The Hobbit makes a billion dollars at the box office

An Unexpected Journey has made more money than two Lord of the Rings films.

Well done Bilbo. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, has just passed the billion dollar mark (around £700 million) at the worldwide box office. Only 15 films have reached this hallowed milestone.

It was the film’s release in China that pushed it into the ten figure mark, where it made $37.3M (£28 million) in just ten days.

[Related story: 10 things you need to know about 'The Hobbit']
[Related story: Final 'Hobbit' film pushed back]

It’s still lagging behind ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King’, which made more than $1.1 billion, but it is more successful than the two other ‘Lord Of The Rings’ instalments, ‘The Fellowship Of The Ring’ and ‘The Two Towers’.

Unlike ‘Rings’, ‘An Unexpected Journey’ was not a huge hit with critics or at awards ceremonies, though it is just about 'certified fresh' at popular reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. 65 per cent of critics gave it a good review, though the consensus was that - with a running time of almost three hours - it was far too long for one third of a children’s book.

Two more instalments - ‘The Desolation Of Smaug' and 'There And Back Again' are planned for winter 2013 and 2014 releases respectively.

‘The Hobbit’ made the majority of cash overseas - $700 million worldwide compared to $301 million in the US. The film’s top foreign market was Germany ($90 million), closely followed by ourselves in the UK ($84.3 million). The huge haul will have been helped by more expensive 3D ticket sales.

Despite grumblings about the length and the decision to split it into three movies, studio Warner Bros. will feel justified by the film’s successes.

A clearly delighted Dan Fellman - president of domestic distribution at Warner Bros. – said: "We could not be more proud to have reached this amazing benchmark. Together with our partners at MGM and New Line, everyone at Warner Bros. congratulates Peter Jackson and his entire cast and crew on the extraordinary success of this film.”

The film arrives on DVD later this month.

The billion dollar club

1. ‘Avatar’ - $2,782,275,172
2. ‘Titanic’ - $2,185,372,302   
3. ‘The Avengers’ - $1,511,757,910   
4. ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2’ - $1,328,111,219   
5. ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’- $1,123,746,996   
6. ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’ - $1,119,929,521
7. ‘Skyfall’ - $1,108,153,338
8. ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ - $1,081,041,287
9. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest’ - $1,066,179,725   
10 'Toy Story 3' - $1,063,171,911
11. ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ - $1,043,871,802
12. ‘Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace’ - $1,027,044,677   
13. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ - $1,024,299,904
14. ‘The Dark Knight’ - $1,004,558,444
15. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ - $1,001,134,992