Will the Lord of the Rings Prequel Outperform the First Trilogy?
Peter Jackson’s latest effort retelling the goings-on of Middle Earth literally exploded on the big screen this second-to-last weekend before Christmas, drawing in record-breaking numbers all around. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey cost a shade over $230 million to make; yet brought in a whopping $223 million globally and surpassed the domestic take of any movie ever made before in December with its $84 million haul.
While it seems clear that the visually stunning, exceptionally crisp (thanks to the enhanced frame rate) film – which is the first of another Middle Earth trilogy – is on its way to a billion dollar tally when all is said and done by 2014, the real question is whether or not these three films will take down the epic The Lord of the Rings at the box office. It’s already beaten The Return of the King’s $73 million opening by over ten million dollars; only time will tell if the subpar reviews (compared to the stellar sequels) will dampen the future shows.
All told, the first Lord of the Rings trilogy raked in an incredible $3 billion to date, or ten times more than they cost to make. But the years 2001-2003 were different times, and those movies each cost about 2.5 times less money to make than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It’s important to remember that the film is expected to garner a substantial take once Christmas rolls around and everybody is available to go see it; but it will be quite the task for it to make ten times more than it cost to produce. The second installment, The Desolation of Smaug, will be out a year from now in 2013 – assuming the world doesn’t end with a Mayan coup de grace.