Killing their way to the top

Thrillers have captivated the audience with the psychotic, and disturbed minds of characters. They have also made many a franchise a success story. Here we look at the most disturbed ones that smashed box office.


Hannibal Lecter: Played by three different actors over a course of four movies, Hannibal Lecter is one of the first names written down when compiling any list of movie villains. A deranged, sadistic mastermind with a penchant for cannibalism, it was Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of the character that truly made it legendary. No moment demonstrates his sadism more than when forces Ray Liotta to chomp down his own brain, one spoonful at a time.

Hannibal Lector Franchise Earnings: $425.3 million 


The Joker: Heath Ledger’s role as the Joker captured people’s attention across the world and has now become an iconic portrayal of one of the most famous comic book villains of all time. Smeared in makeup and revelling in the chaos he leaves behind, the Joker is the epitome of a great movie villain. He causes destruction not for personal gain or world domination, but simply because he enjoys it. Even Jack Nicholson as the Joker embodied the psychopathic murderer and villain.

Batman Franchise Earnings: $1.898 billion


Voldemort: The Dark Lord is perhaps the most dangerous and feared fictional character in history. He is considered so powerful that only a handful of people speak his name and this fear is explained when we see Ralph Fiennes as the terrifying, slit-nosed wizard in the fourth film. A villain so frightening that he was willing to kill a child in addition to the hundreds he’d already murdered, Voldemort is possessed by a cold, blinding hate for Harry Potter and is willing to kill his own henchman to ensure he reaches his goal.

Harry Potter Franchise Earnings: $2.39 billion 


Darth Vader: Perhaps the most famous villain in pop culture, Darth Vader is the embodiment of darkness and evil. Vader is initially depicted as a cyborg who carries out the empires bidding ruthlessly and though he somewhat redeems himself towards the end, it is difficult to ignore all the destruction left in his wake. The character was so popular that an entire trilogy was devoted to explaining his origins.

Star Wars Franchise Earnings: $1.918 billion


Michael Corleone: Michael Corleone’s transition from an innocent young man to a ruthless mafia boss is complete by the end of Godfather II. Despite initially being a decorated war hero, Michael is forced to enter the mafia world when an attempt to murder his father is made. From there on, Michael mercilessly rises in power and stature and spares no one who has betrayed or harmed him, including his own brother. While towards the end of his life he makes efforts to redeem himself, it’s a case of it being too little, too late.

The Godfather franchise Earnings: $247.9 million


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