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Return of the Box Office King

December 16th, 2003

It's after midnight eastern time and the doors have opened to packed houses for the opening of Lord of the Ring: Return of the King. If there's ever been a guaranteed box office hit, this is it.

The final film in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the previous two films earned a combined $654 million domestically, and nearly $1.8 billion worldwide. Reviews for Return of the King are the best of the bunch at 98%, just a fraction of a percent above The Two Towers. Excitement for the film is running high and just about the only thing going against it is its running time. At just over 200 minutes, theatres won't be able to squeeze in as many showings as with most other movies.

Most analysts agree than Return of the King will take out Finding Nemo for the number one film of 2003. The real question is how many records will it break along the way. It has a good shot at becoming the number one Wednesday opening of all time, beating Star Wars: The Phantom Menace's $28.5 million. Fastest to $100 million is safe, (3 days by Spider-man) but fastest to $200 million could be obtainable at 9 days, (also by Spider-man.)

In the end, $400 million domestically will probably be out of reach, but Lord of the Ring: Return of the King should become only the second film to reach $1 billion worldwide. And the trilogy will finish with just over $1 billion domestically and nearly $3 billion worldwide. That would make it the third most successful movie franchise behind Star Wars and James Bond. At least until we get further into the Harry Potter series.

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Filed under: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Finding Nemo