Peter Jackson’s epic ‘Lord Of The Rings’ saga was a great success for all involved, but it ended over 10 years ago – how much longer can the cast coast on that Middle-Earth moolah? Let’s look at which Rings actors have made the most money worldwide since the release of 'The Return Of The King’ in December 2001 - and no counting those box-office receipts for 'The Hobbit’ trilogy…
14. Billy Boyd
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £17.5 million
Sadly, homegrown dramas like 'The Flying Scotsman’ do not rich men make, so Billy Boyd languishes at the bottom of the Lord Of The Bling league table – he even suffered the indignity of starring in Danny Dyer drama 'Pimp’, which made a grand total of £205. Still, he did star in 'Glenn The Flying Robot’, which has to be seen to be believed.
13. John Rhys-Davies
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £95 million
Gimli didn’t exactly take cinemas by storm post-Rings trilogy – In fact, John Rhys-Davies has hardly bothered a cinema since. The only movies he’s appeared in that garnered any kind of takings registering past a few decimal points were 'The Princess Diaries 2: A Royal Engagement’ and Uwe Boll’s 'In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale’.
12. Viggo Mortensen
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £208.7 million
You feel that Viggo really had his fill of massive epics with 'Lord Of The Rings’ and didn’t really need to go cap in hand to any other studios chasing big blockbuster roles. His partnership with David Cronenberg yielded 'Eastern Promises’ and 'A History Of Violence’ and some decent bank, but nothing on the same scale as the dough Aragorn raked in.
11. Dominic Monaghan
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £242.7 million
Just the one theatrically-released movie that registers on the Richer scale, but it was a biggie: 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ bowed out on a worldwide box-office total of £242.7 million, and at least part of that is owed to Monaghan’s performance of mutant Bolt. Still, he played Charlie in 'Lost’ and gave the world the song 'You All Everybody’, a priceless contribution.
10. Liv Tyler
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £267.1 million
Tyler’s post-Arwen outings weren’t exactly money-spinners; 'The Incredible Hulk’ paid most of Liv’s bills but it was still Marvel’s weakest-performing movie to date. Mopping up the last few bucks were horror thriller 'The Strangers’ and Kevin Smith’s 'Jersey Girl’, plus small roles in the likes of 'Super’ and 'Lonesome Jim’.
9. Elijah Wood
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £558.1 million
He’s been working solidly since he was a wee Hobbit himself, making his way from cutesy family movie roles to sincere indies, but Elijah Wood just hasn’t rediscovered that Frodo magic. Proving he has the most schizophrenic career of anyone on this list, his biggest hitters were as a cannibal psycho in 'Sin City’ and a tap-dancing penguin in 'Happy Feet’.
8. Sean Astin
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £570.8 million
Samwise’s numbers have received a massive boost thanks to his friendship with Adam Sandler – Astin hitched a ride on that gravy train a while back and the box-office totals from '50 First Dates’ and 'Click’ are considerable, being as they were from an era where Sandler movies made money. We were also generous and afforded him all the takings from 'Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeal’, even though he only played a small narrator role, just because he seems like a nice guy.
7. Sean Bean
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £1.44 billion
God bless Beano, the dependable character actor who can’t ever seem to live through the movies he chooses. Sean should be the toast of Sheffield with box-office receipts like his: he’s zeroing in on a post-Rings career total of £1.5 billion and all without the strength of a major blockbuster franchise to bolster his numbers. Good on you, Mr Bean!
6. Ian McKellen
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £1.64 billion
Magneto has made Sir Ian considerably minted ever since the X-Men burst onto the scene in 2000, but only 2006’s 'X-Men: The Last Stand’ and 2014’s 'X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ count towards his total. McKellen has made more mega-hits than you might think: 'The Da Vinci Code 'scared up almost £500 million all by itself and 'The Golden Compass’ was no slouch either.
5. Orlando Bloom
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £1.89 billion
Bloomers struck it lucky in the 00s, landing not one but two blockbuster trilogies - and with 'Curse Of The Black Pearl’ released before his Tolkien adventure began, it’s parts 2 and 3 of the 'Pirates Of The Caribbean’ trilogy that really line Orlando’s coffers. Oh, and don’t underestimate those movies that were forgettable but profitable – Troy, anyone?
4. Cate Blanchett
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £2.36 billion
Blanchett has never been one to seek out big money roles – it’s all about Oscars, dahling – but she puts in a hugely respectable showing here, thanks mainly to high profile roles in the likes of 'Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’, 'How To Train Your Dragon 2’ and this year’s Disney sleeper hit 'Cinderella’. It’s testament to her ability that single-serve movies like 'The Aviator’, 'Robin Hood’ and 'The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’ are all so profitable.
3. Christopher Lee
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £2.55 billion
Christopher Lee’s contribution to cinema goes way beyond what most mere mortals can comprehend, but even if you have to boil it down to his financial success, it still makes for sobering reading. Tim Burton’s movies make up much of Lee’s total (including over a billion dollars for Alice In Wonderland), but had we included the 200 or so credits he racked up before playing Saruman, Lee would have left his fellow Ringers eating his golddust – it’s a box-office total befitting a legend.
2. Hugo Weaving
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £2.68 million
By his own admission he’s never seen them, but it’s the 'Transformers’ movies that give Weaving, the voice of Megatron, such a big bank balance. Even without his 'Matrix’ money, which all came pre-2003, his final standing is bolstered by the box-office of two 'Happy Feet’ movies, 'Captain America: The First Avenger’ and that film about owls.
1. Andy Serkis
Post-LOTR box-office earnings: £2.69 billion
Pipping Hugo Weaving to the post by one hundred million measly dollars, Andy Serkis ranks as the most successful 'Lord Of The Rings’ actor, even without his 'Hobbit’ millions. 'King Kong’ and two 'Apes’ movies make for good monkey business, but really it’s his relatively inconsequential role in 2015’s 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ – playing a human! – that pushes him ahead of the pack. Expect Serkis’ box-office total to double after he’s through chewing the scenery in more Marvel movies and, oh yeah, a little side project called the new 'Star Wars’ trilogy. All hail King Andy!