Sex and the City
In short: Columnist Carrie Bradshaw chases Mr. Big across New York in $500 4-inch heels.
Lineage: A collection of columns by Candace Bushnell begat a six-season HBO series, which begat a 2008 film. A third movie is rumored.
Lifeblood: The series nabbed seven Emmy Awards and eight Golden Globes. The film made $415 million, and its opening weekend was the biggest ever for a movie with all female stars.
Trends spawned: Cupcakes, Manolo Blahniks, cosmos, bus tours of blond twentysomethings.
Kill fantasy: Death by $500 4-inch heel.
In short: High-school seniors make a pact to lose their virginity.
Lineage: The 1999 blockbuster begat two hit sequels, which begat four mediocre, straight-to-DVD movies. American Pie 4, reuniting the original cast (now age 30), is said to be in the works.
Lifeblood: $753 million from theatrical releases.
Trends spawned: Popularized the term "MILF" and proved R-rated teen flicks could be mega-moneymakers.
Kill fantasy: Let's talk syphilis.
In short: A masked serial killer terrorizes teens.
Lineage: The 1996 flick begat two successful sequels and now, more than 10 years after Scream 3, the original cast reunites for Scream 4, with plans to kick off a new bloody trilogy.
Lifeblood: The first three films made $506 million worldwide.
Trends spawned: Scream's satirical twist on slasher films revitalized the genre and inspired the Scary Movie spoof series.
Kill fantasy: Too easy — the killer finally succeeds.
In short: Girl meets vampire. Girl falls in love. Girl befriends werewolf. Angst ensues.
Lineage: Stephenie Meyer's four-part book series begat two blockbuster movies (three more are in the works) and a graphic novel.
Lifeblood: 85 million books and more than $1 billion in movie tickets sold.
Trends spawned: Team Edward T-shirts, Kristen Stewart's film career, Taylor Lautner's abs.
Kill fantasy: Bella is left to sulk solo for eternity, after Jacob and Edward fight to the death.
A version of this article appeared in the May 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.