Story by: Jack Foley
HOBBITS continued to run rings around the opposition at the Box
Office this Christmas, despite some big name releases across the
The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King powered its way towards $500 million
after less than two weeks, following its release on December 17,
According to studio estimates, the final film in Peter Jacksons
Lord of the Rings trilogy grossed $492.1 million (£278 million)
from North America and 38 countries elsewhere, in the days leading
up to December 28, 2003.
The epic film, which is tipped for Oscar glory, is outpacing
both its predecessors and should reach $1 billion, according to
Rolf Mittweg, president of worldwide marketing and distribution
at New Line Cinema, the films distributor.
The Return of the Kings global haul of $268.4 million includes
$48 million from Britain, $45 million from Germany and $30 million
"With the release of each film, the emotional resonance
and dramatic impact have only increased," Mittweg added,
when asked to comment on the reasons behind the films continued
However, despite its domination, The Return of the King has some
way to go before it usurps the all-time box office success story,
Titanic, which grossed about $1.8 billion worldwide.
The first film in the trilogy, "The Fellowship of the Ring"
earned $865 million worldwide.
The success of The Return of the King, in America, helped to
drive ticket sales to a record high for the Christmas weekend,
with other big names including family favourite, Cheaper by the
Dozen (starring Steve Martin), and Cold
Mountain also faring well.
The combined gross of the top 12 films ($168.6 million represents
an eight per cent increase over the year-ago period, which previously
held the record for a Christmas weekend.
POSTED EARLIER: It may not come as that much of a surprise, but
The Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King has set a US Box Office record for a film
opening on a Wednesday.
The final film in the trilogy amassed $34.1m (£19.2m) in
tickets in the US, and $23.5 (£13.2m) in the rest of the
world, beating the record held by Star
Wars: The Phantom Menace.
The overall one-day opening record is still held by Spider-Man
(the sequel to which opens
next May), at a total of $39.4m (£22.2m), followed by The
Matrix Reloaded, with $37.5m (£21.1m).
But distributor, New Line, anticipates that the movie will break
the $1bn (£570m) global box office barrier, and surpass
the current box office record holder, Titanic, which took $1.83bn
(£1bn) in 1997.
Executives are also hoping that the latest movie's fast start
will propel it beyond the worldwide totals made by The
Fellowship of the Ring ($861m/£493m) and The
Two Towers ($921m/£527m).
It already looks certain to surpass the $102m (£57.5m)
that The Two Towers earned during its first five days.