As Star Wars fans brace for the release of spin-off flick Rogue One on Friday, its studio backers might also have a reason to get excited: Spin-offs can be quite profitable for production companies.
Spin-off films can be a hit or miss proposition; it’s often hard to tell which franchises and storylines will strike a chord with fans of the original—as well as bring in new viewers. Some ideas have struck it big, like Minions, which fills in the backstory behind one of the cute yellow creatures in the Despicable Me franchise and pulled in more than $1 billion in profit. But others, like Evan Almighty, have fallen flat even among fans of their predecessors and even lost money at the box office.
It remains to be seen whether Lucasfilm’s first attempt at a spin-off—which tells the story of how resistance fighters stole the plans to the Death Star, setting up the premise of A New Hope, the first film released in the series—will be successful. Its producers, however, can take heart in the fact that the film is in flush company.
Above are some of the most financially successful spin-off movies, calculated using production budgets subtracted from worldwide lifetime grosses from BoxOfficeMojo.com.