A multimedia franchise (or a transmedia franchise) is a media franchise for which installments exist in multiple forms of media, such as books, comics, films, television series, and video games. Multimedia franchises usually develop due to the popularization of an original creative work, and then its expansion to other media through licensing agreements, with respect to intellectual property in the franchise's characters and settings, although the trend later developed wherein franchises would be launched in multiple forms of media simultaneously.
In order to qualify for this list, a franchise must have works in at least three forms of media, and must have two or more separate works in at least two of those forms of media (a television series or comic book series is considered a single work for purposes of this list; multiple spin-off series or reboots of a previously ended series are considered multiple works). For example, a television series that spawned one film and one novelization would not qualify; a television series that had a spin-off series, or was remade as a new series, and which spawned two films and one novelization does qualify. This list does not include public domain works from which adaptations have been made in multiple media, but which do not involve licensing or other means by which an author or owner controls the franchise. A franchise may be included if it obtained multimedia franchise status prior to works within the collection entering the public domain.
Note: In the following table, the initial media through which the franchise characters or settings became known is shown in boldface. Only works of fiction are only considered part of the series; a book or a documentary film about the franchise is not itself an installment in the franchise.
Franchises originating in literary works
These franchises began as novels, short stories, and other forms of purely literary works.
Franchises originating in comics and printed cartoons
Franchises originating in television series
Franchises originating in animated television series
Franchises originating in live-action television series
Franchises originating in films
Franchises originating in animated films
Franchises originating in live-action films
Franchises originating in video games
Including film and/or television works
Not including film and/or television works
|Literature||Comics||Video games||Other media|
Diablo II (2000)
Diablo III (2012)
|Gears of War||Gears of War: Aspho Fields (2008)
|Gears of War (comics)||Gears of War (2006)
Gears of War 2 (2008)
Gears of War 3 (2011)
Gears of War: Judgment (2013)
|God of War||yes||yes||God of War (2005)
several sequels and side games
|yes||several||Metal Gear (1987)
numerous sequels and spin-offs
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (2010)
Franchises originating in board games, card games, table-top games, and role-playing games
|Literature||Comics||Animated films||Live action films||Animated TV series||Live action TV series||Video games||Other media|
(Jordan Weisman, L. Ross Babcock III)
|List of BattleTech novels||yes||no||no||BattleTech: The Animated Series (1994)||no||yes||Classic BattleTech wargame|
several other table-top games
(Steve Jackson Games)
|3 novels||yes||no||no||no||no||Autoduel||Car Wars table-top game|
other table-top games
|Dungeons & Dragons
|Dungeons & Dragons (novels)||Dungeons & Dragons (comics)||Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (2008)||Dungeons & Dragons (2000)
|Dungeons & Dragons (1983–1985)||no||List of Dungeons & Dragons video games||Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game|
|Magic: The Gathering
|several||several||no||no||no||no||several||Magic: The Gathering trading card game|
|3 novels||yes||no||Mutant Chronicles (2008)||no||no||Doom Troopers (1995)||Mutant Chronicles role-playing game|
several table-top games
|several||no||no||no||no||no||several||Shadowrun role-playing game|
several other table-top games
|Warhammer (Games Workshop)||List of Warhammer Fantasy novels
List of Warhammer 40,000 novels
|Warhammer Fantasy comics
Warhammer 40,000 comics
|Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie (2010)||no||no||no||Warhammer video games||Warhammer Fantasy Battle miniature wargame|
several other table-top games
|World of Darkness (White Wolf Publishing)||several||yes||no||no||no||Kindred: The Embraced (1996)||yes||Vampire: The Masquerade role-playing game|
several other table-top games
Franchises originating in toys, attractions and other media
- List of fictional shared universes in film and television – many multimedia franchises are based in fictional universes
- List of public domain works with multimedia adaptations
- List of highest-grossing media franchises
- Media mix
- See, e.g., Barry Langford, Post-classical Hollywood: Film Industry, Style and Ideology Since 1945, p. 207, ISBN 074863858X: "For the studios, a home-run is a film from which a multimedia 'franchise' can be generated; the colossally expensive creation of cross-media conglomerates predicated on synergistic rewards provides an obvious imperative to develop such products".
