The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey¬†has become the 15th film to cross $1 billion (not adjusted for inflation) in worldwide ticket sales.
The first chapter of Peter Jackson‘s new trilogy based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien crossed this threshold thanks to a 10-day, $37.3 million opening in China. It is the second of Jackson’s films to do so, after¬†The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King¬†grossed over $1 billion after its release in 2003. This makes Jackson the third director to have helmed two billion-dollar movies, after James Cameron and Christopher Nolan.
Of the 15 billion-dollar films, only three – the top two, Cameron’s¬†Avatar¬†and Titanic, and Tim Burton‘s¬†Alice in Wonderland¬†- were not part of pre-existing franchises.¬†The Hobbit¬†is the fourth film released in 2012 to hit the milestone, after¬†The Avengers,¬†The Dark Knight Rises¬†and¬†Skyfall.
It is interesting to note that¬†The Hobbit‘s domestic take of $301.4 million is well below that of the three¬†Lord of the Rings¬†films, despite having the additional boost of IMAX and 3D ticket sales. It has done far better overseas; by contrast,¬†Return of the King¬†grossed only $10.4 million in China. No doubt controversy over the film’s 48 frames-per-second technology diluted ticket sales, but it has still certainly proven popular enough.
Word of¬†The Hobbit‘s success is good news for New Line and Warner Bros. after the underwhelming and potentially disastrous $28 million opening of¬†Jack the Giant Slayer, a film that reportedly cost north of $200 million, and might prove to be an even bigger train wreck than last year’s box office bomb,¬†John Carter (which also opened in March).
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is currently ranked #8 among 2012 films on Flickchart.