie-infected world, World War Z is the perfect film you could bet on if you’re seeking for that rush of adrenaline, unforgettable terror, and successive shrieks associated with the thought of the flesh-eating undead.
Complete with a smart storyline and a commendable portrayal of hungry-driven zombies, the movie has managed to secure a staggering $66,411,834 in its first week in the U.S. alone, which soon increased to become $540,007,876 worldwide.
From the dark, gloomy setting that captures the world in decay to the overwhelming fear that comes with the feeling of impending doom, there is a range of elements that make the notion of a walking dead both enthralling and terrifying to many.
Which among these 10 successful zombie media franchises appealed to you the most? Start your marathon today and be ready to feel the intense emotions that come with these terrifying and entertaining stories.
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