Do we have to define franchise?
In retail a franchise is essentially more than one or two locations operating under the same name whether it's a food or restaurant chain or some other retail/service business. Here the franchise only grows or stays steady as long as customers support it.
In entertainment a franchise could be defined as more than one or two films or shows (or books) along with the tie-in merchandise. And spun off from that is the fan base that supports it. This franchise also continues only as long as the fans support it. So a question might be: are the fans an integral part of the franchise?