The Hobbit Crosses The $1 Billion Mark Worldwide

Just in case anyone needed confirmation that Peter Jackson made the right move – from a financial standpoint – to divide his Hobbit story into three movies instead of two, the numbers from the first movie have rolled in and continue to justify his decision (at least, as far as Warner Bros.’ accounting division is concerned).

The initial chapter in Jackson’s planned trilogy, An Unexpected Journey, crossed the $1 billion mark in overall ticket sales, powered by more than $700 million in overseas ticket sales, where both Jackson (as a director) and Tolkien as a brand help draw audiences into theaters for 3D and IMAX trips into Middle Earth. As BoxOfficeMojo points out, the first Hobbit film is now the second-highest-grossing film in Jackson’s franchise, sitting behind Return of the King, which banked $1.1B back in 2003. Oddly enough, Fellowship and Two Towers failed to cross the $1B mark during their runs. You know that they would have if they could have screened in 3D or IMAX, though … factors that absolutely had to assist Journey as it marched through theaters.

This bodes very well for the subsequent chapters in Jackson’s second trilogy, which start arriving in theaters in December with The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Dec. 13 this year. Imagine if the remaining two chapters of Jackson’s story also are able to cross the $1 billion mark at the global market. Then Warner would have three $1-billion movies instead of the planned two … and you easily can understand why Jackson was encouraged to split the movies in thirds. Audiences seem to want more of the director’s Middle Earth vision. We’ll see of Smaug and the final chapter, There and Back Again, can continue the momentum established by this debut adventure.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.