- Harry J. Brown, Videogames and Education (2008), p. 41, ISBN 0765629496:
In one of the most celebrated ventures in media convergence, Larry and Andy Wachowski, creators of The Matrix trilogy, produced the game Enter the Matrix (2003) simultaneously with the last two films of the trilogy, shooting scenes for the game on the movie's sets with the movie s actors, and releasing the game on the same day as The Matrix: Reloaded. Likewise, on September 21, 2004, Lucasfilm jointly released a new DVD box set of the original Star Wars trilogy with Star Wars: Battlefront, a combat game in which players can reenact battles from all six Star Wars films. In 2005, Peter Jackson likewise produced his blockbuster film King Kong (2005) in tandem with a successful King Kong game designed by Michael Ancel and published by Ubisoft. In the last several years, numerous licensed videogame adaptations of major summer and holiday blockbusters were released a few days before or a few days after their respective films, including: all three Star Wars films (1999–2005); all five Harry Potter films (2001–2008); all three Spider-Man films (2002–2007); Hulk (2002); The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002); The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003); The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005); Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006); Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007); and Transformers (2007). These multimedia franchises have made it more difficult to distinguish the production of films and videogames as separate enterprises.
- Nick Hunter, Popular Culture: 2000 and Beyond (2012), page 11, ISBN 1410946266: "The Harry Potter series was another huge multimedia franchise that triumphed at the box office".
- John Sutherland, Lives of the Novelists: A History of Fiction in 294 Lives (2012), p. 195, ISBN 0300182430: "It was the films, beginning with Dr No in 1962, which made Bond into a multimedia franchise which continues to turn over more money per annum than any other literary creation of the twentieth century, with the possible exception of the Harry Potter films".
- Note: Alien vs. Predator is a crossover franchise established from the existing Alien and Predator franchises
- "Media crossovers have us asking, 'who's ripping off who?'", Edmonton Journal (July 14, 2000), p. E3: "Marvel Comics is already reaping an "X-cellent" multimedia bounty on the backs of the special effects-laden feature..."
- Ian Gordon, Mark Jancovich, Matthew P. McAllister, Film and Comic Books (2007), p. 161, ISBN 160473809X: "[W]hen considering Superman as a multimedia franchise, and critical interpretations of him, it would seem that development and variety have been central to his longevity".
- Gilbert A. Blouchard, "Mining comic books for movie gold is old hat", Edmonton Journal (July 14, 2000), p. E3: "Marvel Comics is already reaping an "X-cellent" multimedia bounty on the backs of the special effects-laden feature..."
- Noble, Barnes &. "Online Bookstore: Books, NOOK ebooks, Music, Movies & Toys". Barnes & Noble.
- "Winx Club Magazine (Volume) - Comic Vine". comicvine.com.
- "Winx Club: The Mystery of the Abyss" – via www.imdb.com.
- Andreeva, Nellie (September 25, 2014). "Netflix Orders 'Winx Club' Spinoff Series". Deadline.
- "Winx Club Dolls Mattel - eBay". eBay.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-21. Retrieved 2014-03-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Miles Booy, Love and Monsters: The Doctor Who Experience, 1979 to the Present (2012), p. 155, ISBN 184885479X: "If treating the programme as a multimedia franchise – and at this point it becomes hard to think of it as anything else – is a good thing, then this was the point where the BBC began to connect the dots".
- Mark Clark, Star Trek FAQ: Everything Left to Know about the First Voyages of the Starship Enterprise (2012), p. 1, ISBN 1557839638: "Star Trek, which once struggled to survive from one season to the next, has become immortal—and, beyond that, inescapable. The series, and the multimedia franchise that grew from it, is now woven inextricably into the fabric of America and the world".
- Note: The Ghostbusters franchise beginning with the 1984 film is unrelated to the 1975 TV series, The Ghost Busters, and its spin-off, the 1986 Ghostbusters animated series.
- Lincoln Geraghty, American Science Fiction Film and Television (2009), p. 94, ISBN 1845207963: Multiple readings of the film are plentiful and highlight the polysemic nature of the text and subsequent multimedia franchise".
- "Marvel Games That Let You Bring the MCU Home". CBR. March 22, 2019.
- Roger Parry, The Ascent of Media: From Gilgamesh to Google Via Gutenberg (2011), p. 317, ISBN 1857885708: "Along with associated feature films, comic books, and character merchandise, Mario has become a hugely valuable global multimedia franchise".
- Marc DiPaolo, War, Politics and Superheroes: Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film (2011), p. 39, ISBN 0786485795: "The multimedia franchise is bolstered by the imaginations of the Transformers fans that imbue the flimsy material with their own potent fantasies of family cars and household devices turning into robots".